The Week in Summary: Disruption, Diving In & the Virtual Takeover

Winter storms are raging across the country, but at least we've made it to another weekend! There's been a lot going on this week. Let's take a look back at the tech news that grabbed our attention in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space.

It's been mentioned on more than one occasion that the AEC industry as a whole is slow to embrace new technology. But as technology continues to advance at an ever-increasing pace, the construction sector is going to have to keep up. Fortunately, the ConAppGuru (a.k.a. Rob McKinney) and Caterpillar put together some handy guidelines for how to run a tech-focused job site. With everything from digitizing paperwork to "smart" wearables for safety to machine automation, the guide details how the proper implementation of new technology can transform the construction site, ultimately making projects smoother, safer, and far more cost effective.

We're all about teamwork for the greater good of the job. (Source: ConAppGuru)

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) made a lot of headlines this week, and we are so excited for the many ways this tech can be used in the design and building process. As building information modeling (BIM) continues to develop and gain wider adoption, AR and VR offer the opportunity to make 3D modeling truly three dimensional. Although 3D models are used currently, the rendering is still stuck on a computer screen, requiring a large degree of imagination and not providing the true feeling of being in the space. However, according to Bryce Finnerty of HingePoint, "Once virtual and augmented reality become mainstream in BIM, developers will be able to actually walk their customers around and inside a building." Not only is that just super cool, but it allows for true transparency between designer and client during the design process, and limits the need for pesky RFIs and change orders since, in a way, the building has already been "built."

As new technology is finally being embraced in the AEC world, one of our favorite buzzwords is getting tossed around: disruption. As an industry, AEC is ripe for a complete overhaul of how we design and how we work. BIM, the Internet of Things, and digital collaboration are just a few innovations that Dr. Burcin Kaplanoglu of Lendlease sees as transforming the way we build. He predicts "that we will be accurately measuring the output of construction operations by 2020. This will allow contractors and owners to benchmark productivity which will then serve as a catalyst to justify adoption of many newer technologies and improved methods. In that state, positive disruption will be driven by AEC companies that recognize the value of such change and proactively adopt it." For the AEC firm of the very near future, embracing tech will be the only way to thrive.

Here are five tech advances that will disrupt the industry and change the game as we know it. (Source: BuiltWorlds)

Besides great new technology, what does it take to put BIM into real practice? According to Builder Magazine, it takes something counterintuitive to most of us: unlearning. Building has changed very little in the last several hundred – if not thousand – years, and the systems we use feel as if they're engrained in our very DNA. In a recent articleJohn McManus points out, "The mental challenge with BIM for many builders has been, we've heard, achieving, and scaling its benefits. It's not a dip-your-toe-in construct. It's hard to pilot any piece or part of it, validate it and cut-over to a new process gradually." To fully realize the advantages of BIM, we have to change the way we think about the entire design and building process, and dive in completely.

Learning to unlearn. (Source: Slideshare)

It wouldn't be a week at BuildingSP without some talk about artificial intelligence (AI). This week, we defer to the experts for an awesome Ted Talk about AI – where it is and where it's going. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Make sure to watch the Ted Talk to learn how AI can impact you and your work. (Source: GCN)


As you may have noticed, we've been doing a lot of writing about the impact of computational BIM, generative design, and the future of how we work. One thing we haven't done is turn some of this thinking into more rigorous analysis. But now we're ready to do that! 

If you work for a general contractor, subcontractor, or design firm and want to collaborate on whitepapers that quantify how computational methods of working will change our industry, reach out to us and let's talk about what we can do. We're open to collaborations worldwide and have lots of ways of measuring performance indicators to gain insight into change in our industry. Contact Brett Young at

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Tags: BIM Artificial Intelligence Augmented Reality Virtual Reality

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