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Building Construction, Property Real Estate

The silent crisis exacerbated: Is slow tech adoption potentially deepening Australia’s housing shortage?

PlanRadar 5 mins read

The housing affordability crisis in Australia is reaching alarming levels. Based on projections from the State of the Nation’s Housing Report 2022-23, over 1.8 million new households are expected to form across Australia between 2023 and 2033. This growth is set to worsen the existing housing deficit, with an estimated cumulative shortfall of approximately 106,300 dwellings in the next five years and around 79,300 dwellings from 2023 to 2033.

Furthermore, the report emphasises an impending shortfall of apartments and multi-density dwellings, with an anticipated average annual net addition of around 57,000 units in the next five years. This figure notably falls short of the levels observed in the late 2010s.

Leon Ward, Digital Construction Specialist for Australia + New Zealand at PlanRadar, comments: “Over the last five years, Australia has seen significant challenges in maintaining sustainable levels of new residential builds. While numerous factors contribute to this deficit, it's important to recognize that unequal access to and adoption of construction technology tools have also played a significant role in creating this divide.”

How historically slower tech adoption can exacerbate construction shortfalls in real estate

The construction industry's historical reluctance to adopt technology at a swift pace can exacerbate deficiencies in real estate development in various ways. Outdated construction methods and technologies can lead to inefficiencies and project delays, increasing construction costs and causing missed deadlines. As a result, this situation can contribute to a scarcity of available housing units, particularly in high-demand areas, intensifying challenges related to housing affordability. Slower tech adoption may also impede the implementation of innovative construction practices and sustainable building techniques, limiting the industry's capacity to address environmental issues and comply with evolving regulations. The absence of advanced digital tools for project management, resource optimisation, and collaboration can further impede construction firms' competitiveness in an increasingly cutthroat market.

In Australia's residential construction sector, the impact of sluggish tech adoption can be notably significant due to the country's expanding population and urbanisation patterns. As housing demand surges, delays and inefficiencies resulting from outdated construction practices can place additional strain on the housing market, exacerbating affordability concerns and impeding the sector's capacity to meet housing demands. Additionally, Australia's focus on sustainability and energy efficiency in building construction underscores the necessity of embracing advanced technologies to drive innovation and effectively tackle environmental concerns. 

Leon Ward added, “In addressing the current challenges within the Australian residential construction sector, it is crucial to prioritise the adoption of technology. This focus on technology is essential for enhancing the industry's resilience and sustainability. Embracing digital tools goes beyond mere advancement; it plays a key role in shaping a more efficient and robust future for construction in Australia.”

6 key ways embracing digital can improve housing construction outcomes

Embracing digital technologies can significantly improve housing construction outcomes in the Australian real estate sector in several key ways:

  • Enhanced design and planning: Digital tools such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) enable architects and designers to create detailed, accurate 3D models of buildings, facilitating better design visualisation and planning. This leads to more efficient use of space, improved functionality, and reduced errors in construction.

  • Improved project management: Digital project management platforms allow for better coordination and communication among project stakeholders, including architects, contractors, and subcontractors. Real-time collaboration and access to project data help streamline workflows, minimise delays, and ensure that construction projects stay on schedule and within budget.

  • Optimised resource allocation: Digital technologies enable better resource allocation, including materials, labour, and equipment, leading to improved efficiency and cost savings.

  • Enhanced quality control: Digital tools can be used to monitor construction processes and track progress in real-time, allowing for better quality control and early detection of potential issues. This ensures that construction projects meet quality standards and regulatory requirements, reducing the likelihood of costly rework or delays.

  • Increased safety: Digital technologies such as drones, sensors, and wearable devices can be used to monitor construction site safety and identify potential hazards. 

  • Sustainability and energy efficiency: Digital-driven construction methods, such as prefabrication and modular construction, can help reduce waste, optimise energy usage, and promote sustainable building practices. 

Challenges and opportunities for digital-driven construction for Australia residential projects

Digital-driven construction in Australian residential projects encounters various challenges. One significant obstacle is the substantial initial investment required for software, hardware, and training, particularly affecting smaller construction firms. Moreover, integrating digital technologies into existing workflows requires significant shifts in processes and mindsets among construction teams. The emphasis on data security and privacy becomes more critical with the expanded use of digital tools, necessitating the implementation of measures to safeguard sensitive project information and client data.

Additionally, a potential skills gap in digital literacy among construction workers underlines the need for investment in training and upskilling. After considering these factors, ensuring compatibility between different digital platforms and software solutions, throughout different stages of the construction lifecycle, presents complexities that call for standardisation efforts.

However, digital-driven construction also presents abundant opportunities for Australian residential projects. Tools such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and project management software facilitate collaboration and communication among stakeholders, thereby enhancing project delivery efficiency. This technology helps to streamline workflows, automate tasks, and optimise resource allocation, resulting in heightened efficiency and productivity throughout the construction lifecycle. Features such as real-time project progress monitoring ensures better quality control and compliance with standards and regulations. 

Leon Ward noted, "We believe that integrating smarter, standardised digital tools into housing construction brings about tangible benefits for both construction companies and homeowners. From efficiency gains to cost-effectiveness and sustainability, embracing digital tools is a significant support driving positive outcomes in the Australian real estate sector."

Key Facts:

- The housing affordability crisis in Australia is escalating, with a projected formation of only 1.8 million new households from 2023 to 2033, exacerbating the existing housing deficit.


-In Australia's expanding residential construction sector, outdated practices contribute to housing shortages, exacerbating affordability issues.


- Slower tech adoption hampers innovation and sustainable building practices, limiting the industry's capacity to address environmental concerns and comply with regulations.


- Embracing digital tools can enhance design and planning, improve project management, optimise resource allocation, ensure quality control, increase safety, and promote sustainability in housing construction.


- Challenges to digital adoption include initial investment costs, skills gaps, data security concerns, and compatibility issues, but opportunities exist to enhance collaboration, streamline workflows, and improve efficiency throughout the construction lifecycle.


- Integration of standardised digital tools is crucial for driving positive outcomes in the Australian real estate sector, benefiting both construction companies and homeowners.

- Prioritising technology adoption is essential for enhancing the industry's resilience and sustainability, shaping a more efficient future for construction in Australia.

About us:

PlanRadar is an award-winning digital B2B platform that creates time and cost savings in construction and real estate projects by digitising task management, documentation and communication for over 150,000+ users in 75+ countries worldwide. 

PlanRadar’s Australian chapter is currently partnered with the Australian Institute of Building, PropTech Association Australia and was recently announced as an Established Suppliers Winner at the 2023 Australian National PropTech Awards in the category “Design, Build & Develop”. They also work closely with the Housing Industry Association (HIA) Australia, Future Place and Digital Built Environment.

Visit our website at to find out more about us, or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.

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