In this interview, Kevin Lea, senior vice president product management at ALLPLAN, discusses open BIM solutions and the challenges and trends in the AEC sector.
The construction industry seems to be rapidly gaining ground in the race to digitalization. There is wide adoption of building information modelling (BIM) and digital twins, making architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) an important field for providers of 3D reality capture solutions. In this interview, Kevin Lea, senior vice president product management at ALLPLAN, a leading European vendor of open BIM solutions, shares his vision on the challenges and trends in the AEC sector and his company’s ambitions for the years ahead.
With what challenges does the construction industry see itself faced today?
Around the world we see pressures for new affordable housing, better provision of ‘the basics’ such as clean water through to improving crumbling infrastructure. The benefits of BIM and the ‘digital twin’ in the building industry is now proven, especially when considering design variants. In addition, this enables the construction process to be delivered with reduced delays and abortive work, and with better costing, planning and delivery times. This is highlighted even further in civil and infrastructure projects where large numbers of variables can have a huge effect on both time and budget. We all know large scale public projects have been delayed or over budget. However, with the adoption of technology, these risks can be mitigated significantly.
How can this be put into practice in the day-to-day business of architects and engineers?
Both architects and engineers can offer better deliverables with the adoption of software that is specifically designed for their needs. Architects can very quickly examine design changes - often live with the client. From how a building will look with a different roof layout, to how sunlight will enter a room if a window is moved. Engineers on the other hand, can examine variations in structural form and layout, through to creating a constructible 3D model. All with the required 2D drawings and material take off to support costing and planning.
What can the construction industry expect from ALLPLAN?
At ALLPLAN we strive to provide the tools to make architects and engineers more efficient. The more efficiently a project can be delivered the more profitable our clients can be. Our software solutions allow our clients to create BIM models quickly and efficiently, with the flexibility needed to investigate the inevitable changes in design. In addition, we recognize BIM is not all about 3D models, but the data required to design and construct efficiently. There is still a need to deliver clear and concise 2D drawings and documentation. We can therefore combine the 2D and 3D processes to provide the ultimate software solution.
The new Allplan 2020 version was published a few days ago. What are your three new favourite functions?
My top three new tools in Allplan 2020 include:
- The new embedded Visual Scripting that enables our clients to not only create complex geometry based on mathematical rules and logic, but the creation of custom parametric objects quickly and efficiently.
- Allplan Bridge is a real exciting solution offering engineers a revolutionary BIM tool combining parametric modeling, structural analysis and detailing in one package
- Introduced in the 2019-1 and now enhanced in the 2020 release, we introduced the ability to fully integrate models directly from our cloud-based platform Allplan Bimplus. This allows projects to start by downloading initial models from different sources (such as Revit, Sketchup and IFC formats) into Allplan where they can be referenced or fully integrated for further design. This functionality enables Allplan to be integrated even earlier in the BIM process and supports our clients further with the adoption of BIM.
Where do you see trends for the next few years? What role will future topics such as Big Data or Artificial Intelligence play in the construction industry?
An efficient design, in any form of construction, is totally reliant on being well informed with good up-to-date data. Therefore, as Big Data is introduced to industry, we will have a greater insight on topics such as social trends, environmental and geological data etc. Combine this with the ability of Artificial Intelligence to offer interpretation and learning of such data, and there is no doubt we will see improved and more efficient solutions from hospitals to roads in the future. This can only benefit us all with a reduction in waste, greener fuel sources and a reduction in carbon emissions.
We've talked a lot about digitization, but what is your favourite digital resource? And your favourite app?
Starting my career on the drawing board at 16, I clearly remember spending literally hours printing drawings, folding them and posting them. Now I can share documents instantly, collaborate live with colleagues in different parts of the world, all whilst participating in live video conferences. Therefore, I think the biggest impact digitalization has had, on both me personally and I know the industry, is in communication. Being able to communicate with friends from anywhere in the world via social media, FaceTime, Skype to name a few I still find amazing!
I see these principals provided with Allplan’s Bimplus. The ability to easily share and collaborate project data through the entire design and construction process is exciting and is transform the industry. Therefore, I need to choose two digital tools: Allplan Bimplus and Facetime, as both allow me to communicate with colleagues, family and friends in an interactive manner from anywhere in the world!
For more information, please visit the ALLPLAN website.