To meet the new challenges of large-scale multi-billion-dollar programs, AEC firms are increasingly required to provide comprehensive program management support and advisory services that often go beyond the technical expertise of their designers and program managers.
Due to the digital era we currently live in, clients constantly expect innovative platforms and advanced technological tools to be part of the standard services provided by AEC firms, regardless of their size or area of expertise. The reality is that only a few firms in the industry are currently prepared to respond to these expectations and understand the competitive advantage possible by leveraging AEC digital platforms.
Significant capital investment as well as specific tech teams and talents are required to develop new digital platforms adaptable to the Engineering and Construction industry. While the need for a holistic technological revolution of traditional Architecture and Engineering is regularly highlighted in research studies, our Building Design Experts community is working on initiatives that can help smaller-size companies get access to these new innovations at a minimal capital cost.
Rise of the platform era: The next chapter in construction technology (McKinsey)
McKinsey has published a thorough report and article outlining how the AEC industry is shifting toward integrated software platforms that better serve customer needs. The article can be found here: The next chapter in construction technology | McKinsey
The article summarizes a broad and significant research study on approximately 2,400 firms to identify the most promising clusters of digital innovation that could greatly benefit the construction industry, but also the engineering and architecture disciplines.
This graph is a fantastic resource for AEC firms of all sizes and types to identify potential opportunities for them to develop customer-centered / problem resolution-focused services and implement new digital tools to improve their service quality and increase the overall client’s satisfaction. Clients are increasingly demanding innovative technologies and tools which help expedite the design process, minimize risk, enhance visualizations and predict key project related metrics – so what are we waiting for? Lets discuss the advent of AEC digital platforms.
Distinctive Point Solutions and Platform Solutions
While the McKinsey article recognizes the predominance of large AEC players in the digital transformation of our industry, it does discuss smaller scale solutions and initiatives accessible to most firms regardless of size:
1. BIM and electronic documents management
“Capitalize on continued growth and penetration of mature solutions. Technologies such as building-information modeling (BIM) and electronic document management are nearly ubiquitous among major firms. But there are still opportunities to tailor solutions and build scale with smaller subcontractors and other market players, such as those in building materials–delivery tracking. The growth of platforms is not likely to reduce the need for these foundational technologies.”
“There are major opportunities for the tech industry in cutting edge robotics apps for repetitive construction tasks such as brick laying, road paving, lumber cutting to standardized dimensions, and 3-D printing of building materials. These apps enable onsite fabrication and more complex assemblies.”
3. Data-quality management and simple supporting solutions
“As hardware and software volume and diversity continue to increase on job sites, there will be a corresponding need for supporting solutions. Construction-drone and electric-vehicle docking, wireless-internet backbone connectivity to support Internet of Things–enabled devices, information security, data- quality management, and data architecture are all examples of where investments in IT infrastructure can help capture opportunities from these technologies.”
4. Digitized payments
“The vast majority of construction industry payments are made by paper ticket. Offerings that increase technology penetration in the payments space, particularly with small- to medium-size businesses, will become increasingly critical to enable the full digitization of the construction industry value chain. Tools for processes, such as quote-to-cash and procure-to-pay, will enable broader data visibility across the value chain and free up working capital for contractors, suppliers, and owners alike.”
A First Example from our Community: Design Program Management Platform for Airport Master Planning & Infrastructure Development – In partnership with DY Consultants
To respond to an increased need for comprehensive and effective program management solutions, Building Design Experts and DY Consultants have created a collaborative and interactive Design Program Management Platform, the first of many AEC digital platforms that can be shared with any architecture, engineering, construction firms on the project, including the end client. The platform combines in one user-friendly and intuitive graphical interface all the projects’ assumptions, metrics and parameters that will be involved as part of the Airport Infrastructure Master Plan and Program Implementation Plan.
In practice, at the inception of the project, the research & development team will entirely customize the platform to meet any program and clients technical requirements, including which functions and dashboards will be accessible to each user. The overall structure was developed around the following modules, dashboards, functions and capabilities, and can be modified/adjusted as needed to better fit any Building Design Project needs:
Module #A: Strategy Objectives and Master Plan Implementation
Airport Users Traffic Forecast vs. Systems Capacity
Airport Vision and Master Plan Objectives Implementation
Real Estate/Properties Management
Module #B: Program Controls and Cost/Budget Management
Financial and Capital Planning
Project Cost/Budget Management
Staffing Resources Management and Support Services
Module #C: Projects Delivery and Issues Tracker
Project Schedules and Dependencies
Project Progress, Interdependencies and Status Reporting
Issues Tracking and Resolution Plan
All these functions are 100% customizable and can be changed at any time during the project. This platform will be a key tool for the Project Team to ensure a successful program implementation from the Master Plan programming exercise to the management and control of individual project progress, and all the way to the construction and turnover of projects. The dashboards are user-friendly and scalable for short-, mid- or long-term projects or even single work/task orders and require minimum staff training.
Due to the R&D Team’s experience and specialization in building design architecture, engineering and construction, the platform can be fully integrated with any other existing software in the Industry such as eBuilder, Primavera, ProCore, Jira, Aconex, BIM, SharePoint…
For any questions about the subject matter in this article, please feel free to contact Saurabh Govekar at DY Consultants (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Denis Verdier at Building Design Experts (email@example.com).
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