How utilising data mitigates risk in the property industry 

The Property Council of Australia and Procore Technologies have revealed the development industry’s growing appetite for digital transformation and how industry leaders are preparing today for what comes tomorrow in their joint research report ‘The Data Differentiator’.

Property Council’s NSW Executive Director Luke Achterstraat said the report examined how technology could help business leaders to navigate the increasingly complex compliance, regulation and risk landscape.

“Consumers are demanding greater transparency and trustworthiness in buildings while investors are now looking at their assets through an ESG-risk lens. The way we use space is shifting as smartphones recalibrate the way we work, live, shop and move,” Mr Achterstraat said.

“These pre-existing drivers, overlaid with a global pandemic, have forced the construction industry to rethink the tools and processes it has relied on for decades. New technology is necessary to not only meet cost, efficiency and compliance requirements, but also to keep sites safe and open.

Mr Achterstraat said industry’s leaders understood the value of technology to deliver better quality outcomes.

“While prefabrication and 3D printing, drones and virtual reality capture a lot of headlines and headspace, our research confirms that the tools poised to deliver the most powerful results are those that manage and mine data,” he said.

“This research by the Property Council and Procore suggests a real enthusiasm for tools that enhance collaboration across the construction lifecycle and along the length of the supply chain.

“It also points to a future where data and analytics are used daily to enhance quality, reduce defects, maintain compliance and support better onsite health and safety.

“But we also found a clear warning: multi-million-dollar twenty-first century projects can’t be managed effectively with twentieth century tools.

“The dialogue is underway, and our new report offers new insights for discussion. Our challenge as an industry is to translate this discussion into true digital transformation that supports compliance, manages risk and delivers better quality buildings.”

Mr Achterstraat said the property industry pivoted in response to COVID-19, taking on industrial and logistics projects and upgrading existing assets.

“Despite the pivots in response to COVID-19, the pandemic has not influenced the viability of the industry’s project pipeline, with 85% of respondents noting COVID-19 has had zero impact on development projects,” he said.

“In fact, just 4% of respondents were concerned about shrinking project pipelines. Instead, their worries are weighted towards the challenges of growth: availability of land, funding and a rapid rate of delivery that could erode quality.”

Mr Achterstraat said the large-scale pivot to industrial and logistics projects was unsurprising.

“Growth in e-commerce saw the industrial and logistics sector outperform the 10-year average by 23% in 2020,” he said.

“However, the responses suggest the property industry is banking on ecommerce being baked into Australian behaviour when we emerge from the pandemic.

“Just as the pandemic has accelerated an existing trend towards online shopping, it has also reoriented activity away from our CBDs.

“Polycentric planning strategies were already encouraging growth outside our economic centres prior to the COVID-19 crisis, but now 76% of respondents expect to look beyond the core CBD for some future developments.

Mr Achterstraat said developers were also investing huge sums in capital improvements to gear up their existing assets for the next stage of growth.

“The data suggests companies are using downtime and lockdowns to their advantage to upgrade their assets,” he said.

“It also hints that fewer front-end lease commitments are available to de-risk new office developments as large tenants take a ‘wait and see’ approach to their space requirements.”

Media contact: Aidan Green | M 0491 030 028 | E [email protected]