Technology, Governance and Image Essential to Meet Future Infrastructure Challenges

Arguing that the construction industry will build more in the next 40 years than it has in the last 4000 years, KPMG’s Head of Global Infrastructure, Richard Threlfall highlighted the demands the construction industry is currently facing and how technology could help to utilise the power of data and analytics, employing governance across the industry and encourage investment.

At the sixteenth annual JCT Povey Lecture on Thursday, 8 November 2018, called Embracing Technology, Richard demonstrated the significant impact that the value of data is having on the way infrastructure is being procured, built and managed.

Under the title, Collaborative, Connected and Cool” Richard said that data use is informing not only investment into infrastructure projects, but also modern construction techniques – using off-site manufacturing and BIM for example, and is also pivotal in managing assets in the post-construction phase and maximising the end-user experience.

Richard Threlfall

Richard also explained how a governance change, focusing on whole life cycle and sustainable outcomes, instead of the current tendency towards short-termism, is also a factor in possible future success, in particular placing the responsibility for investment with the owners of the projects, as the principal agents in procuring new infrastructure.

“Data and analytics are allowing us to plan, build, maintain and operate infrastructure far more efficiently than ever before”, said Richard.

“However we’re trying to use a short-term industry to build long-term outcomes. It just doesn’t work. It’s not just about the asset creation; it’s about the asset over its whole life. But to make this stick we need governance reform.

“It’s about focusing on the ultimate outcomes of what we’re trying to achieve in societies. Construction is an industry that designs, builds, and maintains the infrastructure that delivers those public outcomes, so what we do as a construction industry has a huge impact on society.”

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