Feb 04 2014

Key issues that will influence the AEC industry in 2014

2014 roadmapWith 2014 well underway, it’s timely to preview the topics that we expect to dominate the conversation in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries this year.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) as a facet of Infrastructure Lifecycle Management

BIM has been the main topic of conversation for everyone associated to the AEC marketplace in the UK for the last few years, and we have blogged about it frequently (see blog BIM: Not just building information – business intelligence too’). We do not see that changing in 2014 but we do expect greater interest in the wider aspects of asset and infrastructure lifecycle management (ILM), and how these may be affected by BIM.

The initial challenges, presented by projects wishing to work with BIM, of sharing multiple large model files in a controlled and auditable manner returned us to the early days of project extranets in 2000 where the requirement was all around sharing files. Connectivity has improved dramatically but so now have file sizes.

In 2014 BIM will be about more than visualisation. Contracting organisations will be seeking methods of applying sensible and workable project controls during the design and construction phase to ensure they are able to assemble comprehensive, compliant datasets that meet their clients’ needs. Client organisations will be looking at ways of leveraging the data provided to gain efficiencies in the operational phase of their asset’s lifecycle. These are not new challenges but BIM is now providing the opportunities for organisations to truly benefit from its efficient, effective use in buildings once they are completed.

Software vendors will need to follow suit and ensure that the data can pass through each phase of the infrastructure lifecycle as seamlessly as possible.

Mobile/ field working

Mobile or field working is becoming a way of life for many people, and the construction industry has come around to the view that iPads and other tablets are useful productivity tools. We are seeing strong demand for applications that are accessible on site for quality and inspection type tasks.

Through 2014 we expect to see this demand increase with organisations seeking mobile working software applications that work across any platform, that have offline capabilities and that have the functionality to support a wider range of operational processes such as commissioning, Health & Safety auditing and change control.

Intelligent data, not just ‘big data’

BIM and mobile working lead to another hot topic. ‘Big Data’ is a buzzword in most industries due to the exponential annual growth in data stored electronically. In 2014 the focus will increasingly be on how the industry manages and uses this wealth of data. With the ever-present need to deliver a project on time and within budget, turning data into insights that for example assist the management and reporting of time and money aspects of capital projects (see blog  ‘EVM explained’).

That’s our view, have your say in the comments below.

About the author

Duncan Kneller

Duncan Kneller is director of sales at Conject. He joined the company in 2000 and quickly established himself as a key sales and account manager, before taking on the sales director role in 2011. Duncan has also spearheaded the company's cycling fund-raising events in recent years.

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