London, UK, August 2020–Asite launched a new research report examining how the construction industry can optimize its approach to digital engineering.
The report entitled ‘Digital Engineering: Optimizing Construction’s Digital Future,’ provides recommendations for how the industry can overcome its fragmentation to ensure future prosperity. The report also recommends the steps the industry needs to take to set the foundations for the global advancement of digital engineering.
Nathan Doughty, Asite CEO
“For years, Asite has been at the forefront of digital integration across the AEC industry; we recognize the importance of digital adoption and believe the future of our industry lies in digital engineering, says Doughty, Asite CEO.
“To help enhance digital adoption and ensure the future prosperity of our industry, this report provides recommendations for how we can optimize our use of digital engineering processes and create a more integrated and collaborative industry.”
“As our industry continues to recover and rebuild in the wake of COVID-19,” adds Doughty, “now is the right time to take the opportunity to build a digital ecosystem that works for everyone.”
The report examines digital engineering from a number of different standpoints, including the benefits of digital engineering across the project lifecycle, innovative projects that are leading the way, the technologies set to be the most transformative, and global government initiatives to push the adoption of digital engineering techniques.
Finally, it arrives at a recommendation for how the construction industry can unlock greater value.
Holistic lifecycle approach
The report analyses the impact of digital engineering across the project lifecycle – from planning and design to construction and operation. At each lifecycle phase, it sheds light on the challenges faced at that stage, how digital engineering can solve these challenges, and the barriers that need to be overcome for successful adoption.
The report also identifies the different technologies and techniques facilitating digital transformation at different stages. Accompanying these insights are accounts of different global projects utilizing digital engineering technologies to build better.
Ultimately, the report recognizes the need for a holistic approach to digital engineering across the asset lifecycle, allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions that streamline practices, ensure project fulfillment, and increase overall value.
The global push for digital engineering
The push for the adoption of digital engineering is a global one. The report notes the global government initiatives that are driving the adoption of these technologies and processes.
The United Kingdom, the European Union, India, Hong Kong, Australia, and the United States are mentioned as leaders in the push for adoption.
This showcases a cross-regional desire for a more uniform and integrated approach to the adoption of digital engineering.
A digital framework is the answer
The report concludes that the fragmentation of the industry needs to be addressed before it can move forward. To create fertile ground for digital engineering and innovation, we must first address the fragmented nature of the industry, which has led to a lack of knowledge-sharing, low incentives to adopt technologies, and poorly utilized data.
It proposes data and knowledge-sharing, combined with the development of an easily interpretable integrated global platform, as a means of safeguarding the industry’s digital future. For digital engineering to truly transform the AEC sector and produce the desired outcomes, technologies need to be deployed in an environment where they can thrive, and a global digital framework could facilitate this.
A digital framework can harness the benefits of sharing better quality information; how data is used, maintained, and planned will allow for a better understanding of the interdependencies between sectors and help break down silos.
In the report the United States is noted as driving the adoption of digital engineering techniques and processes:
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Building Construction (ABC) Initiative, led by the Department’s Building Technologies Office (BTO), promotes advanced building construction techniques, such as off-site manufacturing, robotics, and the digitalization of building design and construction processes. Although currently focused on the housing sector, the initiative seeks to improve construction productivity and ensure that assets are smarter, healthier, more sustainable, more resilient, and more responsive to the needs of their users.
Advanced planning and construction techniques
New technologies are at the forefront of providing organizations with the capabilities to gather all necessary detailed information. For example, new techniques that integrate high-definition photography, 3-D laser scanning, and geographic information systems, enabled by recent improvements in drone and unmanned-aerial-vehicle (UAV) technology, can dramatically improve accuracy and speed.
One project that is taking advantage of these developments is the development of the new Microsoft campus in Washington. The use of drones is helping the campus rebuild. For the duration of the planning and construction process, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) passes over the site to create high-accuracy GPS scans each week. The data captured is then fed into over 100 BIM models, which contain more than 2.8 million individual 3D building components and provide data to more effectively tackle challenges as they arise, plan, and monitor construction progress.