03 August 2023
As we move deeper into 2023, the construction industry stands at a precipice. Economic instability, disrupted supply chains, rising costs and the urgency of approaching sustainability legislation such as the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal, are converging to create an unprecedented atmosphere of uncertainty.
To better understand our sector’s current challenges, XYZ Reality partnered with global market research leader, OnePoll, to conduct a comprehensive survey of opinions from some of the top US and UK construction companies.
This study aimed to identify not only the obstacles our industry faces but also how innovators in our sector are overcoming these obstacles.
The result of our effort is the ground-breaking report, Constructing Tomorrow.
In this article, I’ll share some of the report’s most intriguing and important findings, and offer my own opinion as to what these findings mean.
To begin, our survey revealed striking similarities between the US and UK sectors, as they grapple with common challenges.
For example, a significant 94% of survey respondents report project backlogs.
Though this may indicate healthy short-term demand, the long-term implications remain unclear. For example, prevalent backlogs may also indicate that firms aren’t as productive as they could or should be, and perhaps that they are failing to make the most of the opportunities.
Additionally, both the US and the UK are grappling with the chronic issue of delayed project deliveries. Our data shows that a staggering 99% of respondents on either side of the pond deliver their projects out of schedule.
While project delays provide plenty of cause for concern in their own right, the knock-on effects of delays make our research even more worrying. For example, what are the financial implications of delayed mission critical projects for clients? What impact do delays have on construction company reputations? What are the societal costs of delayed residential or infrastructure projects?
Infamous cases such as Berlin’s Brandenburg airport and the Flamanville nuclear power plant in France just go to show how serious and expensive delays can be.
The pervasive issue of rework represents another shared concern for both markets. In the US, almost three quarters of construction firms frequently encounter errors and rework on their projects, while the UK fares slightly better at just over half.
The survey doesn’t dive into the cost value of these errors, but the Get It Right Initiative’s extensive research in this area suggests that the elimination of error could deliver savings of between £10-25 billion each year in the UK alone.
The UK’s relative success in dealing with error may correlate with the country's extensive deployment of tech such as augmented reality (AR) and government-mandated Building Information Modeling (BIM).
In fact, nearly 3 out of 4 UK firms now use AR in some capacity, whether that be for simple tasks like measurements, or more advanced applications such as real-time identification and avoidance of error with Engineering Grade AR™.
Amazingly, our UK data also reveals that AR utilization in its many guises has overtaken long-established verification technology such as laser scanning. This, I believe, underscores AR's success as a means of ensuring precision in construction.
One of the standout findings from our survey is the unanimous industry belief in technology—particularly, Engineering Grade AR—as the key to unlock productivity improvements.
A remarkable 72% of respondents believe that Engineering Grade AR will be the most effective tech for onsite productivity enhancement.
To clarify, Engineering Grade AR is augmented purpose-built for construction that delivers accuracy down to a tenth of an inch (3 - 5 mm). It enables real-time validation and verification, allowing for identification of installation discrepancies and clashes as they happen, effectively eliminating errors and rework.
This 72% statistic sharply contradicts an unfair stereotype so often levelled at the construction sector; regardless of their track-record, construction firms are clearly not averse to change or embracing innovation.
While top industry players with large budgets and deep pockets may find it easier to invest in technology, it is clear to me that the foresight and adaptability of firms of all sizes will be crucial to future prosperity.
Engineering Grade AR available now — XYZ’s the Atom™
The sector’s persistent error and rework problem is precisely why we at XYZ Reality developed the Atom AR headset.
As the world’s first Engineering Grade AR device, the Atom enables construction teams to view and position 3D BIM holograms onsite, facilitating unparalleled build accuracy and control. This not only boosts productivity, but also ensures timely and cost-effective project delivery every time.
In essence, the Atom provides a holistic solution to all the major challenges outlined in our report.
Navigating our sector challenges requires construction firms to thoroughly scrutinize their processes to ensure that they’re operating as efficiently as possible. As already made clear by the impact of COVID-19, supply chain disruption and (more recently) rapid inflation, it is those who are well-prepared and agile that will be able to handle the turbulence ahead. Here at XYZ Reality, we're committed to supporting construction not just to survive these trying times, but thrive.
With proactive thinking, and tools like the Atom and its Engineering Grade AR capabilities at our disposal, we can increase productivity, enhance collaboration and determine the future of our great industry.
The tests we face also provide opportunities to innovate and emerge stronger, more productive and resilient.
Download our highly anticipated industry research report, “Constructing Tomorrow,” and unearth the biggest challenges facing US and UK construction firms today. Build on the foundations of this exclusive report and discover actionable insights to give your company a competitive edge.