The construction industry’s perceived inability to be an innovation adopter is receiving considerable attention of late. This is not just a local problem, in 2016 the World Economic Forum labelled the global construction industry’s track record on innovation adoption as being “unimpressive”. Closer to home, a recent Herald headline read: “Building; the industry that got left behind”. BRANZ has led local engagement on addressing this issue through its ‘Industry Transformation Agenda’ (www.futureconstruction.nz).
Playing out alongside the growing international realisation that the industry can do better, is the emergence of interest in our sector from Venture Capital firms, who “between 2010 and 2015 increased investment in the construction technology five-fold, and the funding of companies focused on digital technologies for construction increased eight-fold” (Mark Sawyer of Trimble USA, speaking at the NZIOB’s Constructing our World conference in March 2017).
With global venture capital firms now investing in digital technologies for construction applications, it follows that the industry will become a preferred destination for the tech-savvy people needed to envisage and implement the forecasted sector disruption. Increased numbers of technology-focused people coming into construction will lead to higher levels of productivity, transforming the sector and the built environment. This is a picture of possibility that ties together two key focuses of the NZIOB; encouraging construction innovation, and promoting construction as an exciting career destination.