Entering the digital age: the Middle East’s transforming construction industry
Our latest report, ‘Middle East construction: entering the digital age’, evaluates the Middle East construction market's understanding of digitalisation and regional sentiment towards adopting a digital-first approach. The survey data is collected from a selection of senior stakeholders and decision-makers across the Middle Eastern construction industry.
By Kaarin Kalavus, Director, and Georgina Bishop, Associate Director.
The digital revolution
According to our survey, over 60 percent of respondents are currently implementing digital strategies in the Middle East. This is in alignment with country specific initiatives, for example, Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and UAE's Digital Government Strategy 2025.
Digital strategies, such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI), drones, 3D printing and building information modelling (BIM), are hoped to enhance productivity improvement, strengthen collaboration and reach sustainability targets, as well as improve decision-making, quality control and budget management in the region.
Although the survey findings highlight a proactive industry approach towards digital transformation, persistent challenges such as resistance to change and cybersecurity concerns demonstrate the need for a cultural shift towards digital adoption.
The need for digital up-skilling and improved digital literacy is also crucial as the industry adopts more sophisticated technology.
The future outlook looks promising with 98 percent of survey respondents anticipating that the continued integration of advanced construction techniques will expedite the requirement for digital skills in the sector.
A digital-first approach to sustainability
Ninety percent of our survey respondents believe that the digital transformation of the construction industry will lead to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious approach to building projects in the Middle East. Digital tools are helping to transform early-stage design optimisation and enable efficient carbon, cost and construction strategies.
Both the survey findings and tools being implemented indicate that a digital-first approach is resonating with industry professionals and that they are recognising the positive impact digital tools can have on meeting sustainability goals.
The industry is not merely embracing environmentally conscious construction practices but is actively leveraging digital technologies to monitor and report on environmental metrics, contributing to transparency and accountability.
Project efficiency: a key digital driver
In addition to the opportunity digitisation brings to move towards attaining sustainability goals, a key driver propelling digital transformation in construction is the pursuit of heightened productivity.
The adoption of BIM and cloud construction management software was recognised by 80 percent of survey respondents for their combined potential to enhance project efficiency. However, such solutions continue to face hurdles in implementation, with respondents’ concerns including cost limitations and the need for comprehensive training programmes.
Economic growth demands and regulation will remain the key drivers for reinforcing digitisation in the Middle East's construction sector.
The digital revolution also relies on cooperation between the public and private sectors to establish policies, support research and development, exchange knowledge and promote the use of technology.
As the sector matures in its digital transformation journey, our survey sentiment is clear: 90 percent of our respondents agree that digital transformation is essential for the future growth of the region's construction industry and that digital adoption will be instrumental to construction resilience.