Industry Insights

Autodesk, FMI study: Better data strategies could save construction industry $1.85 trillion

Management consulting firm FMI Corporation and WGIC Member Autodesk published a new study, “Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction” which surveyed over 3,900 professionals across the global construction industry on their data practices in 2020.

Remco Takken September 21, 2021
Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction

In the study, Autodesk and FMI estimate that “bad data” – data that is inaccurate, incomplete, inaccessible, inconsistent or untimely, and can’t be used to derive actionable insights – may have cost the global construction industry $1.85 trillion in 2020. However, survey respondents who had strategies in place to collect, manage and analyze usable data reported benefits such as fewer project delays and budget overruns, less rework, fewer change orders and reduced safety incidents, suggesting implementing formal data strategies could enable construction teams to prevent future losses and gain competitive advantages.

“As the construction industry continues its rapid digitization, it’s important to remember that the utility of technology extends beyond its immediate functions to identifying risks and opportunities with data-driven insights,” said Allison Scott, director of construction thought leadership, Autodesk Construction Solutions. “This study quantifies the immense value of putting frameworks in place to capture and manage data. Organizations that implement formal data strategies stand to gain the most ROI from their technology investments, so it is important to collaborate with vendors and determine how to make the best use of the data being collected.”

Key findings from the study include:

  1. Bad data is leading to poor decision-making and outcomes. Thirty percent of respondents indicated that more than half of their project data is “bad” and results in poor decision making more than 50 percent of the time. Decisions made using “bad data” are estimated to have cost the industry $88.69 billion in rework alone, accounting for 14 percent of all rework performed in 2020. These findings suggest construction teams and organizations need relevant, accurate and complete data sets to make consistently high-quality data-driven decisions.
  2. Intentional data strategies support more consistent, data-driven decision-making. The respondents who said they always incorporate project data into their decision-making (12 percent) are employing intentional data strategies to enable this, including regularly reviewing data for quality (40 percent); standardizing data collection, reporting and monitoring practices (38 percent); and structuring data in a common data environment for centralized access (38 percent).
  3. Data management and analysis skills are seen as critical for team success. Most respondents (60 percent) stated the presence of data management and analysis skills are important for construction teams to work effectively. When asked what project management and analysis skills will be most important for the future in the construction industry, respondents ranked workflow optimization (57 percent), data management strategy (51 percent), data analytics (47 percent), data visualization (40 percent) and data security (39 percent) as their top five skills.

    Download full report with region-specific insights: Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction
    Listen to the findings in Audiobook format