Forward thinking

What are the trends likely to shape the construction software market in 2015?

Louay Dahmash
Louay Dahmash

Professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction markets are being asked to do more with less revenue.

However, there are a batch of emerging technologies that offer benefits like increases in cost efficiencies, the discovery of new talent and the reshaping of how we design and construct projects. At Autodesk, we have identified five trends that are likely to dominate the building and design industries this year.

Big Data, BIM and the Cloud
A lot of changes are being seen with the connection of powerful BIM tools to the cloud. For urban planning alone, city planners can now create living models of whole cities with lots of added information, like all of the meta-data for elements like storm and flood water flows, pedestrian and vehicle traffic, energy use, solar energy potential, windflows and more. This can help them to simulate, identify and understand the city-wide impact of their design decisions before actual construction begins.

In construction, data-rich 3D models created within a BIM workflow will increasingly be used on construction sites, which will help increase accuracy, reduce cost and lead to greater sustainability, safety and productivity.

Across the utilities sector, more professionals will be combining GIS and BIM data in a shift to model-based solutions. Cloud-based services will help in the deployment and management of information, as well as the incorporation of augmented reality and reality capture data to update and keep workflow conditions current on projects.

The Internet of Things
Since 2014, the vision of the Internet of Things (IoT) has widely evolved and progressed due to a convergence of technologies. Autodesk sees IoT as leaving big impacts on infrastructure, city planning & management and architecture & buildings.

3D Printing
The growing popularity of 3D printing can be attributed to its many fascinating possibilities, especially when used for building design and construction. The architecture & building sectors are predicted to increase use of 3D printing — moving from small-scale models to more significant prototypes of building elements and explorations of full-scale 3D printed structures on project sites. The use of these new printing technologies makes the building process more efficient, less wasteful and safer.

Triple bottom line
Assessing the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of proposed projects throughout the design process will become the norm – driving an increase in net-zero energy buildings, low-impact development projects and sustainable city and community planning initiatives.

For example, in infrastructure, the need to understand both the short and long term impacts of a particular design is becoming critical.  The use of BIM across new buildings can help to standardise processes and ensure that a project complies with standard requirements. Technology platforms are also being seen as a factor in manufacturers becoming more aware of the impacts of their products and being able to communicate them to design professionals who ask for this data.

Reality capture and computing
This is expected to gain momentum as many are seeing the widespread benefits of being able to quickly and cost-effectively incorporate existing physical condition data directly into advanced 3D models for buildings and civil infrastructure projects. The adoption of these new technologies will result in more sustainable and durable infrastructure projects. As these changes take place, we can expect to see a better-designed, more sustainable built environment emerge around us.

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