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Non-technical inhibitors: Exploring the adoption of digital innovation in the UK construction industry

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Shojaei, RS 
Burgess, G 


Digital technologies, in particular, Building Information Modelling (BIM), are claimed to provide an effective and efficient solution for tackling the plethora of problems in the UK construction industry, including time and cost overruns, low quality, and inefficient use of resources. Despite the potential benefits and government promotion, the adoption of digital innovation in the construction sector remains low. An extensive range of existing literature has discussed the constraints hampering the widespread uptake in the construction industry. However, most provide quantitative data, preferring to focus on the technical constraints; only a few examine the theoretical framework underpinning the barriers to increased adoption. This study responds to the call of Davis et al. (2014) to apply socio-technical theory to new areas, and uses a qualitative approach to explore the non-technical barriers to the take up of digital innovation in the construction industry. A number of non-technical barriers that constrain industry uptake (e.g., sociocultural, individual) were identified in a series of interviews, and are grouped under six analytical dimensions, encompassing people, culture, process and procedure, technology, goals and infrastructure. Our findings show that collaborative culture, driven leaders with a human-centric mindset who believe in the changes being implemented, and workforce training and upskilling are all needed for the successful adoption of digital technology in construction firms. Making managers and the wider workforce aware of the benefits of digital innovation results in enhanced perceptions of, and openness to, the adoption of new technologies. Creating a clear digital strategy, early involvement of the supply chain, keeping employees on board during the digitisation journey, and effective communication and coordination, help construction companies to tackle challenges related to process and procedure.



Digital innovation, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Construction industry, Digital Innovation Implementation Inhibitors, Socio-technical theory, Non -technical barriers

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Technological Forecasting and Social Change

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Elsevier BV