Laying Foundations: Technological Maturity in Canada’s Construction Sector

An on-the-ground insights report on the state of technology adoption in Canada’s construction industry and what can be done to increase it
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Laying Foundations: Technological Maturity in Canada’s Construction Sector
Joshua Zachariah
Alumni, Economist
Thomas Goldsmith
Collaborator

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About This Report

Canada’s construction sector is a significant contributor to Canada’s overall GDP and employs over 1.4 million people. It plays a central role in addressing challenges around housing affordability, the completion of new infrastructure projects, and adapting to climate change, making the sector’s competitiveness critical to the overall health and resiliency of Canada’s economy.

Despite its economic power, research from Picking Up Speed, our report on digital maturity across the Canadian economy, has shown that the construction industry has been a consistent laggard in technology adoption compared to other major industries, resulting in a detrimental effect on both labour and capital productivity.

Laying Foundations: Technological maturity in Canada’s construction sector provides an in-depth examination into the unique challenges Canadian firms are facing with adopting technology, what firms have done to address them, and actionable recommendations on what governments and industry actors can do to potentially improve the rate of technology adoption.

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Key insights + Policy Recommendations:

  • Low technology adoption stems from risk aversion. Accidents and mishaps on site, delayed production timelines, and the inherent competitive environment of the industry are associated with the risk of using new technologies, creating widespread aversion to implementing them.

 

  • Simply adopting a new technology is not enough. While technology adoption is necessary for technological maturity, a culture that enables the successful integration and deployment of technology is equally essential. 

 

  • While new technologies often create risk, they also lower it. For example, better sensors can detect water damage, quickly lowering the risk of that particular physical mishap. 

 

  • Solutions can be found internationally. Drawing on international best practices from organizations such as the CDBB and BRE Group in the UK can serve as a valuable resource to inform policy that supports technological maturity. 

 

  • There are viable solutions here in Canada. Bolstering investment in educational programs, utilizing government procurement powers, and building structures to pool and share information all have the potential to positively impact widespread technology adoption in the industry. 

Our Funders

Laying Foundations: Technological maturity in Canada’s construction sector is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre.

The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.