The AEC industry has benefited from the changes brought about by BIM and virtual design and construction (VDC). Using a 3D model in design and build workflows enables more layers of technology for better communication, better understanding of the design, insights into the trades’ portion of a project, as well as the conflicts that exist.
BIM and VDC have paved the way for other technologies that improve construction. Everyone involved on a project can see what is being built. Reality capture, for instance, establishes what a building is supposed to look like, eliminating all guesswork. It can also help teams confirm that things are being installed the right way. The resulting free flow of information lets workers see and understand the project better.
Upgrading a company’s culture to foster innovation – whether that’s BIM, VDC or something else – involves intentional steps.
For a true culture of innovation, employees need an outlet to express their ideas. They need some latitude to figure out how to get their job done faster or more accurately. An innovative culture gives people a voice and lets them know someone is listening.
What issues do your workers have? Which of their tasks are repetitious? They should be encouraged to offer suggestions. Once you know the challenges, you can analyze the root cause of a problem. Then you can find solutions. Some companies give workers awards if they offer good ideas for solutions. If you highlight the wins, it is sure to lead to more and possibly better ideas.
Find the drivers in your company, those people who are tech savvy and drive innovation forward. Every company has them. Be sure to put their talents to use.
Some ideas or pilot projects will drive technology adoption; some won’t. But it’s only a failure if you stop trying. When you try enough times, you learn what not to do, and you will achieve success eventually. Keep track of your tests. Get honest feedback throughout. Don’t wait until the end for feedback, because people forget or they leave, and valuable insights can get lost.
In the AEC industry, artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest big thing. Regardless of how people feel about it, it is coming.
AI is a tool that enables work to get done faster. It can take work that normally would require days and reduce that to mere hours or minutes. AI reduces the mundane tasks, enabling people to focus more on thinking creatively. It can be used to catch and resolve conflicts, although it’s not foolproof.
AI technology is not yet at the point in AEC where someone can give it a command and have it perform the task with 100% accuracy. Computers still need context, something they must get from an external source. It is widely thought that computers will always need human interactions. Their output must be supervised and checked.
Using AI in conjunction with BIM, the design model provides a central repository for a lot of data that could enable robots to execute work more productively and more safely. In the near future, this is what companies will be able to capitalize on.
Tune in to episode 206 of Bridging the Gap Podcast with guest Hamzah Shanbari to hear more about AEC innovation.