Digital Technology To Address Housing Backlog In Canada

KPMG in Canada reveals that the backlog of housing and infrastructure projects in the country, caused by high demand and a shortage of skilled labor, can be addressed with the help of digital technology. KPMG found that nearly 90% of 275 construction companies are being impacted by the lack of skilled labor, affecting their ability to bid on projects and meet deadlines. These companies believe that digital technology can enhance their workforce’s effectiveness and alleviate the labor shortage.

Digital tools offer numerous benefits to the construction industry, including cost and time savings, waste reduction, and improved worker safety and productivity. By adopting technologies like 3D printing, robots, drones, and building information modeling (BIM) from the manufacturing sector, the construction industry can enhance productivity and lower expenses. Additionally, digital twin technologies enable real-time integration of data between physical assets and virtual replicas, enabling effective testing and optimization. While the construction industry in Canada has been slow to adopt digital technologies compared to other countries, the COVID-19 pandemic and labor shortage have driven a shift in mindset. Construction companies now recognize the transformative potential of technology and intend to make substantial investments in the coming years. However, successful integration of technology across all operations, from the back office to the construction site, will be crucial for firms to remain competitive.

As per insights, the Canadian construction industry lags behind other countries in adopting digital technology. However, 67% of companies stated that the pandemic prompted them to invest in technology. Furthermore, 86% of respondents agreed that disruptive technologies can generate savings and efficiency, while 85% believed that these technologies could enhance their companies’ competitiveness. The majority of companies expressed excitement and support for new technologies among both management teams and project teams.

To overcome the labor shortage, construction companies are exploring ways to alleviate current constraints and meet demands. Deploying digital tools such as data analytics, wearables, Internet of Things sensors, and BIM can improve productivity, schedule efficiency, quality, waste reduction, and worker safety. However, as companies embrace technology, the composition of the workforce will need to adapt, incorporating new roles such as software engineers, BIM designers, data analysts, and drone operators. For instance, drones are increasingly being used for planning, design, monitoring, and worker safety.

With numerous construction projects on the horizon, companies can compete, meet deadlines, and stay within budget by digitizing and modernizing their operations and fully harnessing the potential of digital technologies. However, implementing digital transformation requires hiring new talent and making adjustments to the education system to provide more flexibility in pursuing trade careers.

KPMG reveals that 90% of construction companies in Canada are currently experiencing a shortage of skilled labor. This number rises to 94% in Quebec and 90% in British Columbia. Consequently, 86% of respondents stated that the labor shortage is affecting their ability to bid on projects or meet deadlines. To address this issue, companies are considering alternative methods such as prefabrication, modularization, and innovative tools and machinery. The majority of respondents (89%) agreed that better project management tools, including analytics, BIM, and digital twins, can help alleviate labor shortages and improve employee productivity.