January 7, 2021
Despite its sheer size and scale, construction is one of Australia’s least digitised industries. Considering that the pandemic has forced so many industries
to migrate online and accelerate their digitisation, 2021 really needs to be the year our construction industry follows suit.
Following the impacts of the pandemic, infrastructure investment will also be critical for Australia’s path to economic recovery — it will play a pivotal
role in stimulating both jobs and the economy in 2021. The construction industry may have proven itself to be resilient thus far, but to achieve its full
potential in leading Australia out from under the economic downturn of COVID-19, the industry needs to keep pushing for innovation.
For those not involved in the construction industry you may be forgiven for assuming that an industry which generates $360 billion in yearly revenue
and produces almost 10 per cent of our GDP, is not already underpinned by technology. While this may be true in the office, out in the field, where
more than 80 per cent of the construction cost is spent, it’s not.
Failing to keep up with the times
When we hear of major project delays in construction, one of the commonly recurring themes is “logistic complications”. Logistics in the context of
construction is the process in which workers, plant and materials are all co-ordinated and scheduled to come together and build the components of a
building or structure. Logistics is critical to the successful delivery of any construction project yet it is still predominantly managed via manual
scheduling systems like whiteboards, spreadsheets and phone calls. These outdated systems are time consuming, error prone, stressful and a huge
This failure to enact change and digitise is even more shocking when we consider the construction industry’s stagnant productivity indices. Over
recent years, they’ve even declined — productivity is now lower than it was ten years ago. This low productivity is largely linked to a lack of
As expected, poor management of construction logistics and on-site scheduling can often result in financial loss. For example, a large project in any
major Australian city can expect to handle thousands of deliveries a month, with trucks and cranes all having to compete for space in crowded urban
environments. In these high pressure environments, management errors can be common and expensive. For instance, just an hour of crane overtime
which may result from a schedule clash or delay, can cost more than $1,500 per hour in direct labour costs alone. Multiply this for an entire project
and the costs soon mount.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Things are changing, with a growing uptake of technological innovations across the industry
The Sydney Metro project is a prime example of this. Currently Australia’s largest public transport, the project has mandated that all project
contractors use a digital logistics management software platform, the first move of its kind. Veyor is one of only two approved platforms being used to
revolutionise logistics management on this historic project. For a $20 billion project that is expected to have more than 1000 trucks taking to Sydney’s
roads every day, this will be incredibly impactful. Here, digital logistics management will enable contractors to all plug into a single platform, to
streamline decision making, have visibility over project scheduling and work more efficiently to project timelines.
Other major projects taking a digital approach to logistics management and which we’re also happy to be a part of include the Sydney Football
Stadium with John Holland, West Side Place with Multiplex, Melbourne’s largest Inner City development, and the Greenland Centre with Probuild,
Sydney’s tallest residential building at 67-storeys.
The impacts of digitising construction however are more than just about money and productivity. With long hours and 6 day work weeks the norm,
the construction industry places great stress on its workers and burnout is a common problem. Having additional tools to manage scheduling and
improve efficiencies would also help to cut down on overtime, provide increased clarity over project management and with the reduce conflict, lead to
a more pleasant working environment
We believe that the widespread use of technology to better manage logistics and scheduling on construction sites can have a huge impact on mental
health and productivity in the industry. Not only has this feedback been consistently reiterated to us by site teams and subcontractors across Australia,
but Veyor has also been studied by the Civil School of Engineering, UNSW, which drew a clear link between digitising logistics and smoother
completions of major construction projects due to the lower risk of clashes and delays. In an industry that sees the highest rates of insolvency, we
believe digital solutions such as Veyor will be essential to creating a more efficient, lower risk environment.
The technology to bring construction firmly into the present day is simple to rollout, easy to use and is already making a difference on some of
Australia’s largest projects. As an industry, we just need to go further and adopt it more aggressively. There’s no good reason to choose a whiteboard
and pen over a specially designed mobile app in today’s connected age. No other industry would make that choice and construction shouldn’t be any