NBS survey dispels the notion of a technologically 'archaic' construction industry

Press Release
14 January 2011

An industry-wide survey conducted by NBS, which had 500 respondents in a review of 6,500 construction professionals, challenges common misconceptions of the industry as archaic and technologically unmotivated.

The key findings of the NBS survey reveal that:

NBS's survey results suggest that construction professionals are more technologically advanced and progressive than the media currently gives them credit for, regardless of their age. These findings are likely to be welcomed by Paul Morrell, the government's Chief Construction Advisor, who has suggested that today's construction industry is lacking vital drive and innovation when it comes to adopting new technologies, stating that; "Unlike other industries, construction has not embraced new technology."

NBS found that throughout the industry, there is a general consensus that the adoption of new technologies would enable practices to achieve a better quality of work, by improving communications, efficiency and document quality. Those intending to increase their investment, listed computer aided design (CAD) as a priority, followed by portable technological equipment.

Interestingly, the survey also showed that nearly half of the construction professionals surveyed (38%) currently use a Smartphone as part of their working lives. When compared to the research results published by comScore, which showed that only 23% of the UK public had access to Smartphone in January 2010, this would suggest that construction professionals are in fact ahead of the adoption curve in this respect.

According to NBS, the underlying problem is that whilst the majority of construction professionals display a positive attitude towards the adoption of new technology, the industry remains reactive, not proactive, to change. Construction businesses are currently only investing in new products or systems once their existing technology becomes obsolete, or if a specific project requires it.

Kris Soderlund, Market Research Co-ordinator at NBS commented; "The main issue here seems to be that personal attitudes towards technology are not being reflected in organisational behaviour and purchasing. Only 14% of professionals claim that, within their office, they always use the latest technology, despite the fact that 86% agree that investment in new technology brings competitive advantage."

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Notes to Editors


NBS, specialist providers of technical information for construction industry professionals, offers essential, innovative products and services, highly valued by those working in architecture, construction, design and engineering.

The premier source of construction-related information, NBS has produced the recognised national standard specification system for the UK for over 35 years. It provides solutions for a broad range of new build, refurbishment, retrofit, landscaping and domestic projects for architects, services engineers, QSs and others. Delivered within a powerful software package, NBS's specification products continue to develop, leading an evolution of the specification and procurement process for buildings in the UK and overseas. NBS also provides solutions for contract administration and project information management.

More than 5,000 offices across the UK subscribe to NBS products, including 96 of the top 100 AJ practices.

NBS produces a range of information delivery products, including The Construction Information Service, a joint venture with IHS. Since 2005, NBS has published the Building Regulations' Approved Documents for England and Wales.

The NBS Learning Channels provide specialist learning services for individuals and organisations working in the architecture, design and construction industry, offering unique high quality video content which is available across four distinct channels: The Architects' Channel, The Civil Engineers' Channel, The Planning Channel and The Surveyors' Channel.

NBS is part of RIBA Enterprises Ltd, the commercial arm of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). RIBA Enterprises employs 250 staff and has offices in London, Newcastle upon Tyne and Newark.