What is the biggest challenge for the transformation of the construction industry?

by Melanie Robinson | May 21, 2021 | 2 min read

What is the biggest challenge for the transformation of the construction industry?
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It has now been five years since Level 2 BIM (subsequently ISO19650) was mandated on all UK government construction projects – four since it was mandated in Scotland – and, following the publication of the annual BIM survey results by NBS, now seems like as good a time as any to think about how far we have come and what is still proving to be a challenge.

So, with my researcher hat on, I took to Twitter to run a poll which asked the question: which one area is the biggest challenge for the transformation of the construction industry at the moment? Out of the options of digital, culture, and innovation, the prevailing result (88%) was culture, with 7% of participants thinking it was digital and only 5% believing it was innovation.

As someone whose Twitter following is largely skewed towards the #UKBIMcrew, this was not a surprise to me. That is not to say digital and innovation are not as important nor as impactful as culture, but rather that if we get the culture right, digital and innovation will likely follow.

The results challenged me to think about how we can address this issue of culture within the context of digital transformation. Can we measure digital culture like we can measure digital maturity? And if so, can we set out effective roadmaps to improve this digital culture?

Whilst I don’t yet have clear cut answers to these questions, I think it’s important to start that conversation and challenge the digital pioneers within the BIM community to think about it using the vast amount of knowledge and experience that has been gathered over the past five years.

From my own PhD research, I can also provide a starting point: the key to a shift in the macro-level industry culture is making sure the people at the micro-level, regardless of role or discipline, are part of that transformation journey. This is because culture is the cultivation and nurturing of collective attitudes and abilities, which, when aligned, lend themselves to supporting an organically adaptive environment, one capable of embracing digital and innovation in our ever-evolving industry.

So, whilst the industry still has a lot to learn after five years of mandated BIM, BIM Academy’s focus on bringing the people element in line with the process and technology elements has never been more important.

For more information, please contact Melanie Robinson.