Offsite & Digital Tools Key to Future Construction

13th December, 2021

NBS, the platform for connected construction information, has revealed its eleventh annual survey, now the Digital Construction Survey, previously the NBS BIM Survey. With over nine hundred respondents, this year’s report provides a more comprehensive picture of the sector’s digital transformation, along with BIM adoption levels, and day-to-day usage of technology.

With approaching three-quarters (71%) of respondents now using BIM, it’s fair to consider this approach is now embedded across the sector, with adoption levels consistent for the past couple of years. The construction industry is now on board with technology and confident that it will help solve the challenges facing the sector, as demonstrated by eight in ten stating that digital technologies deliver a better-built environment, with three quarters (75%) saying that tech offers sustainability benefits.

The forthcoming Building Safety Bill has forced safety to the forefront of the construction industry, and regulation requires a digital “golden thread” of information. The golden thread covers information and documents as well as information management processes, all stored as structured digital information. While eight in ten (78%) respondents say they need to be working digitally and 70% say they need to have adopted BIM to make the golden thread a reality, only half (51%) are clear how they will do this. The golden thread process is made much easier with the data available through a digital twin. In addition, having a digital twin enables access to all the essential information in one place and allows for constant monitoring and maintenance of the asset.

While three quarters (74%) of respondents believe that digital technology is helping create a safer built environment, digital twin adoption is still relatively slow, with only 16% having worked on a project that used a digital twin in the past year.

In the past twelve months, half the survey's respondents have worked on an offsite project, a clear sign that a move to MMC is taking place, yet this figure shows there's still work to be done if the government is going to embrace MMC on the scale it intends. The Digital Construction Survey asked respondents to rank how various essential technologies or ways of working will transform the sector for the better over the next five years. The top five are as follows, 1 BIM, 2 Cloud computing, 3 Offsite construction, 4 Digital Twins, 5 AR/VR mixed reality.

Commenting on the survey’s results, David Bain, NBS’ Research Manager, said: “The adoption of new, digital technologies and ways of working should help to improve outcomes, so it is encouraging that 80% of built environment professionals agree that they are helping to create better buildings and places. Also, 75% say these innovations positively impact environmental sustainability, and 74% see them making a safer built environment. The industry also recognises the key role digital and BIM will play in realising the golden thread of information.”

Over 900 construction professionals took part in this year’s Survey, which included views from architects/ engineers and other consultants (66%), contractors (13%), clients (9%), and suppliers (9%) in the UK and beyond.

The full report can be downloaded at:

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