MMC and data: opportunities and challenges for the future

Image: Phuttaphat Tipsana/
Modern methods of construction (MMC) and data analytics are the two most popular focuses of UK construction companies’ technology ambitions, according to new research from Autodesk.

More than 200 construction professionals were surveyed in August, and nearly half (43%) are exploring the opportunity of investing in MMC (including offsite construction) in the next five years.

More than a third (35%) are also considering data analytics.

Also being considered by more than a fifth of the respondents are:

  • 3D printing
  • VR/AR
  • BIM
  • AI
  • Robotics

Plans vary depending on the size of company: for example, those with more than 100 employees are more likely to invest in MMC (49% vs 39%) and data analytics (41% vs 31%) than smaller companies.

Similarly, contractors are more likely than subcontractors to invest in these areas. That said, robotics is an exception, with 29% of subcontractors considering investing compared with 20% of contractors.

Trade skills still a concern

Despite this focus on future technologies, traditional trade skills (brick laying, plastering, etc) are still of great concern to the respondents.

More than a third (34%) rated traditional trade skills as “currently rare within construction that will be required in the next five to ten years”.

The following skills all polled 20% or more:

  • Offsite manufacturing
  • VR
  • AR
  • Data analytics
  • 3D printing
  • Robotics
  • Data use for asset operations

In response to the report’s findings, Autodesk director of construction strategy Matt Keen said: “It is clear from our research that the construction industry needs to build both traditional skills and digital capabilities today to deliver on the country’s goals and move towards a more sustainable future.

“We must invest in the next generation of skilled workers and emerging technologies that are increasingly shaping the built environment now to compete for talent, and present construction as an attractive career path for the decades to come.” 

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