Nine Innovation Barriers in Australian Construction Contracting

Matt Stevens1

1Lecturer, School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment, Western Sydney Univeristy, Penrith, NSW AU, [email protected],


The Australian construction industry ranks below average in intellectual property and software creation value compared to other sectors. The innovation performance of the built environment contractors is well chronicled. Importantly, these organisations have the most time and cost risk of all stakeholders. Therefore, improvements should have significant benefits to them and their customers. However, their innovation efforts face significant economic, regulatory and market barriers that are stubborn. This paper asserts that these sector characteristics slow the creation of novel products, services, and information technology more than most major industries. Overcoming these invention barriers should enable faster innovation and more significant improvement. This paper outlines the nine most significant innovation barriers researched by the author in Australian construction contracting and suggests potential solutions. Addressing the seminal reasons for the lack of invention should decrease the impact of these obstacles leading to a better system and culture of innovation, thereby producing better industry performance. The relationship between construction organisation characteristics and industry innovation is relatively unexplored.


Construction invention, constructor innovation, breakthroughs, system barriers, novel products



Stevens, M. 2022. Nine Innovation Barriers in Australian Construction Contracting , Proc. 30th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) , 25-35.

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