ON THE face of it, it looks like good news. A survey for the Building Centre Trust, launched this week, shows that the industry has definitely been investing in IT.
From the 403 people interviewed, 86 per cent had their own computer and 97 per cent had access to e-mail.
But the problem is they are not using it properly in the part of the business where it really matters - on projects. The report reveals that although most documents are prepared on computer, they are distributed and stored as paper. Companies communicate internally electronically, but between project member firms, it's back to paper.
People have lots of excuses for this failure to really exploit IT. But surely, in an industry where problem solving and innovation are an everyday necessity, the possibilities IT offers must be embraced? It can't be that those brains which fine-tune programmes to meet impossible deadlines, which plan city centre deliveries with military precision, find IT issues too complex to deal with.
Of course they don't. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the main problem is not that people aren't interested, they just don't have time. The pressures of getting the job done means there is no time for getting it done better.
But time and money invested in training our managers and engineer will pay dividends later. After all, it won't be long before IT skills become a condition of contract.
So the question is not whether we can afford to invest in IT training. It is can we afford not to?