U.S. Construction Companies Not Embracing Technological Advancements: KPMG Survey

A KPMG survey found that many construction companies are not utilizing technological advancements and have no intention of doing so in the future.


KPMG Construction press release

U.S. construction companies are not embracing technological advancements, such as drone aircrafts, robotics, RFID equipment and materials tracking, and data analytics, according to KPMG International’s Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey 2016. (KPMG is No. 16 on the DiversityInc 2016 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list.)

The KPMG survey found that nearly half of organizations use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored, rather than a single, fully integrated Project Management Information System (PMIS). When it comes to mobile technology and platforms, while most use remote monitoring on projects, 19 percent do not use mobile technology at all. Among those who do utilize mobile technology for projects, nearly 40 percent do not have them linked to an integrated system or broader enterprise-wide project management system.

“The survey responses reflect the industry’s innate conservatism towards technologies, with most firms content to follow rather than lead,” says Geno Armstrong, International Sector Leader, Engineering & Construction, KPMG in the U.S. “Many lack a clear technology strategy, and either adopt it in a piecemeal fashion, or not at all. The rapidly evolving infrastructure challenges of the next decade demands that both owners and engineering and construction firms embrace technology more strategically and at a far more rapid pace than in the past.”

In the KPMG study, 67 percent of respondents said they could not push one button on their desktop to obtain fully integrated real-time data on a project. Seventy percent do not use robotic or automated technology; most of which have no plans to use it in the future. In addition to traditional cost and schedule analytics, 65 percent do not use data analytics for any other aspects of their organizations’ projects.

“Integrated, real-time project reporting is still a myth, rather than a reality for most,” said Armstrong. “That’s largely because firms tend to use multiple software platforms that are manually monitored and disconnected, which severely compromises their effectiveness.”

U.S. construction executives also see positive momentum in the market. Thirty six percent feel that construction has emerged from the recession and is starting to grow and 24 percent say that things are looking up for all participants. Another 27 percent indicated that discrete segments are growing fast. Only 13 percent said they are seeing market declines or no growth in the past year.

Armstrong feels that embracing technology and innovation is a sure way to improve results. “Projects are becoming bigger, bolder and more complex – and with complexity comes risk,” he said. “Innovations like remote monitoring, automation and visualization have enormous potential to speed up project progress, improve accuracy and safety.”

About the Survey

Building a technology advantage – Global Construction Survey 2016 highlights the views of over 200 senior executives from major project owners and engineering and construction companies – over 50 of which are in the U.S. The report looks at how the industry is embracing a range of technologies including data and analytics, robotics, drones, remote monitoring and visualization. The survey, now in its 10th year, includes both private companies and government agencies, with project owners from many industries including energy and natural resources, technology and healthcare.

About KPMG International

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 155 countries and have 174,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


KPMG LLP is the U.S. member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG International’s member firms have 174,000 professionals, including more than 9,000 partners, in 155 countries.

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One comment

  • I don’t think it is a matter of if we as a construction industry want to embrace available technology, it’s more of if the technology is effective or not.

    I personally have tried to use several platforms of software over the years only to be hindered or limited in my overall use of it. Usually it came up way short of what was promised than that which could be implemented and used by all field personnel. So, for example, simple software to create a punch list by a superintendent has typically been more cumbersome than simply using text and snapping a couple of pictures. It is far more beneficial in my view to have a dedicated person in each trade, in this example, be solely responsible for the punch list items sent to him/her.

    Thus, it is a matter of convenience that all find their best fit and way to get the job done. Learning a software system that requires all to become familiar with it and then finding out it doesn’t do what you need it to do efficiently is an extreme waste of everyone’s time and money. This is the reason we are all so cautious to try any of the new software available. We have something that already works well so why change?

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