GIRI Research Report: The use of technology to reduce errors in design and construction

GIRI’s 2016 Research Report identified and ranked 17 root causes of error, the top three of which were: inadequate planning, late design changes and poorly communicated design information.

In March 2023, the C-Tech Club - a global community of 370 founders of construction-tech start-ups - published a Catalogue of Construction Technology Types that listed 31 categories of construction technology along with a definition of each and example technology providers.

Our research considered the GIRI root causes of error alongside the C-Tech Club construction technology types to determine which categories of construction technology are most likely to help reduce the most important root causes of error. This suggested eight categories of construction technology that may best support error reduction.

This analysis was developed further through discussions with asset owners, contractors, design consultants and start-ups themselves, to produce a more granular and detailed list of the types of technology that can help with error reduction. 

These are: checking technology; automated generation systems; workflow engines; visualisation systems; collaboration tools; communication systems; computer vision; IOT sensors; document management systems and digital setting-out tools.

The report considers each of these types of technology, how they may support error reduction and gives some examples of technology providers. It is also clear from our research that the successful adoption of technology relies on a variety of human, cultural and behavioural factors.

These factors are a combination of communication and collaboration; capabilities and skills; standards and processes; strategy and governance; and technology and data. As one contributor observed: “the technology itself is only a small part of the challenge. The major part is the people and their motivations. You can never get someone to do something that they don’t want to do.”

This report is intended to serve as a catalyst for discussion across the GIRI Technology Group, the C-Tech Club and beyond. There is considerable potential for better adoption and implementation of current technologies to reduce error; there is also the opportunity for new technologies to be developed with an error-reduction use-case in mind.

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