A Study of Innovative Construction Technologies Used in Sri Lanka

Document Type:Research Paper

Subject Area:Engineering

Document 1

This paper seeks to establish the factors that have led to a slow growth in innovation in Sri Lanka. This survey combines field study with that of the secondary sources to establish the factors behind the slowed development of technology. The objectives of this research are drawn before the research is conducted. The questionnaires are designed in order to meet the objectives set for the research. Different players in the construction industry in Sri Lanka were interviewed. Their Biodata has been taken into consideration. The survey is done through a well-designed questionnaire to establish the factors that have made innovation slowdown in Sri Lanka. The results from the research are then keenly analyzed and the factors for the slowed innovation explained in sequence. The analysis is done with the help of the secondary resources. Reference is drawn to the literature review on where different research has been done to establish what has affected the industry. A conclusion is drawn from the analysis and recommendations on ways in which improvements in innovation can be done in the construction industry are made. INTRODUCTION Innovation involves seeing, understanding and solving different problems in a creative way. This is done by putting together different ideas to come up with a new way of doing things. Different scholars have had their views on what innovation entails. It is important to empirically understand the meaning of innovation and the measures if innovation. The importance of innovation has not been exploited fully because of lack of a proper definition of innovation ( Goswami and Mathew, 2005).

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Innovation is the effort to create a purposeful and focused change in the economic and the social potential of an enterprise. It means taking advantage of the economic and the demographic trends to create something that will have an economic value to the organization (Drucker, 2012). The economic consideration should be at the forefront when putting to use any new idea, especially in the construction industry. The construction industry has experienced growth in different parts of the world including in developing nations. This meant that different opportunities had to be created for the local industries to quick recovery from the recession. The economy improved to an average of rate of 7. from 2010 to 2016 thanks to the improved use of technology to achieve their economic goals (del Mel and Pathmalal, 2009). The construction industry was a major contributor to this improved economic performance.

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The change in circumstances has not meant that the country is utilizing the innovative technologies to the maximum. The results from the questionnaires are stated and discussed in details. Upon establishing the facts, on the barriers to innovation in the construction industry in Sri Lanka, recommendation on how to overcome these challenges is given in this research paper. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES The aims of this research can, therefore, be summarized as • Establish the current practices of innovative technology in the local industries of Sri Lanka. • To analyze the challenges and difficulties faced in adapting the new technologies. • Identify the best practices for the adaptation of new technologies in developing countries such as Sri Lanka. The nature of work in the construction industry in Sri Lanka is repair and maintenance. This has limited the development of innovation in the industry.

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Proper research and development is responsible for the development of technology and innovative ideas used for the past years in the construction industry. On a global scale, most of the developed countries and developing countries are prone to adopt the innovative technologies while the local construction industries interest for the adaptation of these technologies reflects a considerably lower percentage compared to the other countries. The reasons may have an effect on the economic constraints, social economic factors, political agendas and environmental factors involved in the local industry. This can partly be blamed on lack of proper literature on innovation and different innovative ideas. The large firms that carry out innovation, do not document the innovative ideas so that the general public can benefit from the ideas which they have used (Veshosky, 1998).

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Manufacturing companies are in competition and would not like to commercialize the tools they use to stay ahead in the market (Slaughter, 1991). However, following several reasons does provide more sense why there are barriers occurs in the adaptation of construction innovations and technologies. They can be identified as the unwillingness of change, fear of failure, practices based on hiring and relying on sub-contracting, fear for the investment for such innovations based on the less knowledge on maintainers and repairs involved. He urges that benchmarking between different engineers can help in breaking this impasse. The type of client being worked also contributes to the development and use of innovative technology. The knowledge of the client on the importance of using innovative technology would make them be willing to share the risk and make them provide leadership (Nam & Tatum, 1997).

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The better the understanding, the faster the client would be able to approve and facilitate the implementation of innovative ideas. Innovative ideas can be destructive at times. Factors such as the business environment, the business strategy employed, the size of the firm and the level of specialization are some of the factors, which affect the implementation of innovative ideas (Seaden and Manseau, 2001). Small firms that are less specialized are more risk averse and would not like to engage in innovation as compared to large firms. Countries such as Sri Lanka have small construction firms making them least likely to engage in innovation. Most small-sized firms engaged in innovation only have process innovation. The small firms, however, acknowledge that the use of innovation actually provides them with a competitive advantage in the marketplace (Blayse & Manley, 2004).

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Additional costs would also be needed to get new equipment to carry out the same process (Cooper, 1997). The construction companies depend on the technologies supplied to them by the suppliers. The firms do not have the capability but they know how to come up with the design of their own machinery and equipment in the shape in which they need them. Part of the reason is to minimize the costs and maximize the profits (Wrestling, 1991). The regulations from the government have also made it difficult for the development of the construction industry. It is cost effective to reduce the internal factors than external. The stakeholders in the construction industry should be more flexible to come together and do away with the fragmented nature of the industry. This in effect will give life to the existing ideas to thrive.

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Any developed idea can benefit all the members. METHODOLOGY In this literature review, it is considered the main aspects of the process of innovation and its developed characteristics with the use of technologies. The use of these few lists of the technological advances taking attempts to gather information from the industries professionals by using surveys which include the pre-mentioned technologies and questions are made to identify the awareness of these technologies among them. As well as there is a proceeding method involved with this survey to gather information about the scale of the project which the construction company has been involved and are the adopted any technology for their construction works. Previous literature on the based subject is limited in the area of a study carried out, however, there are few types of research been carried out in a global scale, there for those are also been used to analyze and evaluate the final decision of this research (Love and Irani, 2004).

