A “Perfect Storm” for AEC Industry Transformation

By Akio


Click to TweetClick to Tweet: A “Perfect Storm”
for #AEC Industry Transformation

It’s no secret that the AEC industry is suffering from a surplus of waste: wasted materials, wasted time spent on rework and change orders, waste from highly fragmented processes.

However, what the industry is beginning to realize is that it’s not the first group to think, There must be a better way.

The aerospace industry is one recent example; in the 1990s, companies such as Boeing began to look at technologies and processes used in other industries to tighten their supply chain and manufacturing processes. A switch to all-digital modeling made this possible.

Also necessary was a switch in mindset. Aerospace professionals had to switch their thinking from “project” to “product,” and adopt product lifecycle management tools that would deliver increased value to the end-user.

With these 2 steps, AEC professionals can likewise optimize their processes:

Step 1. Adopting Revised Business Models

According to Hector Lorenzo Camps, founder of PHI Cubed Inc., the industry is looking for ways to improve, but to truly move forward will first have to revise its compensation and business models.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: “To move forward, #AEC industry
1st must revise its comp & business models” @HectorCamps

Although design-build contracts are increasingly popular, there remains too little true partnership among all parties involved in the design, construction and operations processes.

Today’s typical contracts emphasize distinct roles for all players in order to help control liability.

“Many relationships in the industry are strained because of the adversarial nature of the industry standard contracts that pin professionals against each other to divide risk,” Camps says.

New collaborative forms of agreement—namely, Integrated Project Delivery—remain slow to take off as AEC professionals explore new liability rules and shift from a “best for me” to a “best for project” mentality.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: #AEC is shifting (slowly) from
“best for me” to “best for project” mentality.

Tied to this need to collaborate is another necessary step for AEC professionals: the need to shake their reliance on a 2D, paper-based management process.

Step 2. Adopting Tools for Better Integration

Until all industry players make the switch to 3D processes, there will be a problem with what Camps calls “two versions of the truth with documentation, one in 2D and the other in 3D.”

Many firms are working with a mix of 2D CAD and 3D BIM to accommodate all parties’ preferences.

“Contractually, firms go with the 2D documents, which often are obsolete and predate the model. Builders under pressure, wanting to build from the best available data, are asking to build from the model and produce 2D documents after,” Camps says. “The coordinated model needs to drive the dimensional and informational control of the project and the field implementation documents. The contractual language needs to reflect this.”

Camps believes owners—who ultimately stand to gain the most from collaborative projects—will drive this evolution to 3D.

“All they need to do is write into their contracts the information management strategy. As long as the roles, responsibilities and use case for information are defined, and intellectual property is dealt with, they should have no problem getting professionals to deliver digital documents,” he says.

Why Now Is The Time For Change

The good news? The AEC industry is already beginning to adopt the tools and processes that will make transformation possible.

“We have the perfect storm for real industry transformation as significant as the industrial revolution,” Camps predicts.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: .@HectorCamps predicts a “perfect storm
for #AEC transformation as significant as #IndustrialRevolution”

First, AEC professionals are beginning to borrow concepts from manufacturing. To further reduce waste and improve quality, the industry is looking to close the gap between design and fabrication. Lean construction is one such effort, as the industry attacks waste by taking lessons learned from Lean Manufacturing and Just in Time delivery models.

Second, Camps points to a number of technology solutions becoming available that may further speed improvement.

For example, the advent of cloud computing is making it easier than ever for all players to work together in a more tightly connected process.

As Camps points out, AEC companies generally have far fewer employees than manufacturing industries, making it potentially more difficult to invest in an expensive data management system. Cloud computing can allow even small firms to participate in building lifecycle management without having to invest in prohibitively expensive data management systems.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: Cloud computing allows small firms to
participate in #BLM without investing in expensive systems

By putting data on the cloud, it’s also typically easier for various parties to share data and resources related to a project.

“This ad hoc approach to PLM makes it very easy for the AEC industry to adopt the benefits of integration and collaboration without all the forward structuring that would happen if they had to form a unique corporation in order to integrate their processes,” Camps says.

In addition, the Internet of Things is making it easier to move digital models from the drawing table to the field, giving contractors and designers rapid insight into potential problems. And Camps even points to rapid manufacturing, such as 3D printing, as a potentially promising technology for optimization, as these tools could someday make it possible to produce one off building components while maintaining the economies of scale of standard offsite production facilities.

Beyond technology, however, today’s growing engagement from public owners looking to spend more wisely is invigorating further innovation in connectedness.

The most carefully watched case in point is the UK’s Level 2 BIM requirement for federal buildings, set to become effective in 2016.

“It’s expected that by 2019, BIM Level 3 will be required. Level 3 in essence is ‘full collaboration between all disciplines by means of using a single, shared project model which is held in a centralized repository,’” Camps says.

He adds, “By that definition, they just described the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.”

