Report highlights critical role of Information Management in UK’s economic recovery
Every £1 invested in information management (IM) could potentially secure up to £6 of labour time savings while boosting government efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to a new report.
Commissioned by the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) as a partner of the Construction Innovation Hub and produced by KPMG and Atkins, The Value of Information Management in the Construction and Infrastructure Sector found evidence of strong organisational benefits that could be enabled by IM.
Analysis of 11 case studies found that the use of IM could potentially secure between £5.10- £6.00 of direct labour productivity gains for every £1 invested in IM, and £6.90 in total cost savings. The evidence also suggests IM could enable cost savings across different stages of the asset lifecycle, ranging from 1.6% to 18%, depending on the lifecycle stage.
The report also found that implementing IM in the construction and infrastructure sector today will unlock wider benefits across the whole economy in the future. The study’s analysis of illustrative scenarios of sector-wide adoption of IM suggest that every £1 of direct productivity gain today (2021) in the design, construction and maintenance of built assets could translate into £3.70 in annual UK GDP in 2051.
Raising the productivity of the sector through IM also puts the UK in a better position to meet the government’s long-term objectives for delivering significant public and private investment in infrastructure to Build Back Better and support the transition to Net Zero by 2050.
A significant driver of this wider impact is the role of the sector in supporting growth in the UK’s capital stock. The report estimates that a 1% productivity improvement in the design, construction and maintenance of newly built assets enabled by IM in 2021 (£2.3bn) could increase the UK’s capital stock by some 0.25% (£32bn) in 2051.
Marking 10 years since the BIM Mandate was announced, the report highlights 11 real-life case studies that demonstrate the benefits realised across a wide range of sectors and organisations, including the housing sector. For example, affordable housing developer EDAROTH is expecting their use of IM is expected to unlock a 6% saving in the design and construction costs of their housing projects (based on the average cost per house) and a 50% reduction in housing construction time relative to a more traditional build approach.
Alexandra Bolton, executive director at the Centre for Digital Built Britain, said: “This ground-breaking report sets out the benefits of IM to businesses through increased labour productivity; to the wider economy through driving GDP growth; and to society by improving the quality of outcomes for the end customer, the wider public and the environment.
“It provides compelling evidence that increasing investment in IM, and a greater focus on and analysis of the wider benefits that it delivers, could not only help to close the sector’s productivity gap, but could also unlock economic, environmental and social gains to create a better future for people and the planet.”
Keith Waller, programme director of the Construction Innovation Hub, said: “This report clearly underlines the true value information management can deliver as we emerge from a global pandemic and the economic damage it has wrought.
“This study provides tangible evidence that IM is driving wider organisational improvements through digital transformation. Analysis shows how organisations utilising IM to enable modern methods of construction have developed new, innovative services in the market, and also brought life into projects that were once simply too costly.
“The challenges the construction sector faces are increasingly complex and this report shows we have both the tools and the expertise to face these challenges, delivering innovative and joined-up solutions that will embed true value into the projects of today, which will meet the challenges of tomorrow.”
Richard Threlfall, global head of infrastructure at KPMG, said: “As we move beyond the pandemic, the construction industry is facing into a number of challenges: a huge uptick in demand, pressure to transition to net zero, and a lag behind other sectors in terms of productivity. To respond to these pressures the industry needs access to good quality, trusted and timely data and the ability to fully embrace digital transformation.
“This new report provides the evidence for how IM can help to reduce costs, support innovation to drive up revenue and quality, and boost growth across the wider UK economy, as well as helping to unlock important value for customers, the wider public and our environment. These outcomes are more important than ever for the country’s economic recovery and the drive to ‘Build Back Better’. Now the Government and industry need to focus on measures which expand and accelerate the widespread adoption of Information Management to realise its full potential to drive value within and beyond the sector.”
Richard Robinson, Atkins UK and Europe CEO, said: “From the homes we live in, the hospitals we rely on and the transport and energy infrastructure that keeps the UK moving and working, construction is fundamental to our economy and our society.
“We already knew that digital adoption was key to driving productivity, increasing the lifetime of assets, and delivering whole-life value but this report gives us strong validation and quantified evidence of just how important IM is in bringing that digital transformation to life. The imperative for the industry to improve has never been higher and this study provides evidence of the change not just in motion but accelerating.”