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This research will be done in two ways. The first method would be to conduct a survey of ten construction firms in Sri Lank to establish the position of affairs. There is a revelation that the construction industry in Sri Lanka is male dominated with 76% of the participants being male. There were twenty respondents for the questionnaires most of whom were in top management level in the organization. The respondents were divided such that 70% work at the center of the construction process while the other 30% works as consultants in the construction industry. The percentage of the respondents with less than five years of experience were 61. Those with six to ten years of experience accounted for 15. of the employers had between five to ten years of experience in the industry. of the employers had more than ten years of experience in the industry.

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No respondent operated alone. of them had between eleven to twenty employees. Another 7. Sri Lanka has been known to be the cradle of labor based work (Gunawardena et al;. This method is widely used because of the advantages that come with it. It facilitates the construction making it be finished faster. It makes work on the site to be minimal but also the quality of the work done is high. The offsite method type of method is a way to solve the scarcity in the human resource which has threatened the existence of the construction industry. The use of formworks can work more effectively without dowels. It is easy to install Rebar Copuplers when using ductile bars in elongation. These are some of the advantages the construction industry has gained by sing Rebar Couplers.

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Automatic Plastering Machine reduces waste and increases the speed of construction. It has a constant hydraulic protect machine which enables the machine to work on high-quality walls. A number of reasons are to blame for the slow implementation of new technology. Financial Challenges These are factors that affect the supply of money to the firms in the industry. The trends in the economy of the country such as inflation rates and interest rates affect the ability of the construction companies to have money to use to invest in new technology. The banking sector and other financial institutions have put in place regulations that make it difficult to access credit. There is a strenuous relationship between the banking sector and the construction (Rajakaruna et al. However, the growth of the population and the expansion of the construction have created a new demand for expansion of the technology used in construction.

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Most of these expansions were carried out by foreign companies which have made it difficult for the local industry to cope with the costs and other factors that would facilitate the development of the technology. The respondents attribute this to the "accelerated Mahaweli development programme" which allowed the foreign companies to dominate the market (Karunatilake, 1988). This has been identified as a barrier to the development of technology in Sri Lanka. Management and Coordination The ability to properly manage a project also came out as a factor to affect the level of innovation in the construction industry. The government should provide the funds for such conventions. Resources Inadequate resources to mobilize the resources necessary for the development of technology can be attributed to poor developing innovation in the construction industry in Sri Lanka.

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The most challenging resource to acquire and maintain is the human resource. Most of the laborers are hired to handle a particular project and abandoned after the project completion. This has made the industry to have so many laborers, who are not specialized to handle various tasks. The research was also to establish the challenges to the development of technology in the country. Finally, the survey was to come up with possible suggestions to the country to enhance innovation in the construction industry. The construction industry in Sri Lanka is an old industry with an expansive history back to 2000 years. Over the years, the industry has relied on the use of craft technology. Expansion of the construction called for the development of new technology which led to the use of different forms of technology.

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The age and nature of the construction industry have also contributed to the slow development of technology within the industry. The industry is old and has had the traditional way of doing things. It has become difficult for the new players to leave the conventional ways of carrying out different activities. The procurement of already designed equipment and machinery has made it difficult for companies to change ways of doing projects. The process of construction, therefore, has to be the same so that the equipment is not rendered useless. Away in which there could be financial incentives to different skilled labor to stay in the company would be handy in facilitating the innovation process. The industry players could also coordinate and come up with conventions and discuss ways in which they would improve on the innovation process.

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The clients could assist through the use of predetermined designs which will raise the need for the contractor to acquire the necessary technology for performing that particular construction process. The construction industry in Sri Lanka has the potential to improve on their technology and employ more innovation if the players and the government could work hand in hand to achieve through goodwill to ensure that levels of technology are improved. References Azrenda. Construction innovation, 4(3), pp. COMPTON, W. D. FANJIANG, G. GROSSMAN, J. The visibility of social systems. In For Robert Cooper (pp. Routledge. de Mel, D. and Pathmalal, S. P. and Park, M. A hierarchical structural model of assessing innovation and project performance. Construction Management and Economics, 23(6), pp. Ganesan, S. and Ngo, T. Prefabricated Construction Technologies for the Future of Sri Lanka’s Construction Industry.

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Ivory, C. The cult of customer responsiveness: is design innovation the price of a client‐focused construction industry?. Construction Management and Economics, 23(8), pp. Kulatunga, U. Amaratunga, D. and Haigh, R. Construction innovation: a literature review on current research. Ling, F. W. Social innovation capital. Journal of intellectual capital, 3(1), pp. Hills, M. J. and Tatum, C. B. Leaders and champions for construction innovation, Odeh, A. M. and Battaineh, H. W. C. A. B. Bandara, K. Li-Yung, M. High-performance construction materials: Science and applications. Singapore: World Scientific. Skitmore, M. and Love, P. Analysis of Technique, Applications and Market Potential of Mechanical Coupler System. Retrieved July 8, 2018, from https://www. masterbuilder. co. in/analysis-technique-applications-market-potential-mechanical-coupler-system/ Westling, H. Winch, G. M. How innovative is construction? Comparing aggregated data on construction innovation and other sectors–a case of apples and pears.

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Construction Management and Economics, 21(6), pp.

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