6 current AEC industry ​trends

As the AEC industry continues to battle old challenges in the second half of 2023, it will need to remain more efficient. To meet target deadlines and stay competitive in the face of challenges arising out of labor shortage, material and supply chain issues, stricter sustainability requirements and wider economic challenges, the AEC industry needs to step up its game. Here are some of the top AEC industry trends that can help it get there:

More than just an AEC industry trend, sustainability is the need of the hour. Currently about 40% of all carbon emissions are caused by the construction industry and 20% of all material is wasted.  

Green and net-zero energy buildings with energy savings made using renewable energy sources continue to gain popularity. Passive design techniques such as natural ventilation and daylighting which reduces energy consumption and improves indoor air quality will prevail. More emphasis is being placed on building performance and management for optimum energy efficiency, which ties into the growing trend of digitalization. With the use of data in new and innovative ways, digital solutions are making the start of a major shift in the industry. 

A virtual model of a physical object, a digital twin spans the object’s lifecycle and uses real time data sent from sensors on the object to simulate the behavior and monitor operations. Project teams can adopt a fully digital approach and increase collaboration and efficiency with them. This can lead to substantial reduction in waste, errors, risk and energy consumption. Which all boils down to substantial savings in cost. Improved project management by centralizing all building data in one place contributes favorably to more sustainable and cost-effective buildings and infrastructures. 

Integrating the two software will enable more accurate and detailed virtual replicas of buildings and infrastructure across the entire operational lifecycle. Planning smart cities is another area where digital twins will offer benefits. Increase in the usage of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to visualize digital twins is being envisaged. BIM software and digital twining, along with IoT and cloud computing can lead to better collaboration and more efficient data management. More advanced analytic capabilities added to BIM software will help stakeholders make more informed decisions. Other developments will see BIM offer more automation options to reduce errors and effort. 

Artificial intelligence is already one of the key developments of 2023 that is shifting project management from solution-focused to data-focused workflows. Currently, collaborative cloud-based platforms enables users to share 2D drawings and 3D models and link all available documents to the right objects in the BIM model. As technology advances, the management of project data is set to become even more streamlined and automated. For example, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be used to automatically determine which drawings belong to which project and match them to existing 3D models with minimal human input. It will benefit multiple partners by saving time and increasing design quality. 

Along with parametric modelling driven by data, design automation is likely to witness an upward trend. Visual programming is making it easier for architects and engineers without scripting skills to customize automation to their needs. For example, automated clash detection, automatic generation of fabrication and construction drawings and other automation capabilities are being added to BIM software which can help to improve efficiency and reduce errors. 

It can also help remove repetitive tasks within the design process and fulfil broader workflow needs such as quality checks or rule-based design analysis. This will result in greater efficiency and improve productivity. 

Technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are being used to improve communication and collaboration among stakeholders. VR can be used to create virtual walkthroughs of building and infrastructure, which can help to improve communication among designers, engineers and builders. AR can be used to overlay digital information on real-world environments, which can be used to improve communication among workers on-site and to train them. In addition, these can be used to improve design and construction processes. For example, VR can be used to conduct virtual mock-ups and testing which can help reduce errors and rework. AR can be used to provide workers with real-time information on site such as construction schedules and safety procedures, which can help to improve efficiency and safety. 

These AEC Industry trends viz. the adoption of BIM and digital twins, the rise of green buildings, automation and even the potential of the Metaverse is moving the industry towards a more digital, data-driven and sustainable future. Stakeholders can work more efficiently with reduced errors and improved performance of buildings and infrastructure. 

At Aligned Studios, we have very effectively advocated the use of BIM for our collaborative projects and now are exploring the possibilities of AI’s incorporation in Architectural Projects. Want to know how? Get in touch with us.