Exploring the Role of Digitalisation and Technology Uptake in the Construction Industry: Lessons from Johannesburg, South Africa

Gina, Phuthumile and Gumbo, Trynos and Pillay, Nischolan (2022) Exploring the Role of Digitalisation and Technology Uptake in the Construction Industry: Lessons from Johannesburg, South Africa. Mobility, Knowledge and Innovation Hubs in Urban and Regional Development. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2022, 27th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 349-356. ISSN 2521-3938

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Businesses within the retailing, banking, and manufacturing sectors have quickly realised and adjusted to digitisation and information technology because they can ensure efficiency and have competitive advantages. The construction industry is yet to fully enjoy the benefits that the above mentioned industries have enjoyed because the adoption of the technology is currently in the early stages with a major focus on the utilization of software. It is imperative that we achieve global sustainability by using every resource at our disposal in an efficient manner which also preserves the environment. South Africa is experiencing challenges with resource wastage, pollution, rising unemployment, housing backlogs, project delays, and financial shortages to name a few. Can digitalisation help remedy these challenges? This research endeavours to investigate the role of Construction 4.0 in South Africa’s construction industry. The research objectives specifically focus on highlighting the stages and ways of applying Construction 4.0 technologies in South Africa; assessing the advantages and disadvantages of using Construction 4.0 technologies in South Africa and lastly, proposing a viable scheme for the utilisation of Construction 4.0 technologies in ways that ensure the sustainable development of South Africa. The work utilised a case study research design and is qualitative in nature. Both primary and secondary sources were used during data collection. Sixteen interviewees were chosen by homogeneous sampling and snowball sampling. The interview transcripts were analysed by categorical aggregation and content analysis. Findings reveal that digital technologies are mostly used during the design or engineering, construction, and pre-design phases but they are seldom used during operation and maintenance. It was revealed that some of the advantages of using Construction 4.0 technologies include productivity improvement, flexibility enhancements, business safety, and better customer services. The disadvantages of using Construction 4.0 technologies include implementation cost, technology acceptance, and high knowledge requirements. The benefits of Construction 4.0 exceed its challenges. Construction 4.0 is a worthy endeavour when humans are open minded, well trained to use the technology and the technology is not expected to replace them. It was however revealed that South Africa has not yet fully digitalised its construction industry and as a result, has not fully experienced the rewards of construction digitalisation. In conclusion, the researchers recommend the full adoption of Construction 4.0 and an extra effort from academics and construction specialists to create awareness so as to improve the country’s sustainable development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Construction 4.0, Industry 4.0, Digitisation, Digitalisation, Sustainability, Sustainable development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Depositing User: The CORP Team
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 10:29
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2022 14:16
URI: http://repository.corp.at/id/eprint/872

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