Managing the Model: Varied Organizations Lead the Charge for AEC Improvements
For nearly 15 years, my company, Engineered Efficiency, has worked with thousands of AEC users and firms to help them get the most out of the technology they use (or could be using). But this is a large industry with a tremendous amount of variety and disparate technology needs, so it takes a combined effort to truly effect change. Luckily, there are a number of people and organizations dedicated to the same goal, ranging from individual evangelists to organizations that exist only to promote productivity improvements.
An obvious example is the one publishing this article (along with a lot of other great information). Via its print, online and live communications, the team behind Informed Infrastructure delivers a multi-channel, multi-faceted wealth of information on a wide range of tech topics that directly impact our industry. If you’re reading this online, you might also enjoy a free subscription to the bi-monthly print magazine. If you’re reading this in print, be sure to visit www.informedinfrastructure.com for a ton of additional great content.
Passion for Innovation
A different type of organization dedicated to improving the industry is Fiatech (www.fiatech.org). Per its website, Fiatech is an “international community of passionate stakeholders working together to lead global development and adoption of innovative practices and technologies to realize the highest business value throughout the lifecycle of capital assets.”
I recently attended their annual Technology Conference and Showcase, and witnessed their passion and efforts to lead adoption and change. Via its Productivity Advancement Targets (PATs) program (fiatech.org/about/news/1284-pats16), Fiatech and its network of expert members are moving beyond rhetoric and hypothetical “what ifs” by developing a set of practical tools to provide procedures and practices to owners, engineers and contractors to make advancement a reality.
“No single owner or EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) firm working alone can deliver the productivity advancement the industry needs,” says Deborah McNeil, project productivity program manager with Fiatech member Dow Chemical. “Each of us has our strengths and pockets of excellence. Breakthrough performance happens when the pieces are brought together; knowledge and change risk is shared. Fiatech and similar organizations are needed to integrate the pieces so everyone wins.”
Another group working to promote technology use to become more efficient is BuiltWorlds (www.builtworlds.com). With efforts targeted at the AEC and real-estate industries, BuiltWorlds’ stated mission is “to be a catalyst for positive change in one of the most important areas of our economy.”
According to Matt Abeles, co-founder and managing director, the firm works with a broad range of industry professionals, including CEOs, CIO/CTOs, project managers, engineers and architects.
“We’re advocating for a more-collaborative, constructive and creative way of ensuring a more-sustainable, efficient and smarter future,” he notes. “We do this through a variety of digital channels by delivering unique content, creating educational shows and facilitating connections across our community. We work across industry silos to foster improved collaboration in the built environment.”
With events such as this spring’s BuiltWorlds Summit and the CEO Tech Forum, BuiltWorlds brings together tech innovators and upstart companies with end users and owners to share information about current and emerging AEC technology.
These are only a few examples of the wide-ranging efforts to improve and change the AEC industry. There are organizations for specific segments, user groups for specific products, seminars and webinars hosted by product manufacturers and vendors, and more. The one thing they all have in common: they need community involvement to achieve the goal of improved efficiency, productivity and profits.
What I find fascinating (and a bit frustrating) is that most issues related to workflow, technology implementation, digital modeling, handoff, project management, etc., that negatively impact large projects such as offshore oil platforms and massive chemical plants are nearly identical to those encountered on commercial sites, residential subdivisions and vertical construction projects.
The key to implementing real change is to get involved, learn from the group and share what you know.