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Australian construction adopts technology in response to COVID-19

A new survey has found 26 per cent of owners, 24 per cent of subcontractors and 20 per cent of head contractors have adopted technology in response to COVID-19.

Autodesk’s report, Connected procurement: The foundation of construction success, is based on survey responses from 503 Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) construction project owners, head contractors and subcontractors involved in the tendering process for construction projects.

It also found that 80 per cent of contractors see errors in some or all of their construction projects as a result of outdated manual processes.

The technologies used to invite, submit and review tenders currently include email, Google Drive, Microsoft Excel, Dropbox, Microsoft Project, spreadsheets, custom solutions or paper-based tender submissions.

Autodesk Construction Solutions Head of Marketing, Asia Pacific Operations, Adele Bernard said the company commissioned the survey to explore the tendering process across the construction industry, including how new and existing business relationships factor into the process, the impact of COVID-19, the extent to which technology is being used and its potential future impact.

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“We found that technology is being adopted broadly by the construction industry in 2020. The industry is moving to a digital world to reduce errors and risk, save time, connect with the right suppliers and work effectively remotely,” Bernard said.

“The preconstruction process, and specifically procurement, remains highly individual. Many companies make limited or disjointed use of technology, leading to inefficiencies and errors that can compromise the success of the project – and the business.

“Challenges experienced during the process of procurement and tendering can ultimately impact project outcomes. Whether a business makes or loses money is down to the things they do before – rather than during – construction.”

Bernard said inefficient procurement processes increase the risk of mistakes that could have serious repercussions for the business or the project itself.

“Technology can help to overcome issues during this process and prepare for the future of construction,” she said.

In October 2020, Autodesk announced the international expansion of BuildingConnected, a construction management solution that centralises and streamlines the tendering process, and encompasses the Autodesk Construction Cloud builders network, a crowdsourced network of construction professionals. BuildingConnected is now available for customers in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Ireland.

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