• Kiran Nair

Top 10 Construction Trends In 2020 - Transforming The AEC Industry

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

Change is inevitable; growth is unpredictable. Like every industry AEC too is getting swamped by the evolving times of technology. From having collaboration among different stakeholders on a construction project to creating 3D walk-throughs of the site before constructing it, there are multiple trends that the BIM services professional needs to look out and take advantage of. These construction trends will change the working mechanism of everyone involved in the AEC realm be it in the construction arena, field of engineering, or the one belonging to an architectural domain.

While the AEC industry is growing radically year after year, it is important to be knowledgeable and adapt to the current trends to be in line with the growth speed apart from making the overall industry more efficient and healthier. BIM, Virtual Reality, and Cloud technology are some of the construction trends worth taking note of.

Construction Site
Image by Michael Gaida from Pixabay

Top trends in construction that are popular in the AEC industry are:

  1. Cloud Space: While cloud technology has been accepted globally by many industries it is now that the AEC industry is adapting too. From being an ardent user of traditional CAD software there is a switch to Cloud CAD and BIM technology which is cultivating this new trend. This removes the need for having the physical installation, thereby making it faster and cheaper. The overall Software and infrastructure cost of the project reduces big time. For architects and contractors, this cloud solution is the need of the hour for providing perfect solutions and effortless collaboration, communication, and information sharing. Cloud technology is here to stay and is seeing drastic acceptance in this industry in times like now.

  2. Building Information Modelling (BIM): The bim modeling process is for creating and managing information throughout the lifecycle of a construction project and this smart technology has been widely accepted by architects, engineers, and construction professionals. BIM allows planning, designing, constructing, and managing a building infrastructure efficiently by duly involving every stakeholder in the entire process. By switching to bim modeling services, companies have realized the benefit it brings in terms of time, money, and overall labor efficiency for the project. Combined with several other technologies like virtual reality and robotics, BIM will become much more important in times to come.

  3. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality: VR and AR are seeing momentum in several industries in recent times and the construction industry is no exception. With structures and buildings becoming much more complicated and detailed they come to rescue architects and construction teams in improvising the designing and identifying errors if any. Interactive design and gesture interfacing greatly enhance the building design, for example identifying the missing element or an error in the MEP fabrication. Virtual and Augmented reality would be used in the construction domain for innovating BIM visualization, bring walkthroughs, 3D modeling, or exploring the design before the construction begins.

  4. 3D Printing and Modelling: The scope of 3D modeling and printing cannot be missed in the AEC industry. The three-dimensional modeling software saw its growth much faster due to the impact it generated on the marketing campaigns. Software like AutoCAD Revit brings about 3D visualization easily for a construction project which was not possible with 2D models earlier. When BIM consulting services are integrated with 3D Printing and Modelling, one can visualize, if the planned idea of architects will work out and bring the desired result. 3D printing, an extension of 3D modeling creates the 3D format digitally, which is to say its application would be prototypes of mechanical or architectural elements that will keep the digital project in physical format too.

  5. Modularization and Prefabrication: When we talk about the AEC industry, modularization and prefabrication buildings is the first thing that now comes to mind and has become one of the key elements of this industry. This idea became popular due to being the perfect fit for low budget projects which had time constraints. It promises faster on-site assembly and standardized higher quality builds. With advanced high-tech design and construction methodologies, a greater number of components would be easily manufactured off-site, with minimal material wastage. To board this concept developers are coming up with their factories on one side and architects are being more progressive with their designing aspect on the other side. In upcoming years, it would be impossible to achieve the perfect construction project without modularization.

  6. Digital Twins: This is a digital replica of the infrastructure build that will enable visualization of the asset throughout the lifecycle of the project. It helps analyze the performance and tracks changes to optimize the overall performance of the asset. They form the backbone for a lot of decision-making processes for any construction project. While technological advancements are stimulating innovation in the field of BIM and pushing its usage in construction projects, soon it is Digital Twins which will gain widespread momentum to bring about more immersive experiences for the client. Integrating BIM Services with digital twins and other advancements like cloud technology augmented reality, and drones, BIM can be unleashed in its full potential to add value to the AEC industry.

  7. Exoskeleton: This is the emerging tech trend in the construction industry that helps workers carry more load than their body capacity along with increasing their safety during on-site construction work. Exoskeletons will drastically improve the bottom line for construction companies by reducing the total number of workers required on-site in addition to reducing the man-hours lost due to human injuries. While exoskeletons are gaining more acceptance, they might lose it to robots and 3D printing alternatives as they are still dependent on human operation. But they might still be the perfect compromise between the labor unions who would try to protect their member’s jobs from being lost.

  8. Robots: This trend is more fascinating to note as traditionally the construction industry saw very minute things in terms of automation and relied greatly on manual intervention. While entering the path of automation, robotics is the new thing that is gaining momentum in construction sites. From laying roads to robotic bricklayers’ robots are penetrating the workforce on-site. By integrating robots among the workforce while executing the construction projects we are observing improved timeliness and greater quality of the infrastructure being build. Apart from aiding in building the infrastructure the robot technology is even being used to demolish the building. While robot adaption for demolishing a structure is slower, it has proven to be safer and cheaper when it comes to bringing down a concrete structure at the end of its life cycle. In addition to this, they are also being developed and programmed to aid with some building maintenance aspect like that of window cleaning. Having seen the impact of robots in the construction industry they are yet to infiltrate the industry significantly and in ‘Covid-19’ times like now they might gain more traction.

  9. Artificial Intelligence: AI is turning construction into ‘artificial construction’ which will bring about real-time virtual reality models and reduce the overall errors. Today a lot more data is being first collected at the construction site and Artificial Intelligence is brought to use to seep through the noise in Big Data and escape the key issues for our customers. AI technologies like machine learning, image, and object recognition are being used in construction modeling workflows. With such technology a simple phone taken image uploaded on the cloud can be used to analyze the building material, height of the building, type of roof, etc. and all such data will guide us to progress ahead in the project and its decision making.

  10. Green and sustainable technology: For many years Building regulations and Governments are emphasizing building design and construction which reduces its impact on the environment and increases overall sustainability. Such a demand would increase more and more in the coming years. Reducing wastage of material, recycling old material, optimizing energy efficiency, and low to zero carbon emission will be the driving force for building construction and design for years to come.

If companies providing bim outsourcing services can adapt and be in-line by integrating some of the updated trends in Architectural BIM Services, 3D Modelling, and Printing, and Digital Twins to bring about green and sustainable technology the overall construction project will not only become efficient but improvise the overall productivity of the AEC industry on the whole.

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