TECHNOLOGY GROWS IN DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION
By Kevin Smith
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Technology is changing the face of construction and the process is constantly evolving. A new survey from ARC Document Solutions reveals participants’ views on emerging technologies in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
QCan you talk a bit about how virtual reality figuresinto things these days?
A Virtual reality in the construction industry is characterized by the creation and use of three-dimensional computerized modeling. Such models are used to facilitate project management, detect problems before actual construction occurs, design workflow sequencing and to improve client interactions. Nearly 60 percent those surveyed said that virtual reality makes projects easier to visualize. Others say projects will be completed faster (48.3 percent), they will require fewer workers (42.2 percent) and they will require lessmaterial (40.8 percent).
QWhat about drones? Are they being used much?
A Well, 61.9 percent of the respondents surveyed identified the use of drones as a top trend. They cited the growing use of drones for surveying and for photo and video documentation. More than 60 percent (60.5 percent, specifically) recognized drones’ ability to help withmapping and surveying, inspection and creating image-based records as their primary benefits. Close to half (49.7 percent) of the participants named improved surveillance and safety as the top benefit of drone use by AEC professionals. Most AEC professionals predicted that the adoption of these new virtual reality and drone technologies will occur in the near future, with 64 percent stating that they are likely to be in common use within the next five to 10 years.
Q It seems that more and more things are being done online as opposed to using paper. Where is that headed?
A The survey findings indicate that the future of the AEC industry will also be characterized by the absence of paper (38.1 percent) and the use of virtual technology to address not only two-dimensional drawing and three-dimensional modeling but also for project sequencing, cost estimating, sustainability and facilities management, often referred to as a “7D” building process. While technology clearly has a dominant role in industry trends, only 4.8 percent of participants predicted that robots willreplace workers in the future.
QAre there advantages to goingpaperless?
A It is widely believed that removing paper in the industry will help diminish project over-runs. This was confirmed by survey respondents, who noted several beneficial results of reducing paper use, including better communication between workers (58.5 percent), outdated data will no longer be shared (55.8 percent) and changes will be easier to see as they are made(54.4percent).
Q It seems like we’re hearing more and more about the “Internet of Things,” or IoT. Can you talk about how that mightapply?
A The AEC industry will also see increased use of IoT.
According to ARC’s survey, the top benefit of IoT (defined as a network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity) will be to enable the collection and exchange of data on a job site. It will help industry professionals by improving onsite/offsite equipment management (68.8 percent), pinpointing the reason behind a delay (50 percent) and by giving clear indicators of aproject delay (31.3 percent).
ARC Document Solutions a document and information management solutions provider for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
“Nearly 60 percent those surveyed said that virtual reality makes projects easier to visualize.”
— ARC Document Solutions survey
Technology is playing an increasing role in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. A new survey reveals how technologies are being used.
STAFF FILE PHOTO