2019 showcased a variety of innovative solutions for The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, including upgrades to technology and supply routes. As we begin the new year, let’s take a look at the emerging trends that will likely be crucial to the advancement of the AEC industry in 2020. Keeping on top of trends can help you prepare for the future.
Trends We Can Expect In The AEC Industry This Year
1. Improved Construction Management Software
While the AEC industry may not always have been the first to adopt technology in years past, there have been major advances in construction project management software, with it quickly becoming more advanced and increasingly easy to integrate into new projects.
These innovative technologies can bundle scheduling, project management, as well as enhanced timekeeping to promote efficient work scheduling in construction.
2. Focus On Sustainability and Green Technology
AEC industries are now recognizing the need for a carbon-neutral footprint. Sustainability is now a crucial aspect of most methods and business models and the AEC industry is no different.
Sustainable design, engineering, and construction involve the preservation of the environment as well as the effective and efficient usage of resources. This involves utilizing green methods such as designing buildings using the natural light available, and minimizing electrical costs, amongst others.
On the whole, the biggest trend shaping the AEC industry is the shift towards fully green processes. This involves the project in its entirety, beginning when work commences, involving every aspect including designing, engineering, and constructing an entire building to be energy-efficient, cost-effective and have a low carbon footprint.
With the construction industry accounting for around 20% of global emissions, building in a manner that is sustainable and doesn’t cost the earth is a win for all.
3. Modular and Prefabricated Construction
Another key trend is the rising popularity of modular and prefabricated construction projects: a new approach that can mass produce repetitive structures. Cookie-cut structures such as hotels, office buildings, apartments, and commercial buildings are, therefore, ideal for modular and prefabricated buildings.
Prefabricated and modular construction is becoming more popular due to the significant energy and cost savings. In modular construction units are built off-site, removing some of the conventional barriers to construction, including limited working hours or bad weather conditions. The units also recycle unused or excess materials, ensuring minimal waste while creating a more sustainable structure.
4. Building Information Modelling
Better known as BIM, this approach helps teams involved in the construction process to visualize a project in its entirety.
Aspects such as roads, buildings, and utilities are displayed in computer-generated image models. The generated model helps architects, engineers, and contractors visualize the construction process before commencing, as well as to see how the building will hold up over time. Overall it reduces wasted labor, time, and materials used on the project.
Technological advancements in the AEC industry are not limited to software. Trends in 2019 showed that drone usage is becoming increasingly popular, as this technology becomes affordable. We expect this to continue into the new decade with development on the rise.
Drones are now being used to survey job sites, helping to increase accuracy and ensuring workers are kept safe at all times. Drones can also help gather information for survey data.
As technology progresses, there are more options available. Architects, engineers, and contractors are now able to purchase drones at affordable prices, with features that are designed to meet their requirements.
6. Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual reality (VR) technology has already gained a lot of popularity in the AEC industry. Property developers are now using it to review 3D environments of architectural designs, especially during the planning stage to get a better handle of a project.
Augmented reality (AR) can be used on-site as a tool to layer in extra data relating to a project. As a person moves through a space, augmented reality interprets the external world in real-time, displaying information such as operational details, schedules, and building plans to provide extra context.
7. Safety Equipment
Another focus is on enhanced safety and the use of better safety equipment products. With a rise in accidents and construction-related deaths, there is no doubt that there will be a larger push towards better safety equipment in the AEC industry in 2020.
Advanced technology now allows for things such as work boots that connect to Wi-Fi to send GPS coordinates and even decipher if workers are tired or have fallen. While pricey at the moment, these advanced safety boots could eventually become a commonly used item on site.
Other safety solutions such as the use of cooling vests and moisture-wicking fabric are becoming popular as they ensure a safer working environment.
While there are many key trends that will help shape the AEC industry in 2020, technology seems to be a front-runner. Considering that buildings have an important part to play in our survival and safety, this makes sense that we need better tools to ensure construction keeps with the demands of the times.