FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
I trust you are all now settled back into the new year working activities, and you’re over the festive celebrations and holidays. As always December proved to be yet another busy month both in the office and on CABE affairs, and at the moment whilst writing this journal report, John Hooper and I are on a trip to Hong Kong, China, Macau and Malaysia, building upon our member relationships, connections and promoting CABE at a number of planned meetings and high-profile events. CABE in Asia is growing significantly, and the Hong Kong Chapter is moving apace in marketing the CABE, which has resulted in many organisations looking to connect with the Association, and more on this will follow in the March journal.
In talking with many members in Hong Kong the global role of Building Engineers and addressing digital technology and industry quality has been discussed, and this got me thinking in continuing my recent journal pages’ theme of improving better quality standards, and how Building Engineers can address these global challenges.
QUALITY – QUALITY – QUALITY
Better quality remains the key ‘Buzz’ word, but addressing many of the global challenges we face is not simply an issue for Building Engineers ‘but for everyone’.
Chartered Building Engineers already work within a large number of specialist areas and, by addressing many global challenges for the benefit of sustainable development, building engineers are assisting in moving forward the agenda of tackling our global problems and potential problems by using their skills to advise and influence others.
Engineering is one of the key influences that shape our world – physically, digitally, socially and economically, and the innovations of engineering have created new ways of living and working, and as they have shaped our lives they have become crucial to supporting and maintaining our quality of life. Building Engineers play a key role in developing the knowledge and technical abilities to establish technical mitigation and guidelines at a global level, but we should all consider that in aiming to meet statutory and industry recognised standards, we are often setting our sights at a minimum level only, rather than aiming for excellence, so the current talks around this theme are aimed at BIM.
Winston Churchill once quoted that Construction is one of the first businesses that humankind developed; it continues to shape our daily life in unique ways and the built environment heavily influences quality of life. So, given the sheer size of our global industry, even the smallest improvement over time has provided certain sector improvements, but the way in which industry is now embracing the digital revolution will provide substantial benefits for society as a whole.
The digital revolution over the last 50 years has made the world a smaller place; opening markets, creating new products and goods and facilitating rapid industrialisation in emerging economies. The pace of innovation with improved communication and engagement in our industry has been remarkable, but more is to follow.
Computerised design and a host of other technical and work process innovations are helping to create a global industry that is now more productive and cost effective and increasingly environmentally friendly and sustainable, so as we begin to shape our industry future what innovations are spearheading this transformation?
BIM is the current Buzz word, and the biggest success story to date, and critical to the procurement path of any projects both in the UK and globally; and industry now, through BIM 360, is constructing buildings in our computers.
BIM technology is revolutionary for construction, bringing together design, planning and infrastructure, and enhancing communication between the design team, contractors, sub-contractors and the supply chain. Its influential nature has become a fundamental in the design, creation and development of public sector buildings, and is increasingly being more applied to schemes across the UK and now more globally.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is on the threshold of inclusion and will help bridge the divide between technical documentation and the finished product. Augmented reality is being applied in different scenarios and it is easily applied on site and will eventually be used through smartphones and tablets. Technologies that previously existed only in the realms of science fiction – drones, augmented reality, robotic equipment, 3D printing, to name but a few, are now mainstream and are beginning to be adopted by construction companies to enhance output, quality and productivity.
Building Engineers need to grasp the opportunities that these challenges present and can lead by example in developing new and imaginative solutions to global issues; after all, that’s exactly what Building Engineering is all about, irrespective of size, nature, location, cost, policy and regulatory compliance.
The global challenge and the extent of the problems facing all building engineers is to maintain and provide inspiration to innovation and continued creativity, and it’s important that today’s Building Engineers, and those of the future, take the opportunity to engage with others and to educate with others on the best way to move forward.
I look forward to discussing this, and presenting to members, throughout the year, but for the moment it’s important to remember that Building Engineering does not sit in isolation, but is part of a larger academic domain which is forward thinking and which embraces industry trends while harmonising and improving professional standards. We live and work in an ever more globalised market place, in which initiative, innovation and continuous improvement are essential to our prosperity and Building Engineers assist in shaping industry policy and global compliance.
Although I could write more on this subject, with it being close to my heart, my eyes are telling me it’s time to close as we have an early morning start; so, until next month
David Taylor BA(Hons) C.Build E PCABE FCABE MCIAT PEng MSPE