The construction industry is increasingly adopting digital practices to improve processes and efficiency. Although they lack technological development compared to other sectors, they are making efforts towards becoming a more innovative, efficient sector by implementing various technologies onto the construction sites. The ASHVIN project aims to take this one step further through the implementation of sensors across its demonstration sites. Its measurements can, with the help of IoT (‘Internet of Things’) and digital twin technology, help make the sector more productive and efficient, while reducing costs. However, these technologies also have the potential to impact workers’ privacy and freedom within the workplace. Therefore, it becomes important to understand how the various stakeholders within the project make sense of these sensors and technologies to ensure a safe but privacy friendly workplace. This research addressed these issues by holding qualitative, in-depth interviews with various stakeholders within ASHVIN, together with the analysis of meeting minutes consisting of important discussions and decision-making processes. A thematic analysis of the interviews and meeting minutes was conducted. It was found that individuals discuss technologies in their workplace as a positive asset, as well as seeing no inherent issues with it. Technologies were also seen as contributing to an overall promising future with technological innovation at the forefront. Furthermore, sensors and technologies were seen to have surveillant properties in terms of monitoring practices and risks, as well as safety aspects. How employees working among the technologies were (or were not) informed was discussed through a construction worker perspective, as well as an overall level of awareness. Lastly, different contextual values associated with the technologies implemented were discussed, such as privacy and security. Overall, positive attitudes towards technologies and sensors were found and less attention given to its risks and privacy and security implications. Furthermore, privacy is often seen as a ‘box to be ticked’, rather than seeing the benefits associated with it. More attention should be paid to this, as well as aspects related to safety, privacy, and security in general.

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Jorge Pereira Campos
Digitalisation, Surveillance & Societies
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Carola Weijers. (2022, July 25). Technological development in the construction industry An empirical study on sense-making processes of stakeholders in the construction sector. Digitalisation, Surveillance & Societies. Retrieved from