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ECSO - Digitalisation in the construction sector

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Credits: ECSO

This Analytical Report is part of the European Construction Sector Observatory (ECSO) project. It aims to describe the state of play of digitalisation in the EU construction sector and identify some of its main drivers and challenges. In doing so, the report provides information,evidence and lessons learnt aiming to supporta wide range of stakeholders, including policymakers, who wish to support the integration of digital technologies in the construction sector.


Though transforming, the construction sector is one of the least digitalised sectors in the economy. At the same time,the integration of digital technologies is often viewed as a key element to tackle some of the main challengesit is faced with, such as labour shortage, competitiveness, resource and energy efficiency, and productivity.


This Report presents the state of play of the most relevant digital technologies in the construction sector. Very different levels of maturity and adoption were identified, both among EU Member States, among different technologies and even among different phases of the same construction process. Nonetheless, what has clearly emerged is that the EU construction sector is making progress in the uptake of digital technologies.


The market analysis showed that among data acquisition technologies, sensors are the technology with the highest level of market maturity and technological readiness; however, significant margins of improvement are present when it comes to their integration in existing buildings. 3D scanning is being increasingly used, while IoT is not yet widely adopted, although it is developing rapidly.


Automating processes in the construction sector refer to the use of robots, 3D printing and drones to automate specific tasks in the construction sector. These technologies differ significantly in terms of development. Drones are being increasingly used, notably through the development and improvement of the sensors that they are equipped with, while robots and 3D printing are still at the development phase and utilised only for very specific and limited tasks.


The low market readiness of automating technologies reflects also the fact that the construction and maintenance phases of the value chain have more limited traction when it comes to digitalisation.

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