We have all been patting ourselves on the back for the last few months in the construction industry.
We were set the challenge to be BIM Level 2-compliant by April 2016. We did it. Aren’t we fantastic.
If I look back to the opportunity digital construction presented 10-15 years ago, we have come a long way. At the time there were a few in our industry who were seen as mavericks – at least, that’s what we thought we were.
Most just saw us as irritating geeks, and thought this BIM stuff was another fad. We now all know it wasn’t, and today our sector sets the pace around the world.
The road after Rio
However, like winning a gold at the Olympics, celebrations only last for a short while before thoughts need to move to the next competition.
We do have a lot to be proud of in UK construction; we have come a long way and without doubt everyone is on board. The industry has never been as collaborative and connected. Nevertheless, there is a risk that a deadline can create a situation where some may think the work is done and that we can simply get back to normal.
“We have won the gold medal but we now need to be pressing on towards the next Games”
Construction remains years behind all other industries. While we have been catching up, other sectors have continued to move further ahead.
The industry is changing, making it an attractive sector for young talent. We are attracting a good proportion of Generation Y who are attracted by the digital framework. However, we have moved beyond the digital age and into the information age. We should look beyond the internet of things and think about the impact of the internet of everything.
AI and the future of data
The past 5-10 years have represented a steep learning curve, but we must ensure the momentum keeps going. We have won the gold medal but we now need to be pressing on towards the next Games.
Discussion has moved beyond models to data, even though we are still not sure how this will be used. We are accustomed to authoring software, but now there is an opportunity to use information intelligently.
“The move to Level 2 feels linear five years on. We are now a sector ready to push even further to augmented construction”
It is not only the design process which can collect useful data; there is information that can be used from procurement, construction or operation. There is so much opportunity with this information, as artificial intelligence technology continues to develop.
There has already been some interesting research undertaken on AI in design, and the opportunities in this area stretch into construction and operation. Linking programmes to purchasing, delivery and installation would deliver greater efficiency. Linking energy use to occupancy and the weather provides additional opportunity.
The move to Level 2 feels linear five years on. We are now a sector ready to push even further into augmented construction.
As we move into the information age, huge opportunities remain for using our information to provide better value for building owners and operators.
Rob Charlton is CEO of Space Group and founder of The Real BIM Show Live