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Digital Construction (electrical)

Industry 4.0 in AEC, means to me a decentralized connection between the physical space and the cyberspace through global connectivity.

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Exchange Information Requirements (EIR) term introduced by BS EN 19650 replace the PAS 1192 term Employer Information Requirements (EIR) on all projects where BS EN ISO 19650 compliance is required.

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The term introduced by ISO 19650 typically describes the Tier 1 Main Contractor.

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breakdown structure to help plan the production of information

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schedule of information containers and delivery dates, for a specific task team

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An MPDT its old PAS 1192 term, the MPDT defines who produces what, when and to what level of detail.

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The future of BIM Managers in the AEC Industry

The future of BIM Manager

The ‘BIM Manager’ role is discussed here in broad terms of management, not confined into a specific BIM role.[1]

The function of BIM Manager already evolved switching from a single source of responsibility to project team ’with no dedicated BIM specific staff member[2] in smaller teams, and BIM specific project member on larger projects, where the role can be utilised to the full extent. Furthermore, centralised resources are being typically used within more diverse companies, where centralised resources are spread across many projects.BIM Manager role does merge with ICT role, this point of view is also supported by Hardin and McColl, who goes on to say that many firms ‘shifted BIM-specific personnel into more general technology personnel ‘ utilising the skills of ‘tech-savvy graduates’, who come in from a variety of backgrounds allowing companywide leadership where the understanding of client needs and trends in order to improve profitability is prioritised, this approach often leads to innovative ways of working and more technological progress.

The Digital Future

BIM and Digital Construction should be considered in broader terms. It should not be looked at as an isolated industry but rather as an industry which is merging and interact with every other industry and discipline without boundaries. The interaction enabler is the development of information technology, allowing unrestricted and instant access to information and real-time analysis of performance, the improved skillset of people in general and easy access to tools and platforms.  

According to THOMPSON[3], there is an increasing trend of students eager to study Computer Science which is the most popular major on Stamford campus, Thompson goes on to say that the demand for coders in almost limitless with the demand being likely to stay high for years, unlike previous booms in the 80s and 90s because of the sheer spread of coding into every industry. Thompson also suggests that every single person, regardless of their profession, should have at least basic coding skills, which will allow improvement of workflows regardless of their field of expertise.

This trend is now supported globally by the educational institutions, where programming is included in the curriculum as early as in primary school. It is inevitable that some of these individuals once graduated will move onto management and construction, reducing the divide between management, design and IT departments even further optimising workflows, and improving productivity.

The future is already here

‘The future is already here — it is just not very evenly distributed. [4]

Gibson’s quote expresses perfectly what is out there and what part of the technology is currently used in the construction industry. Currently, the global trend is to refine current innovations instead of coming up with new, perhaps this is due to the skillset and market drive towards software development and services, rather than manufacturing. Figure one shows a summary of the current technology created by the tech companies, with the construction industry, which is not yet sitting in the inner circle.

In construction except for Large Enterprises, most of Small and Mid-size Enterprises (SMEs) utilise only part of the available technology.

AEC and Industry 4.0

Further integration of BIM data to service-delivery processes will rely on platforms used by the new wave of skilled managers who will combine their coding and managerial skills merged with construction biased engineering knowledge, to innovate and improve existing workflows.  

With the new start-ups continually emerging, and with existing digital tools available, the opportunities are dazzling.

Thanks to one of the organisations we can enjoy instant and almost limitless access to information, instant translation of more than 100 languages. An organisation with a deep respect for data, massive goals and ability to scale. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, known for their data-driven decision making. Number one choice for web search[5]. Google’s technology is used by everyone daily, starting with mobile phones enabled with augmented reality, development of AI and voice recognition for people with voice impairments – Project Euphonia.[6]

With their computation ability, access to relatively cheap digital storage and services like Google Cloud Platform, and the BigQuery web service that enables interactive analysis of massive datasets the platform gives endless opportunities for BIM and Digital Construction

Another example worth noting is a company created by Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon.

Amazon is continually looking for ways to innovate and provide their customers with the cheapest possible prices not only for goods we buy but also services, with their ‘Amazon Web Services (AWS) a secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help businesses scale and grow.[7] The platform is used by many companies, individual developers and large institutions such as NASA. According to Stone[8], Bezos is fascinated by the disruptive technological revolution and in 2013 the company started investing in 3D printing which may lead to another business model change where instead of buying the merchandise from manufacturers, possibly some of the products could be printed in their Fulfilment Centres, allowing even cheaper prices and faster deliveries for Amazon’s clients. Bezos’s goal is to change from everything store company to everything company.

To sum up

I do not speculate what will happen in the future of the construction industry, but rather explore possible outcomes. Globally we are in the so-called fourth industrial revolution. Regardless of what route the industry will take it will evolve, and it will embrace the technology. The new graduates using their software skills merged with the engineering will come up with more automation and more optimised processes specifically designed for construction, bringing a new type of competent worker.

The rate of progress can accelerate if some of the large software enterprises direct their attention to construction, with their financial support, computation ability and analytical power, these giants can aid the industry to find better solutions, improve international standards and most importantly deploy the new, improved structured services to the whole industry on their platforms.

[1]        BSI, “PAS 1192-2:2013,” no. 1, p. 54, 2013, doi: Published by the British Standard Institute. British Standard Limited. ISSN9780580781360. /BIM TASK GROUP.

[2]        B. Hardin and D. McCool, BIM and construction management : proven tools, methods, and workflows, Second Edition. Indiana: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2015.

[3]        CLIVE. THOMPSON, CODERS : who they are, what they think and how they are changing the world. PICADOR, 2019.

[4]        W. Gibson, “Talk of the Nation, NPR,” 1999.

[5]        Steven. Levy, In the plex : how Google thinks, works, and shapes our lives. Simon & Schuster, 2011.

[6]        J. Vincent, “Project Euphonia,” 2019. (accessed Oct. 19, 2019).

[7]        “What is AWS and What can you do with it.” (accessed Oct. 17, 2019).

[8]        B. Stone, The everything store : Jeff Bezos and the age of Amazon. Bantam Press, 2013.

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