We are on a journey...
It has been 45 years since Chuck Eastman’s seminal paper. 18 years since Revit’s acquisition by Autodesk. 9 years since the announcement of the UK BIM Level 2 mandate. Whichever way you look at the history of BIM, we have been on the road to digitalising the Built Environment for some time now.
More recently, the industry excitement around digital transformation and data has reached a fever pitch. There's a growing awareness of the massive potential for innovation and impact within the AEC sector, often captured in buzz words like “digital twins”, “smart cities” and “industrialized construction”.
More hype, more activity...
There’s also a rapidly expanding ecosystem of tools and technologies to help unlock that potential. Each week brings the announcement of new start-ups using AI, machine learning, robotics, VR/AR and other cutting-edge technologies to disrupt traditional methods and business models.
On the other side of the table, a plethora of investment funds and associations focused on PropTech and ConTech have emerged in the past few years. Whereas construction and innovation were previously considered to be almost contradictory terms, there is now a flood of interest and resources filling the space.
This matters to more than the industry...
Then there’s the increasing realization that we face critical social and environmental issues that simply cannot be tackled without large-scale innovation. Climate change and carbon emissions, affordable housing, diversity and inclusion, modern infrastructure, and public health and safety have all moved from being long-term aspirations to urgent priorities.
The AEC community is coming to terms with the fact that we have a major responsibility and role to play in addressing these issues, and that we won’t be able to do it without embracing the use of technology and data at every turn.
The uncomfortable truth...
Still, amid all of this very palpable activity, excitement and urgency, there remains a gigantic, uncomfortable, and often-unspoken question: how far have we really progressed beyond the hype and the headlines, beyond the press releases by software vendors, and beyond the Hollywood-style presentations at conferences?
What is the reality of our industry in the design offices, in the planning offices and at the site? Are we still mostly using digital paper? Or are we unshackling ourselves from spreadsheets and PDFs? Are we starting to manage and transform our work and the industry itself through data?
Each of us wants to know where our industry really stands. It’s a combination of curiosity and necessity: how have we done, are we focusing on the right things, and how does my reality compare to that of my peers?
Let’s find out….
The Reality Check Survey is here to answer these questions. Created in partnership with digital transformation agency Cogital, the Reality Check Survey aims to go beyond the various national, discipline-specific, and commercially-driven surveys that already exist. Our goal is to offer a truly global reference that’s accessible to the entire AEC community.
The survey officially launched on April 1st and will run until June 30th in order to collect as many responses as possible. From there, we will analyze the results and develop an official Reality Check report that will be shared publicly and free of charge.
Early feedback from initial respondents has been extremely positive. There's a clear feeling that the industry needs this kind of reference and can benefit greatly from opening a global dialogue rooted in the experience of practitioners.
Let’s help each other...
We've also brought together a fantastic group of early supporters from around the globe to help engage the AEC community's participation in the survey:
- AECBytes – USA – AECbytes is an online technology publication, launched by Dr. Lachmi Khemlani in 2003, providing analysis, research and news on AEC technology.
- AECHive – Europe – AECHive is an inclusive and collaborative network of innovators with a focus on planning, architecture, engineering, construction and built environment management.
- AMCA – Australia – The Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors' Association is a nationwide industry body that represents businesses operating in the commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) industry.
- CIBSE – UK – The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) is the prime source of expertise in the Building Services industry and has over 45,000 members in CIBSE chapters and groups around the world.
- Digital Construction Hub – Middle East – Digital Construction Hub (DC Hub) is a community and industry resource for AEC professionals who are advancing the adoption and use of digital technologies and construction 4.0.
- Digital Construction Week – UK – Digital Construction Week (DCW) is the UK’s only event dedicated to digital construction, engineering, design, manufacturing and operation.
- Microdesk – USA & UK – Microdesk is an international consulting firm helping AECO clients to realize the business benefits of BIM quickly and economically by facilitating the use of innovative technologies and processes.
These organizations believe in our mission to create an open and global industry benchmark around data and digitalisation. They are joining us to help promote the survey across regions and industry segments, as well as to deliver insights and analysis from the survey results.
Our community, our reality….
Inspired by the Stack Overflow Annual Developer Survey, we aim to make this the largest community-led data gathering project for the construction industry. We invite you to share your digital reality and, through crowdsourcing, to help create reliable benchmarks for comparison. We're committed to sharing the results and analysis free of charge, and to ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and that everyone benefits from reflecting on our shared reality.
Our promise to the AEC community:
- We will not sell your data
- We will share the results
- We will not hide any uncomfortable truths
Take the survey, share the survey...
You can access the survey here. It takes about 10 minutes to answer and all responses are anonymous and GDPR compliant.
We've also launched a homepage for the Reality Check at https://aecrealitycheck.com. Visit the site to find updates on the project, see our latest supporters, and sign up for our mailing list.
We look forward to your participation!