At BS Fixings, we try to stay at the forefront of the construction industry, to remain up to date with the latest practices and trends. One report that has gained our attention is the recent 2023 Digital Construction Report by NBS, a leading company that specialises in connecting construction information to create a safer and more sustainable sector. NBS focuses on the digital transformation of construction, providing cloud-based technology platforms for specifiers and manufacturers. With over 50 years in the industry, NBS combines technological expertise and deep knowledge of the construction sector to support architects, engineers, and other construction professionals in their work.

Their latest report is a key resource for understanding the current trends and future directions in construction technology, including the rise of digital tools, sustainability metrics, and innovative construction methods. It is based on a survey conducted between July and September of 2023, with 723 design and construction professionals taking part.

Whilst traditionally, construction has lagged in adopting digital advancements compared to other sectors, the NBS report might show a shift. Especially with the rise of AI and machine learning, now is the perfect time for the construction industry to embrace technology. Find below the key findings from the report:

  1. Trends in Technology Adoption – the report identifies the growing use of various digital platforms in construction, highlighting the role of AI and other emerging technologies such as VR (Virtual Reality). It explores how these technologies are leveraged, including measuring environmental impacts and improving collaboration and information sharing. One interesting point is that 36% of professionals have used immersive tools such as VR for their projects, mainly used by stakeholders to create detailed plans.
  2. Environmental Impact Assessment – a notable trend in the report is the use of digital tools to calculate environmental metrics such as carbon emissions, energy demand, and water usage.
  3. Off-site Construction – the report reveals a rise in the use of off-site construction methods. This method is increasingly recognised for its potential to enhance building efficiency and safety, with 57% of professionals being involved in a project that has used Modern Methods of Construction in the last year.
  4. Digital Twins and Off-site Construction – the use of digital twins has seen a significant increase of 50% since 2021, indicating a shift towards replicating successful construction projects and creating detailed 'as-built' models. Additionally, off-site construction methods are gaining traction, suggesting an industry-wide move towards more controlled and sustainable building practices.
  5. Cloud Computing and Collaborative Work – a significant portion of professionals now incorporate cloud computing into their daily workflows (e.g. Google Drive or DropBox), allowing for efficient document sharing and collaboration – 75% use cloud-based platforms to collaborate with other team members. This trend points towards a more connected and efficient approach to project management.
  6. Industry's Self-assessment and Challenges – the report also touches on the construction industry's self-assessment regarding the use of digital technology. Whilst there is progress, concerns about keeping pace with other industries and fully harnessing digital capabilities persist.
  7. Diverse Participation in the Survey – the survey, which forms the basis of the report, saw participation from a diverse range of professionals across various disciplines, organisational sizes, and experience levels, ensuring a comprehensive overview of the industry's digital landscape.
  8. Building Information Modelling (BIM) – the report examines the current state of BIM, looking into whether the industry has managed to overcome past challenges and the adherence to BS EN ISO 19650 Standards.

This report not only highlights the emerging trends in digital technology but also serves as a roadmap for companies like ours to stay ahead in a competitive market. For those in the industry, will you incorporate any of these digital trends into your work? We are excited to see how the construction sector will continue to develop!

Read the full NBS Digital 2023 Construction Report here.