A report into the state of technology in the Australian construction industry has pointed to key challenges in regulatory compliance for many in the sector.
The report from Procore, a cloud application provider to construction companies, was based on a survey of 170 businesses around Australia to build a picture of the industry and its outlook on the regulatory environment, compliance, and technology.
Among the key findings on the use of advanced technologies, the use of pre-fabricated parts was seen as a big driver of change for the industry in the coming three years. Rising costs in materials and equipment were also seen as a significant challenge.
From a compliance perspective, keeping up with changes in the regulatory environment was seen as a top three challenge for both small and large construction businesses, with the hiring and retention of skilled staff topping the list for businesses of all sizes.
Compliance issues were also identified around the difficulties in tracking and managing paper-based records, which are still in use across more than one-third of construction activities – particularly those activities that occur on-site, including a myriad of health and safety issues, and logistical issues.
Site inspection and compliance record and other site records were the key documents still most in use in paper form, increasing challenges around careful compliance management.
“‘This’ is potentially a result of government, regulatory bodies, and third-party vendors throughout the industry remaining paper-based interactions. Although this is slowly changing, compliance on a digital platform remains a regular issue,” the report suggests.
Of particular concern was the industry’s lack of understanding around the government’s Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2021-2022.
The Procore report found that half of all construction businesses were unaware of the health and safety targets set forward in the strategy.
The strategy was first launched in 2012 and was updated in 2018, with the construction industry deemed a national priority due to high rates of injury and fatality.
“Construction is a relatively high-risk industry and according to a study found that over the last five years, on average, the fatality rate was the sixth highest and the serious claim frequency rate was the fifth highest,” the report said.
“Due to its size, the construction industry ranks third for both the number of fatalities and serious claims over the last five years.”
In an overall positive sense of what lies ahead, 64 per cent of those surveyed felt confident about the business conditions for the industry over the coming twelve months.
This is the first report in what Procore says will become an annual ‘benchmark’ series to take the ongoing pulse of the industry on an annual basis.