‘Bad’ data costing construction US$1.8 trillion

By Andy Brown16 September 2021

The use of data in construction is increasing, but the cost of ‘bad’ data could be in the trillions

Data that is inaccurate, incomplete, inaccessible, inconsistent or untimely is estimated to have cost the global construction industry US$1.8 trillion in 2020, according to a new study from Autodesk and FMI Corporation.

The report, ‘Harnessing the Data Advantage in Construction’, surveyed over 3,900 professionals across the global construction industry on their data practices in 2020.

Survey respondents who had strategies in place to collect, manage and analyse usable data reported benefits such as fewer project delays and budget overruns, less rework, fewer change orders and reduced safety incidents.

Over 30% of respondents indicated that more than half of their project data is ‘bad’ and results in poor decision making more than 50% of the time. Decisions made using ‘bad data’ are estimated to have cost the industry US$88.69 billion in rework alone, accounting for 14% of all rework performed in 2020.

When asked what project management and analysis skills will be most important for the future in the construction industry, respondents ranked workflow optimisation (57%), data management strategy (51%), data analytics (47%), data visualisation (40%) and data security (39%) as their top five skills.

“Organisations are adopting technology, but our study shows there is opportunity for them to gain even more from their investments,” said Jay Bowman, research and analytics lead at FMI.

“Without data strategies in place, the construction industry is leaving significant amounts of money and opportunities for more positive project outcomes on the table. The good news is that implementing data strategies is entirely within an organisation’s control, and our research identified a few ways some teams are successfully collecting, managing and using their data to support decision making.”

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