Nine in 10 Canadian construction companies say they are dealing with a shortage of skilled labour or trades and may need to consider alternatives, such as prefabrication and modularization or innovative new technology.
A survey by KPMG in Canada of 275 companies finds that the industry views digital technology as a solution to address those shortages, which they say are affecting their ability to bid on projects and meet deadlines amid unprecedented demand.
Tom Rothfischer, a partner at KPMG in Canada, says digital tools can help save time and money, reduce waste and improve worker safety.
He points to technologies used in the manufacturing sector such as 3D printing, which has been adapted for the construction industry to lay concrete and build complex steel shapes, along with drone-based surveying, which can help contractors accurately lay out work and monitor progress.
But survey respondents say Canada's construction industry has been slow to adopt new digital technologies and the pandemic has intensified the sector's need to adapt.
Around 46 per cent of companies say they plan to spend more than 11 per cent of their corporate operating budget on tech and digital transformation.