The Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) undergoes massive transformations through the influence of its socio-political environment and digital economy. Digital economy becomes increasingly topical in the AEC since skills shortage on construction sites and estates offices is growing and recent restrictions in the movement of workers (see Brexit) continue the traditional overreliance on people’s judgement and experience, without leveraging technology and data.
In our technology-laden world, various opportunities arise from novel ways to capture, clean, analyse and visualise a wealth of data, previously not tamed. Digital technologies and the pervasiveness of data create new opportunities and challenges in AEC projects, especially in information sharing, decision-making and knowledge management. From these, many proprietary solutions promise to provide quick, ‘hands-off’ and off-the-shelf answers to persistent problems such as low efficiency, productivity and poor quality. However, the complexity of data and AEC projects have shown that quick and off-the-shelf solutions, such as the promise of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for the AEC rarely work on their own.
Instead, as digital technologies continuously evolve and become more integrated, there is a need to push the boundaries of BIM especially during project execution and hand-over phases – the less digitised phases of AEC – ensuring a meaningful digital thread, supported by automation and machine learning.