Procore Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of construction management software, has released new industry research showing a growing appreciation for the role of data in reducing potential defects and improving project quality outcomes. More than half (53%) of Australian construction leaders surveyed agree it is difficult to effectively monitor quality assurance without an integrated data management platform, an increase of eight percent from 2020.
This research release is the second from a survey of 153 construction leaders around Australia conducted by ACA Research, which investigated the state of data-driven quality and compliance in the industry. The findings show that, while all companies surveyed are working with data to an extent, there is often a lack of communication and collaboration between different stakeholders in the process, meaning the potential benefits may not be fully realised.
“Technology and data will play a central role as the Australian construction industry continues to transform and focus on uplifting building quality,” comments Tom Karemacher, Vice President, APAC at Procore. “With an increasingly complex network of stakeholders to report to, and an urgent need for data accuracy and ease of reporting, it’s crucial that companies understand and address the barriers to better data capture and analysis.”
Software use is growing, while paper persists
As the construction industry continues its accelerated adoption of digital solutions, three quarters of all respondents surveyed (76%) are using some form of software to capture data across their business. However, some respondents continue to rely on paper-based records.
- Of all onsite processes, respondents were most likely to use paper to manage Health and Safety (24%)
- One in five respondents manage Quality and Compliance on paper (21%) despite 56% agreeing that paper-based Quality Assurance (QA) processes are impractical and increase the risk of re-work.
- Most respondents (58%) use standard office software for quality control inspections and certifications, and a further 23% of respondents use specialist software for these processes.
The increased use of specialist software for quality control and compliance is encouraging, however there is a widening gap between smaller and larger companies. Nearly half of the larger businesses (100+ employees) surveyed use specialist software for these processes (49%), while just 11% of small businesses (<10 employees) say the same. In all, 12% of respondents admitted they don’t have a digital system for compliance records.
Business barriers to data capture
Parts of the industry are still lagging in digital transformation, and inconsistent digital data capture across business processes and sizes could be the result of various factors.
The most common challenge is that different teams often manage their affairs separately within an organisation, meaning there is no central, up-to-date repository for documentation across the business.
Survey respondents identified the collection of data by subdivisions as the biggest barrier to accessing data, with 38% saying compliance data is collected or handled by different parts of the business.
Benefits of data analysis for QA processes
There are clear benefits of using data analysis for QA processes. Larger businesses stand out for their recognition of the drawbacks from paper-based QA processes (66%), and the value of data analytics when it comes to achieving the desired QA outcomes (77%).
- 53% of respondents agree it is difficult to effectively monitor QA without an integrated data management platform (up from 45% in 2020)
- 61% of respondents agree data analysis delivers insights that are crucial to QA outcomes
- 60% say defects are less likely to occur in sites where data analysis guides processes
- Improved compliance was identified as the second most common area benefiting a great deal from data capture and analysis (36%), rising to be the greatest area of benefit for 66% of Large companies.
The case for data-driven construction
Data is a tool that can allow processes to run faster and more efficiently, with a greater level of scrutiny. Construction leaders almost universally recognise the potential for more consistent and standardised data to benefit their business, but larger companies are most aware of the breadth of these potential benefits. Overall, data appreciation has grown since 2020, with 38% of respondents saying data capture and analysis improves efficiency and productivity a great deal, up from 34% last year.
All respondents recognise operational cost savings as a clear advantage in using data to drive decision-making, and many feel there is the potential to record further savings through more effective data usage. More than a quarter of companies (27%) believe they could reduce their operational costs by a fifth or more if they fully utilised all available data to drive decision making and better outcomes. Awareness has grown since 2020, when just 15% understood the potential to realise cost savings of a fifth or more.
“As Procore continues to track technology adoption in the construction industry, it is encouraging to see a growing appreciation for the value of data-driven business insights to improve project and business outcomes. The next step is to ensure all Australian construction companies have access to project information, data insights and benchmarks at their fingertips, reducing complexity and allowing quality and compliance needs to be easily met,” Karemacher concludes.
To learn about the most common mistakes that lead to rework and key strategies to improve construction quality, download Your Guide to Zero Defects here: https://www.procore.com/en-au/ebooks/meet-the-guide-thats-redefining-quality