InEight has launched its first annual Global Capital Projects Outlook.

The Outlook, drawing insights from new research conducted with the world’s largest capital project owners and contractor construction professionals across the Americas, Europe and APAC, focuses on optimism levels and digitisation, and found that despite Covid-19, 92% are either fairly or very optimistic about their future, and 91% believe their organisation to be resilient.

Digital transformation is considered the biggest short-term source of opportunity according to 71% of respondents with data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning considered most critical for success for the next one to three years. However, respondents are divided on the ongoing impact of the economic situation, with 52% identifying economic recovery as an opportunity, and 47% identifying economic stagnation or recession as a risk to their organisation’s growth in the coming year.

Despite the varying economic interpretations, respondents are largely positive when it comes to improvements being made by the sector to deliver projects on time and on budget. 61% of owners and 50% of contractors say that, in the last three years, the number of projects delivered on or ahead of schedule has increased. Similarly, 56% of owners and 51% of contractors say the same for projects on or under budget.

Encouragingly, it is a trend that respondents report as set to continue, with 83% confident of completing future projects on or ahead of schedule, and 82% confident of doing so on or under budget. That said, the research revealed that projects that do go over budget, do so on average by 20% globally.

Commenting on the Outlook, Jake Macholtz, CEO, InEight, says: “The results of our Outlook speak to a construction sector that is brimming with confidence and optimism, one that has proved itself more than equal to the tremendous challenges it has faced this past year. It also points longer term to an industry continuing its digital evolution; many respondents report significant investments being made, or planned, to take advantage of the benefits digital transformation has to offer.

“With this in view, it is not a question of if support exists for digitisation within our industry, we have known collectively for some time that the answer is most certainly, yes. It is instead a question of how this can best be implemented. The fallout from Covid-19 continues to be a risk that is hampering resources, yet with respondents shown to be equally aware that lagging behind on digital transformation will mean being potentially outpaced by the competition, I have full confidence our industry will collaboratively rise to the occasion and continue on an already well-trodden digital path.”

When comparing geographical differences, while all regions show positive intentions regarding digital transformation, the Outlook highlights a noticeable trend of APAC organisations ranking highest for their interest, investment and faith in technology to effect change. For example, a higher percentage of APAC respondents rate digital transformation technologies as critical to their organisation’s success in the next one to three years. This may explain why investment in digitisation is also higher for APAC respondents than elsewhere with 100% of APAC contractors reporting having committed investment to both project management software and connected worksite communications. While in Europe, one in ten respondents have not committed investment in connected worksite communication; and in the Americas, 7% have not committed investment to project management software.

While regions across the globe gather digitisation speed at slightly differing paces and employing varying tactics, what is a commonality, is that the construction industry is foundational to the success of economies and societies worldwide. It is encouraging that despite a difficult year, respondents remain resilient and optimistic for the future; committed to continuing as a vibrant, vital and innovation-minded industry.