KPMG survey says most UAE builders expect 6-10 per cent growth in 2020

Sidharth MehtaMore than half (53 per cent) of the industry leaders surveyed in the UAE construction sector are optimistic about growth prospects and expecting six -10 per cent growth next year, KPMG’s Global Construction Survey has revealed

The industry players are confident that technology and governance are likely to play a significant role in the construction sector in the next five years.

Professionals, however, remain divided over whether companies in the UAE are delivering projects on time and within budget, with time (44 per cent) and cost (44 per cent) overruns ranking as the top hurdles facing capital construction projects.

These concerns are being addressed as the industry adopts methodologies to link governance to project outcomes. UAE industry leaders recognise that well-run projects, with good management practices and appropriate controls, are more likely to achieve broad measures of success in the future.

Sidharth Mehta, partner, head of building, construction and real estate, KPMG Lower Gulf, said, “The construction sector is the lifeblood of the UAE economy and it is very encouraging to see that the industry is expecting single to double-digit growth this year. As the pace of disruption accelerates, leaders will have to consider implementing a three-pronged approach to rationalise governance and controls, optimise human performance and innovate with technology, to become more future-ready.”

The UAE is already seeing technological disruption in the sector, through 3D printing and automation. According to KPMG’s global findings, the use of robots in the field, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and intelligent tools and equipment will continue to automate many of the less complex and high-risk tasks at the job site, leading to a leaner, more specialised and digitally-enabled workforce.

Looking ahead, over 80 per cent of UAE industry leaders felt that digital modular fabrication will be widely implemented within the next 10 years, followed by intelligent construction equipment (56 per cent) and robots (25 per cent). The use of data analytics and predictive modelling will play an important role in the next five years.

However, the technological investment will be useless without a strong workforce at the helm. People form the backbone of the industry and leaders need to invest in human capital to drive overall performance and ensure on-time project delivery.

“Construction companies that continue to invest in people and implement a technology-enabled strategic road map will be well-positioned to face industry disruption and improve their capital and program performance, putting them on the fast-paced track to growth,” added Mehta.

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