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Last trends of the AECO sector

What are the Construction Trends driving the AEC industry into the digital age?

Published: 19/10/2021

Country: United States

Change is the only constant in this world.
Every industry, company and individual must evolve according to the changing
requirements if they want to continue to thrive. This holds true for the
construction sector specifically. The construction industry has been
historically very resistant to change. Choosing to use traditional methods of
construction over more easier and convenient digital options. However, the past
decade has also seen the sector take the much needed steps towards
digitization. From minimized changed orders, increased efficiency to improved
ROI and enhanced quality the construction trends are surely going to be

The construction industry could potentially
thrive on technological disruption. These changes are multi-faced and impact
every stage of the construction process whether it is remote work, better
collaboration through digital process, drones and robotics for increased
efficiency, prefabrication, invention of new materials etc. In the current
article we look at the trends that are changing construction industry.

1.       Digital Twin:

Building Information Modeling provides the
AEC professionals all the tools they would need to plan, construct and manage
buildings and structures effectively. A step beyond CAD, the data-rich 3D
models allow the stakeholders to properly visualize how the project will look
like when completed. Its digital collaboration capabilities enable various
project teams to work on a singular model for increased speed. It also connects
BIM team to data in real-time thereby facilitating informed decision making.
Its other key benefit is in the form of its Clash Detection abilities. BIM can
detect any inter or intra-disciplinary clash in the preconstruction stage
itself reducing rework and saving cost, time and resources onsite. Moreover,
the advantages provided by BIM don’t end once the building has been constructed.
As-Built BIM models account for all the changes taken place onsite and provide
a data-rich 3D model which can be crucial for facility management. Similarly,
Scan to BIM can be utilized for renovation, reconstruction, refurbishment etc. 

2.       Prefabrication:

Prefabrication is the process of creating
building or building components in a weather controlled factory location
following which they are transported to be assembled and installed onsite.
Prefabrication is gradually gaining importance in the construction sector as
its time and cost saving advantages become apparent. Prefabrication is
projected to reduce upto 50% of the construction time as it diminishes the
impact of weather and day light on construction schedules. It also allows for
increased use of drones, robotics and construction machinery which augments
precision and allows to drive tighter deadlines. Similarly, it is less costly
to transport partial assemblies from a factory location than it is to move
pre-production resources to site. Moreover, the controlled factory environment
also provides added quality assurance. Utilizing BIM for prefabrication also
has a lot of value. It is possible to extract shop drawings from the BIM model
that ensure accuracy in prefabrication. For instance utilizing MEP Shop Drawing Services allows to
extract shop drawings, fabrication drawings etc. from the clash free BIM model
that ensures MEP components like
HVAC ducts, plumbing pipes, electrical wires etc. which need to be fabricated
are of appropriate dimensions and that they accurately fit onsite.  Finally, accelerated offsite production
reduces reduces emissions, conserves water and allows materials to be easily

3.       Drones:

Drones are today finding their use in many
industries and it is no different in the construction sector. Using drones
provides the project managers with unparalleled record of all construction activities.
It can also be used for survey and monitoring of construction areas especially
in projects which are located at heights, uneven grounds etc. This
significantly reduces risk associated with construction sites. Drones can
directly feed the information that is retrieved from site with regards to
project status, quantities, availability of labour etc. and feed it directly
into the BIM model. This way the BIM model is up to date allowing the cost
managers, project managers and surveyors to stay on top of the project

4.       Immersive Technology:

Immersive Technologies like augmented and
virtual reality are quickly gaining ground in the AEC Sector. Their value is
seen in two ways: effective presentations and training. With virtual and
augmented reality it is possible to create life-like simulations wherein the
client, governmental agency or the investor can with extreme clarity see how
the final design will look like. It is also possible for them to make small
changes for instance in colours, layouts, size etc. to find the best final
design for them. Proper visualization ensures that there is no miscommunication
between the architect, designers and the clients or investors. There is a
clarity of design intent leading to maximum satisfaction. Immersive Technology
can be useful to create simulations of buildings or structures wherein location
of components, clearances etc. are clearly defined. This will be useful to
carry out quick repairing. Similarly, simulations can be created for training
of heavy and risky machinery.

5.       Sustainability and Green
Construction Technology

The construction industry is under
tremendous pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. This means that there needs
to be a change in all stages of construction right from designing to building,
maintenance and demolition. The very methods of digital construction like BIM
significantly reduce waste. Using MEP BIM Services allows to calculate and monitor the MEP systems in terms of
energy consumption, emissions etc. right from the designing stage to facility
management.  Similarly, prefabrication
also goes a long way in enhancing sustainability. Other ways in which
sustainability can be increased is through proper designing, using innovative
materials, using sustainable sources of energy like solar, wind etc. From
construction companies to clients everyone has understood the importance of
green building. In support of the statement, in fact from 2006-2018 the number
of LEED certified projects in US alone saw a rise from 296 to 67,200. Finally,
the other advantages of going green include lower operating costs, improved
health of the occupant, higher occupancy, durability etc.

The construction industry has not been
immune to the changing market requirements or the uncertainties caused due to
the global pandemic. However, It is due to these technological trends and
advancements that the construction industry has managed to survive, if not
thrive in 2020.

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