Australia’s Adoption of Construction Technology a Gradual Process

Australia’s Adoption of Construction Technology a Gradual Process

The Australian construction industry’s pivot towards utilising digital technologies has been a long time coming, but companies are slowly making the transition. 

Named the second-least digitised sector in the world in 2016, the sector has managed to turn it around, with just under 40 percent of companies looking to establish a digital transformation roadmap.

“While we are seeing some improvement within the industry, there is still a long way to go. From supply shortages to staff absenteeism, the pandemic has shown that the industry can no longer lag behind when it comes to the adoption of digital innovation,” says Hansen Yuncken’s National BIM Manager Paul Nunn.

“Digital transformation is about creating a new model for innovation across our business. In construction, given the challenges of connecting vast volumes of data and people, our focus of this change is on connection – connecting people, processes, data, workflows, and project phases.”

Integrated technologies save time, money and improve project efficiency and safety, with drone deployment labelled a game changer by Hansen Yuncken, removing the need for site visits. AI has also been a major help.

“AI-based technology can help project managers effectively map sites, sharing real time information with stakeholders and clients from projects in regional areas or hard to travel locations. 3D helmet cameras are a relatively new technology, which is changing the nature of data available on projects daily and for historical reference,” says Nunn.

“While on-site, selected Hansen Yuncken staff walk through the development with specialised cameras mapping their path while digitally converting images to create an online 3D map that stakeholders and managers can view directly from their respective offices.

Nunn says BIM technology allows for the ability to plan projects in a digital environment before work begins.

“This allows the physical structure and team workflow to be mapped out ahead of time so potential issues can be averted. It’s also a great tool to help communicate with clients on how to progress the project without impacting their day to day work,” he says.

“The University of Queensland Andrew N Liveris Building was an example of this. After linking BIM to the design, our team noticed some critical design anomalies which, without the technology, wouldn’t have been picked up until we’d reached the construction stage.

hansen yuncken leveris building

“This enabled us to instead, utilise our time to focus on other areas requiring creativity and innovative thinking. Most notably, the project’s radial concrete cutting with less than a two metre radius, which involved extensive research and development to create cutting tools that facilitated exact curved interfaces between concrete and vinyl floor finishes.”

Nunn believes that a lack of understanding speaks for the hesitancy of Australian construction companies to adopt BIM.

“While more clients are seeing the benefits of BIM technology, there is still a lack of appetite among the industry here in Australia. First and foremost, this comes down to a lack of knowledge and awareness among clients and building contractors.”

While Australia may struggle to keep up with global technological updates, Mr Nunn says there is a raft of innovative developments set to reinvent Australia’s construction industry in the near future.

“Digital twins is one of the most up and coming pieces of construction technology that will heavily impact the requirements for design consultants and subcontractors in the preparation of models, collection of data and the way construction contractors share information with clients and stakeholders,” said Mr Nunn.

“Technology is continually improving to pave the way for the future, making it paramount that the construction industry in Australia embraces it. Only then will we really be able to develop the buildings of tomorrow.”

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