Cybersecurity, cost overruns named top concerns in commercial construction – QBE North America

Insurer's risk report reveals the industry's most significant challenges

Cybersecurity, cost overruns named top concerns in commercial construction – QBE North America

Construction & Engineering

By Terry Gangcuangco

QBE North America has released its 2024 Commercial Construction Risk Report, detailing key threats and new challenges in the commercial construction sector.

Forty-two percent of participants marked cybersecurity as the top concern, followed closely by worries about cost overruns at 35%, high interest rates at 33%, and labor shortages and potential economic downturns at 28%. These risks were also where participants felt most vulnerable and underprepared.

According to the report, respondents primarily blame high interest rates and owner contract disputes (both at 40%) for cost overruns.

At the same time, as cyber threats become more prevalent, the industry is adopting new technology to enhance safety, quality of work, as well as collaboration and efficiency. However, addressing cyber vulnerabilities remains a critical need.

The survey also found a severe impact from the ongoing labor shortage across various trades, compounded by an aging workforce and a widening skills gap. The shortage is a concern for work quality and safety as inexperienced workers join the workforce.

Nearly half or 49% of the respondents indicated plans to enhance their safety plans over the next 12 months, acknowledging the need for higher quality and more frequent risk management training.

The study surveyed 500 commercial general contractors and construction managers in the US.

Ryan Powers (pictured), senior vice president and head of construction at QBE North America, highlighted the purpose of their analysis: “Our goal was to identify and evaluate the primary risks threatening the success of commercial construction projects. Through this report, we aim to highlight these critical concerns and examine the industry’s level of preparedness in mitigating these key risks.

 “There are a multitude of risks confronting the commercial construction industry, with new challenges emerging. Mitigating the potential impact of these risks requires an ongoing commitment and proactive measures to ensure a more efficient, safer, and resilient future."

The poll, conducted by Wakefield Research, involved participants from companies with a minimum annual revenue of $20 million. The report can be accessed here.

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