It’s 2023, and we are solidly in the “Age of Information” for architecture, engineering, and construction. Innovations, like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and artificial intelligence, continue to improve, providing more and more benefits to our field.
However, the industry isn’t necessarily quick to adapt. A recent McKinsey report described the AEC industry as making progress at a “glacial pace.” It’s not that we aren’t developing the tools and technologies—it’s that we’re hesitant to put them to work.
Working on the cutting-edge of building technology at cove.tool, I’ve seen firsthand how embracing modern solutions can improve building projects for all stakeholders and, perhaps most importantly, create a pathway for the next generation to join the profession.
A former boss of mine used to say, “there is profit being made in inefficiency,” and that’s stuck with me ever since. It sounds like an oxymoron—more efficient building processes save stakeholders time and, thus, lots of money, right? That’s true, but there are also those who may stand to benefit from using legacy technology.
For example, at an old job, one of my tasks was to count toilets and doors within digital plans. For hours at a time, I’d go through the pages and highlight each one. I was getting paid for something that, today, a computer can accomplish in a fraction of the time—I was profiting from the inefficiency.
Now, computers do have that job. But I didn’t lose mine—instead, technology allows me to put my time and labor into the tasks that rely on my education and human insight.
Access to data and technology is, at its core, access to transparency. This visibility reveals clear inefficiencies. Data transparency also helps all participants in a project align on costs.
As supply chains continue to shift, so do costs, and teams need to be able to share that information with each other. With transparent data, this information can be communicated easily, helping teams plan mitigation tactics ahead of time and better adapt on the fly as needed.
THE NEXT GENERATION
One of the other major ways living in the Age of Information benefits AEC professionals is via the transfer of information. This is especially critical now because rather than replacing human jobs, technological advances in AEC have simply created new ones, and we’re running low on skilled labor to fill them.
More and more professionals are reaching retirement and leaving with the knowledge they’ve gained over their years in the field, and there aren’t as many people entering to take their place. We’ve got to build and train the next generation of AEC professionals—and once again, technology offers a solution.
In the past, training often happened on-site and on the job. While there’s still a lot best learned by doing, people new to the field can now complete training programs online before they begin working, saving time on-site and allowing seasoned experts to pass down their knowledge.
BIM is another tool that’s made entry into the AEC profession easier than ever. Working with advanced tools is no longer limited to those who earn a college degree; because technology is so much more accessible, students can enroll in vocational education or apprenticeship programs to pursue careers in drafting or modeling.
With these tech-powered training programs, we can encourage more young people to join the building design and construction field, facilitating better infrastructure growth for years to come.
About the Author:
Patricia Kusumadjaja, CEP, Assoc. AIA, is the virtual design and construction director at cove.tool, a leading provider of building design and construction software. She has more than 8 years of experience working in the AEC industry, namely in architectural cost estimating, VDC, and project delivery. She strives to make a difference in the way owners, construction and architectural professionals view high-performance design, with the hope that sustainability and environmental consciousness becomes a non-negotiable priority in all future building design and construction.
Modern Contractor Solutions, May 2023
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