Some people in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry are in culture shock.
They are in the middle of a technological revolution that is transforming an architect’s paper-based work environment to a system of working where documents are digital and approved with mobile devices.
“Architects had to physically walk back to the trailer to get the color of that stone sample and sign off on it,” said Todd Win of Rogers O’Brien Construction at an American Institute of Architects technology conference in Dallas. “Now they can look it up, sign it off and get worked proceeding on their mobile devices.”
About 100 people listened to a panel of speakers at Tap-In, a conference dedicated to learning how technology is changing how architects design and build.
Wireless technology is speeding up work and helps architects avoid trips back and forth from the office to the worksite.
For example, Vergent offers mobile print stations. These are large green secure boxes that have LTE strength signals and can be placed in remote work areas that do not have an Internet connection.
Contractors don’t have a lot of time to get connectivity to job sites. So they can use the mobile print stations and have Internet access.
Changes can be printed and marked up on the job site, Vergent Sales Director Zee Ann Kane said. Then these documents can be scanned back in and a new blueprint can be uploaded.
“You used to have to run and go pick up documents…you can now increase the efficiency on a job site by printing mobile,” Kane said.
Johnny Stromp with client services for HingePoint said that technology is also helping businesses scale by automating a lot of redundant work. For businesses that are building 10 to 20 stores that are almost identical, relying on paper is extremely time-consuming.
“You can create 3D models that are more than just a visual representations,” Stromp said. “You can get all the data in the model, and clone the model and then finish the minor details.”
In the old days, you’d be required to redraw everything by hand. But with 3D drawings and tools like Revit, you have everything in a database so you can scale extremely quickly.
“The right technology lets you work on what matters while removing the unnecessary busywork.”
Brian Lowe of ARK Document Solutions said slow adopters are becoming extremely interested in the use of technology in the AEC industry.
They are starting to see that technology can expedite the delivery of materials, insures accuracy and reduces discrepancies and timelines.
“We are working in a paper world but we have tools that can deliver documents in your fingertip.”
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