Advanced building materials, smart buildings, BIM, digital twins, and modern methods of construction are amongst the more transformative technologies set to shape digital engineering
Asite has launched a new report examining how the construction industry can optimise 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 research also recommends the steps the industry needs to take to set the foundations for the global advancement of digital engineering.
Nathan Doughty, Asite CEO, said: “For years, Asite has been at the forefront of digital integration across the AEC industry; we recognise the importance of digital adoption and believe the future of our industry lies in digital engineering.
“To help enhance digital adoption and ensure the future prosperity of our industry, this report provides recommendations for how we can optimise 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, 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 its benefits 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 its adoption.
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 it 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 utilising technologies to build better.
Ultimately, the report recognises the need for a holistic approach to digital engineering across the asset lifecycle, allowing stakeholders to make informed decisions that streamline practices, ensure project fulfilment, and increase overall value.
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 UK, the EU, India, Hong Kong, Australia, and the US are mentioned as leaders in the push for adoption.
This showcases a cross-regional desire for a more uniform and integrated approach.
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 utilised 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.
Throughout the report the UK is noted as a leader in the field of digital engineering in several different areas:
The UK Government has been at the forefront of the push to adopt digital engineering across the project lifecycle. This early push has resulted in a number of current projects utilising techniques successfully.
Delivering London’s super sewer, Thames Tideway has used VR to enable design and engineering teams to visualise sites across London, providing a bigger picture view of the build and the ability to work through key stages and identify future issues.
The UK has been at the forefront of BIM adoption for many years, evidenced by its commitment to BIM during the early stages of the asset lifecycle. In particular, ISO 19650 information management standards depict a process that promotes thinking about the asset operation and impacts from the start.
The report highlights Crossrail – the biggest construction project in Europe and one of the largest single-infrastructure investments to be undertaken in the UK. The project is an example of the benefits of deploying BIM from the offset and aims to be the first major infrastructure project to fully realize the BIM lifestyle concept.
The use of BIM on Crossrail has unequivocally enhanced the design process and reduced risk, thanks to greater project visibility.
Setting the example for a global approach
In setting out its recommendations for the enhancement of digital engineering, the report borrows from the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission. As mentioned above this proposes a digital framework that can harness the benefits of sharing better quality information.
Although referring to UK infrastructure, the report notes this concept could be expanded across the AEC sector in general and enhance the adoption of digital engineering worldwide.
You can read the full report here.