Unravelling the risks of construction digitalisation in developing countries

Douglas Aghimien, Clinton Aigbavboa, Tsholofelo Meno, Matthew Ikuabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aims to present the result of an assessment of the risk of construction digitalisation with a view to sensitising and preparing construction organisations for unforeseen issues that might arise in the course of their digital transformation. Design/methodology/approach: The study took a post-positivist stance through a quantitative research approach. A survey of construction professionals actively involved in construction projects in South Africa was conducted using a structured questionnaire. The analysis of the data gathered was done using mean item scores, Kruskal–Wallis H test, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and structural equation modelling (SEM). Findings: EFA revealed five principal risk factors (human and financial, technological, legal and security, operations and socioeconomic risk factors) associated with the digitalisation of construction organisations. However, SEM revealed that four out of these risk components have significant direct relationships with some selected digitalisation outcomes. These significant risk factors are technology, legal and security issues, operations and socioeconomic issues. Originality/value: This study provides practical insight into the risk inherent in construction digitalisation, and its result can help organisations seeking to be digitally transformed make informed decisions. Theoretically, the study reveals the risks associated with construction digitalisation – an aspect that has not gained significant attention in the current fourth industrial revolution discourse. Therefore, its findings can form a basis for future studies on the risk of digitalising construction organisations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-475
Number of pages20
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Construction industry
  • Digitalisation
  • Fourth industrial revolution
  • Risk assessment/risk management
  • South Africa
  • Structural equation modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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