Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering
On-line version ISSN 2309-8775
RUST, F C and KOEN, R. Positioning technology development in the South African construction industry: a technology foresight study. J. S. Afr. Inst. Civ. Eng. [online]. 2011, vol.53, n.1, pp. 02-08. ISSN 2309-8775.
Internationally infrastructure is ageing rapidly and there is increased utilisation of infrastructure due to urbanisation and globalisation. Significant amounts are invested globally to address this issue, although funding fluctuates from year to year. One response to this situation is to position the construction industry with advanced technological solutions. However, the construction industry is renowned for low levels of innovation and the South African government has also underfunded research into infrastructure. There is a need to stimulate innovation in the construction industry to develop the uniquely South African technological solutions required to provide and maintain economic and social infrastructure. An investment in construction innovation should be based on a review of the current state of construction technology and the industry and an analysis of the drivers and trends that will shape the future construction industry landscape. Technology foresight studies are recognised as one way to determine the future factors that will influence a specific economic sector. This article describes a new approach to conducting a technology foresight study within the South African construction industry. The methodology, as well as initial results from it, is reported. A review is provided of the current state of the construction industry and its potential drivers and trends. Future work will include scenario development and the development of pathways and interventions to take the industry forward from its current position to a desired future state.
Keywords : technology foresight; construction sector; construction drivers; research and development.