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How technology can improve productivity in the built environment

Since the mid 2000s the UK has had one of the lowest productivity growth rates in the world. Annual productivity growth was stuck at 0.2% between 2010-2015 compared to an average of 2.4% during the preceding 30 years, according to research by McKinsey.

The report identifies lack of large scale adoption of digital technologies as one of the reasons behind the UK’s failure to drive productivity, along with limited investment in Research and Development.

When it comes to technology spending, construction sits right at the bottom of the Industry Digitalisation Index spending 1.51% on technology as a percentage of revenue. This compares to 7.16% in the banking sector, which spends the most.

Proptech has been shown to improve efficiency by cutting the amount of time spent on site, gathering information, and in the office collating data and writing up reports.  This is the most obvious way in which digitalisation can drive productivity in the construction sector but there are other benefits too.

By shifting from manual data handling to digital data collection, there is less risk of error which means fewer reports need to be reworked or rectified. Furthermore, by collating data digitally, it is much easier to analyse and integrate it with other software systems.

There are other less obvious advantages too. Those entering the profession or looking for exciting new career moves will be attracted by a business that has invested in technology and is on board with the latest processes. This means that companies using proptech will find it easier to attract the best talent to help them grow their business. It can help attract clients too, many of whom will ask for data to be transferred to their systems and applications for internal analysis and use.

Last but not least, companies that invest in technology are creating opportunities to stay ahead of the curve and differentiate themselves from the competition in an increasingly crowded market. This in itself can help attract new business and drive productivity.

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