Related Resources

Collaborative, Industrialized Construction Solutions from Dassault Systèmes

Spotlight on PHI Cubed: Guiding the AEC Industry Toward Greater Levels of Integration

Spotlight on MEMKO: Pushing Collaboration Across the Project Life Cycle to Revolutionize Design and Construction

Spotlight on Impararia: Reducing the Gap Between Aerospace Optimization and AEC Inefficiency

How to Eliminate Waste and Increase Profits with “Optimized Construction”

By Akio

The Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience from Dassault Systèmes integrates AEC project data, tracks progress, and brings together project teams – including owners, architects, engineers, general contractors, fabricators, and sub-contractors – all on a single, intuitive, collaborative platform.

You get the value of:

  • Integrated Project Plans—where project data files are integrated with plans in the same location – bringing together all information in one place.
  • Project Visibility— through real-time dashboards that summarize project status and give visibility to all participants. With real-time updates, you can identify potential problem areas and take action early on.
  • The Power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform— that puts everyone on the same platform, giving people the ability to talk, discuss, chat, and collaborate on a project together;

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: [VIDEO] Preview “Optimized Construction” an #AEC Industry Solution Experience from @Dassault3DS

Optimized Construction connects the dots between project progress, project efforts, and corresponding 3D data – bringing it all together under one 3D umbrella for a “single source of truth”.

Integrated Project Plans

With Integrated Project Plans, AEC professionals can integrate data with project plans in an easy-to-use interface. Each project member has access to a dashboard, where files can be easily uploaded.

The 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables importing of IFC data into an object-based platform that allows individual sharing of objects to the right audience.

From the dashboard, users receive real-time notifications when fresh data is uploaded. By using these capabilities, searching through email Inboxes for the latest information will become a thing of the past.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: PM dashboard makes
searching email inboxes a thing of the past

Formal and Informal Project Collaboration

In addition to automatic notifications, the platform provides a forum for more informal collaboration.

Through 3DSWYM, a 3DEXPERIENCE social media platform, instant messages can be exchanged among platform users to confirm an upload, ask questions, or provide additional information.


Design Review

Optimized Construction provides a formal space for the crucial review of project information during the design stage and data aggregation. Users can place markups directly in the data, pinpointing areas of concern on the model.

After placing a markup, users can send a message from within that page to alert the responsible individual that their attention is needed, ensuring that no note goes unnoticed.

These reviews can be connected to the project plans to efficiently keep track of progress, and each markup stays in place indefinitely, so that a concern can be tracked through the life of the project.

Project Visibility through Dashboards

The platform’s Project Business Status View allows a project manager to see real-time updates for every aspect of the project. This project visibility at each step of design and construction helps ensure that potential problems are spotted well before they occur.

By integrating your fabricator into this process, you can monitor the real-time status of the work, preventing cost and schedule overruns and enabling him to get paid earlier.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: Include #fabricator in process to monitor
status, prevent cost/sched overruns, get him paid earlier

Project Management

Project managers get an overview of the project’s status from the dashboard and the tasks that need to be addressed. This overview helps users quickly identify overdue tasks that could possibly delay the schedule. The project manager can flag those items within the dashboard to ask for an informal update from a colleague.

Users are able to make an update in the graphical interface, with no need to move into a table to enter data and recreate the visual representation. The moment those tasks are updated, the new status becomes visible to the project manager.

Project management dashboard

Project management dashboard

Collaboration and Approvals

With Collaboration and Approvals, project managers can follow-up on missing deliverables either through an instant message or through the more official channels of the platform’s Project Management functionality. Team members can quickly respond with an instant message and, once a formal resolution has been entered, the project manager will immediately see that the urgent issue has been updated.

The power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is its ability to bring data and people together in one place.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: #3DEXPERIENCE brings
#AEC data & people together in one place

From unstructured communication among colleagues through the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to more formal project management tools, the platform is as much about improving communication as it is about sharing information.

Learn how Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience from Dassault Systèmes can work to help improve your projects.

Related Resources

Optimized Construction Industry Solution Experience

Prefabrication and Industrialized Construction Whitepaper

Industrialization of the Construction Industry

Click to TweetClick to tweet this article

3 Simple Words: Innovation, Technology and Business

By Matthew

Get ready to join ENOVIA at PLM Innovation Forum September 24-25, 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.


This conference focuses on the whole spectrum of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) from a business, process, and functional  perspective. It brings together customers, partners, and leaders from across the industry to network, gain insight into new PLM trends, and experiences.

Join our team of ENOVIA experts:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

  • Innovate More, Manage Less: the Future of Customer Experience – a Keynote presentation by Andy KALALMBI, CEO ENOVIA
  • Technifair – Meet with, and learn from ENOVIA experts at the ENOVIA booths
  • Schedule your private 1:1 meeting with members of our attending team

Friday, September 25, 2015 (parallel meetings)

  • ENOVIA Keys to 3DEXPERIENCE Day – Hear the latest, most accurate information from ENOVIA; share your feedback,questions, and be inspired
  • ENOVIA Materials Compliance Management Advisory Board Meeting – Drive growth for the future


Register to secure your seats today and be sure to select all desired ENOVIA sessions during this single, fee-free registration process.

Matthew J. Hall

Matthew J. Hall

Matthew Hall is the ENOVIA User Advocacy & Social EXPERIENCE Specialist.  You can find him on Twitter at @mjhall. Connect with ENOVIA at @3DSENOVIA

Page 1 of 512345