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Landmark report reveals critical role of Information Management in UK’s economic recovery

Every £1 invested in information management (IM) could potentially secure up to £6 of labour time savings while boosting government efforts to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to a landmark new report published today.

The report, The Value of Information Management in the Construction and Infrastructure Sector, commissioned by the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) as a partner of the Construction Innovation Hub and produced by KPMG and Atkins, found evidence of strong organisational benefits that could be enabled by IM. 

Analysis of 11 case studies found that the use of IM could potentially secure between £5.10- £6.00 of direct labour productivity gains for every £1 invested in IM, and £6.90 in total cost savings. The evidence also suggests IM could enable cost savings across different stages of the asset lifecycle, ranging from 1.6 percent to 18 percent, depending on the lifecycle stage.

The report also found that implementing IM in the construction and infrastructure sector today could potentially unlock wider benefits across the whole economy in the future. The study’s analysis of hypothetical scenarios of sector-wide adoption of IM suggest that every £1 of direct productivity gain today (2021) in the design, construction and maintenance of built assets could potentially translate into £3.70 in annual UK GDP in 2051. 

Raising the productivity of the sector through IM could also put the UK in a better position to meet the Government’s long-term objectives for delivering significant public and private investment in infrastructure to Build Back Better and support the transition to Net Zero by 2050.

A significant driver of this wider impact is the role of the sector in supporting growth in the UK’s capital stock. The report estimates that a 1% productivity improvement in the design, construction and maintenance of newly built assets enabled by IM in 2021 (£2.3bn) could increase the UK’s capital stock by some 0.25% (£32bn) in 2051.

Marking 10 years since the BIM Mandate was announced, the report highlights 11 real-life case studies that demonstrate the benefits that organisations are realising across different parts of the sector, including transport, flood defence, water, defence, housing and non-residential buildings.

Alexandra Bolton, Executive Director at the Centre for Digital Built Britain, said:

“This ground-breaking report sets out the benefits of IM to businesses through increased labour productivity; to the wider economy through driving GDP growth; and to society by improving the quality of outcomes for the end customer, the wider public and the environment. It provides compelling evidence that increasing investment in IM, and a greater focus on and analysis of the wider benefits that it delivers, could not only help to close the sector’s productivity gap, but could also unlock economic, environmental and social gains to create a better future for people and the planet.”

Keith Waller, Programme Director of the Construction Innovation Hub, said: 

“This report clearly underlines the true value information management can deliver as we emerge from a global pandemic and the economic damage it has wrought.  

“This study provides tangible evidence that IM is driving wider organisational improvements through digital transformation. Analysis shows how organisations utilising IM to enable modern methods of construction have developed new, innovative services in the market, and also brought life into projects that were once simply too costly.  

“The challenges the construction sector faces are increasingly complex and this report shows we have both the tools and the expertise to face these challenges, delivering innovative and joined-up solutions that will embed true value into the projects of today, which will meet the challenges of tomorrow.” 

Richard Threlfall, Global Head of Infrastructure at KPMG, said:

“As we move beyond the pandemic, the construction industry is facing into a number of challenges: a huge uptick in demand, pressure to transition to net zero, and a lag behind other sectors in terms of productivity. To respond to these pressures the industry needs access to good quality, trusted and timely data and the ability to fully embrace digital transformation.

“This new report provides the evidence for how IM can help to reduce costs, support innovation to drive up revenue and quality, and boost growth across the wider UK economy, as well as helping to unlock important value for customers, the wider public and our environment. These outcomes are more important than ever for the country’s economic recovery and the drive to ‘Build Back Better’. Now the Government and industry need to focus on measures which expand and accelerate the widespread adoption of Information Management to realise its full potential to drive value within and beyond the sector.”

Richard Robinson, Atkins UK and Europe CEO, said: 

“From the homes we live in, the hospitals we rely on and the transport and energy infrastructure that keeps the UK moving and working, construction is fundamental to our economy and our society. We already knew that digital adoption was key to driving productivity, increasing the lifetime of assets, and delivering whole-life value but this report gives us strong validation and quantified evidence of just how important IM is in bringing that digital transformation to life. The imperative for the industry to improve has never been higher and this study provides evidence of the change not just in motion but accelerating.” 

More Information

Read the Report

Read the Executive Summary

Read the Case Study Annex

Definition of Information Management used in the report:
Information Management (IM) is the process by which an organisation collects, structures, stores, uses and shares its data to perform its core business across asset lifecycle activities. In the construction and infrastructure sector, IM is enabled by the application of the UK BIM Framework and supports wider digital transformation approaches (data analytics, data science, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning applications). Together, these approaches improve the quality, availability and timeliness of the information available to organisations – facilitating more efficient and effective decisions and investments across the asset lifecycle. National-scale development and adoption of common approaches to IM across organisations in the sector supports interoperability of asset data and the opportunity for the future development of a National Digital Twin.

Economic modelling used in the report to estimate potential UK GDP impacts:
The estimated £3.70 in annual UK GDP in 2051 from £1 of productivity gain in the construction sector today is based on economic modelling of a series of hypothetical scenarios which assume different types of productivity gain that could potentially be enabled by widespread adoption of IM across the sector. This analysis has been undertaken using KPMG’s Computable General Equilibrium (‘CGE’) Model of the UK economy. CGE models are a well-established and robust type of economic model (further technical detail below). In the UK, HM Treasury use CGE modelling to understand the impacts of tax and trade policies  and CGE modelling is increasingly being used to evaluate other policy changes and investments, including the delivery of net zero carbon.  This is the first time that such an approach has been applied to comprehensively assess the potential UK-wide GDP impacts of productivity-focused policies in the construction sector. CGE models combine real economic data with economic theory to simulate the behavioural response and market interactions in inter-sector trade (supply chains), capital markets (investment and saving), international trade (imports and exports), labour markets, household consumption and Government spending and taxes to a particular economic change, policy change or ‘shock’ (e.g. widespread adoption of IM in the construction sector).