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Digital transformation within AEC

Digital transformation within AEC. When did it happen?

The 70s. Slide rule to Calculator?
The 80s. Drawing board to Digitizers?
The 90s. Paper to Printers
The 2000s. Electronic distribution and sharing
2010 onward. Building Information Modelling, virtual reality, holograms and Construction 3D printing.

Whenever it occurred, it has all compounded to form the AEC industry of today.

Challenges and changes?

Radical transformation would always prove difficult and costly but with many moving parts within companies, industries, suppliers within the AEC industry, incremental change will and is happening across the globe at differing rates.

Some may argue that it is disruptive, but is it really any different to the norm of constant improvement within an organisation year on year? Working collaboratively, learning and sharing with partners and clients in a productive way to get that competitive edge, faster turn arounds and be more profitable?

The largest challenge typically is that of the mindset, fear of the unknown. Fear of change.
The challenge is to drive change across the business by challenging oneself and staff.  This requires constant re-education of staff to introduce them to the new technologies.


There are many benefits when it comes to “Big Data” or “Digital engineering” within an organisation.

From a developer/government perspective the range of benefits can be,

– Linked asset registers
– Real time performance monitoring
– Sales and marketing visuals

From a Contractors perspective.

– Construction and temporary works planning
– Health, safety and public liability mitigation
– BOQ and costing

From an Architect or Engineers perspective

– Verifying spatial concepts so as to push new boundaries with respect to design
– Better coordination and accuracy
– Clear accountability

Future of digitalisation within the construction industry?

As every industry grows and becomes more digital, new ideas will emerge, linkages formed and new industries created. Some positions will fall by the wayside. New types of employment opportunities will however emerge. Where will it all end up?

In the short term, there is a growing list of new services offered that can be offered by AEC consultants and contractors. The role of the digital engineer is emerging.

Alternative partnerships will be created – with cross between the generation of engineers and developers and other industries willing to embrace change.

Long term, Robotic printed buildings on Mars from inhaled space dust… Buildings that can repair themselves.