It's difficult to imagine construction without machines. Backhoes, bulldozers, cranes, dump trucks: The machines that do the heavy lifting are among the first things we imagine when we think of a construction site. But this wasn't always the case. Construction machinery as we know it is a relatively recent addition to the building environment, and it has allowed us to create bigger, taller, and more complex structures with every passing generation. It stands to reason then that advancements in "smart" machines and autonomous engineering will lead to a built environment we can't currently imagine.
The adoption of supply chain management within the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is most clearly defined by lean methodologies. Lean concepts eliminate waste, focus on value, and are most often associated with the manufacturing industry. Toyota in particular is often cited in reference to lean practices, as the company is largely credited with creating 5S Methodology. However, when it comes to supply chain management, there's likely a better example to follow. Let's consider how Amazon disrupted the retail industry and what it would take to apply that thinking to AEC.
It is nearly impossible to talk about technology without talking about venture capital (VC). For the past several decades, venture capital has been nearly synonymous with tech financing, particularly for startups. Now that the tech sector has crossed over into the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space, we think VC is on course to revolutionize the industry. Following are the top four reasons VC will have a huge impact on AEC.
We were recently watching a YouTube video that documented the first flight by Aer Lingus from Dublin, Ireland to Los Angeles International Airport. The flight was conducted on a new Boeing aircraft, and the cinematography was stunning as the airplane crossed the Atlantic Ocean into the continental United States. In addition to being the first Aer Lingus flight on that route, it was also a flight crew that was comprised entirely of women. We wondered what the analogy would be for the construction industry. What is construction's equivalent of an all-woman flight crew for a long-haul airline route?
We're going to be bold and coin a new term: "the Macomber Line." The Macomber Line is a combination of concepts that we believe are very important to innovation in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space.
This term is in reference to an individual who is both an industry veteran and and an insightful visionary. John Macomber is a lecturer at both Harvard University and MIT, an investor in construction software, a former general contractor, and a real estate developer. Macomber wrote a paper (requires purchase) that we often cite in our conversations around innovation because it describes how construction economics directly impact innovation.