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By Kerman Kasad

Tight margins, intense competition, and demands for faster completion times are putting enormous pressure on construction firms to adapt their processes, organizational structures, and skillsets in order to thrive in today’s technology-driven industry.

To help its customers stay on top of trends they should be aware of, ARC Document Solutions sponsored the “AEC Future of Technology Study,” conducted by research marketing company Newlio in January. The survey reveals participants’ views on four emerging technologies: BIM (Virtual Reality), Big Data, Drone Use, and the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

The top trending technology, named by 65.3 percent of respondents, was that virtual reality applications will be used much more in the future to experience a building’s design before it is built.

Virtual reality in the construction industry is often characterized by the creation and use of three-dimensional computerized modeling, commonly referred to as Building Information Modeling, or “BIM.” Such models are used to facilitate project management, detect problems before actual construction occurs, program workflow sequencing, and to improve client interactions.

The top benefits of virtual reality cited were:

Projects will be easier to visualize (51.9%)
Projects will be completed faster (48.3%)
Projects will require fewer workers (42.2%)
Projects will require less material (40.8%)

A closer look at these findings reveal that participants feel that the use of BIM and other virtual reality tools reduces rework, enhances productivity, and saves time and money by reducing conflicts and changes before physical construction is begun.

Today’s environment for construction companies is tougher and more complex than ever before, so reducing rework, increasing efficiency, and managing changes more effectively goes a long way to keep budgets in line and delivers a greater return on investment on work done before construction crews arrive at the worksite.

The “AEC Future of Technology Study” was conducted among a random sampling of 147 architecture, engineering and construction management professionals around the United States, using an email invitation and online survey. Executives were from both large enterprises of 1,000 people or more and small boutique firms of ten people or less.

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