We are currently in an era of rapid technological development and convergence. Computers have become more accessible, faster and more intelligent, hardware is getting cheaper and sources of data are getting more abundant. Amidst this acceleration, there is a growing expectation that technology will help us solve our most difficult problems.
The impact of technological innovation has influenced different industries at different levels. Hotels, financial services, retail and transportation have been completely transformed, however, in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries the adoption of new technologies has been much slower.
The reasons for this slow adoption are complex and multi layered, however one of these is that constructing a building is a collaborative effort between numerous companies each representing separate expertise including design, architecture, building services, engineering, surveying and compliance. It’s evident that technology will bring efficiency to everyone’s workflow but who will lead the charge? And how will they convince others to rethink their traditional approach.
Technology needs to be simple, elegant and effective. For impactful adoption at scale, the effectiveness that technology offers needs to bring more than just a slight improvement to the status quo - it needs to make business operations a lot better and drive efficiencies that are visible to all parties. For measurable and meaningful impact, the adoption of technologies and their workflows needs to be embraced by all parties involved, from the clients, designers and consultants to fabricators and installers. Everyone needs to be brought on the ride!
The most apparent area of digital transformation in the AEC industry is in the utilisation of digital modelling to not only conceptualize, detail and communicate a building’s design, but also in combining digital geometry with data; most commonly referred to as BIM - Building Information Modelling / Management. In its simplest form BIM = Digital components (eg. walls, columns, windows) + information about the component.
The term and practise of BIM has been around for a long time, however its effectiveness in the wider AEC industry is still being proved. Why is this? Again, the problem is multi layered, however one influential reason is the way BIM work is integrated into practises and how the wider community of the practise interfaces with it.
Generally, large projects will have a BIM manager who aggregates the work of several BIM coordinators, modellers & technicians. These BIM teams are regularly structured as separate divisions to the wider project team. This sense of division often creates a lack of visibility into their processes and as a result many members of the project team have no idea what the BIM team do, let alone how their technical skills and the wealth of data that rests in the digital model can be leveraged to help them do their job better.
In our opinion BIM is an antiquated term. It would be better described simply as Digital Modelling. The landscape of tools and workflows that span from Digital modelling implemented in practises today is truly remarkable! At the cutting edge we see parametric design, digital twins, virtual and augmented reality - to name a few. However, if we do not focus more on how these amazing innovations interface with the wider AEC community then our technological adoption will continue to weaken. As a sector we will not only see smart, motivated people of a younger generation choose other more technologically interesting industries, but we will also be losing a huge amount of potential value and efficiencies that we could be delivering to our customers, clients and society as a whole.
If you’d like to learn more about how Voxell can help with the design, resource consent, or delivery of your property development projects, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org