What is missing in today’s construction industry? What changes are needed to enable such flexible use of buildings?
Digitization certainly is the key here. We have the means and the corresponding software solutions to implement digitization from the first idea of a building to demolition or conversion. It is merely a question of mentally integrating the stakeholders who are working on it as well. We may have dispensed with software silos, but thought silos continue to exist. There are the viewpoints of the architect, the structural engineer, the civil engineer, the real estate developer, who is concerned with costs, and the users, who have a specific purpose. It is not particularly easy to reconcile all these ideas. We need to invest very strongly in education. Architects and engineers are taught separately even at university. We should change that. We must work on understanding each other and on finding compromises. The best compromises can be represented and executed through digital models in 6D BIM.
The model is always the most relevant aspect. A good model starts in architecture and is used in facility management. There are still many barriers to be overcome today. The systems speak different languages and continuing work there is essential. Many building contractors do not recognize the added value of building models in planning and execution yet. Politicians are also called upon to archive these models. Today, after three decades, we often no longer know how a building was planned and are unable to reconstruct it cost-effectively due to a lack of structural framework conditions. Digital archiving will make it much easier to convert and re-invigorate buildings in the future. Unfortunately, we do not have the structural and political specifications to implement this. Many digital options are available, but each provider is doing their own thing and it is difficult to structure transitions. We tried to develop a way to enable structured transitions with IFC4 Precast. However, this is difficult to implement in practice while old structures continue to work, and standardization does not offer any immediate added value but is an investment in the future. Our hope here lies with all software system providers, associations and working groups to work together.
I see politics and associations as drivers of collaborative work in Europe. We lack an incentive for architects and civil engineers to cooperate since they aren’t paid for it. The value of the model must be increased. One example here would be saying, similar to what the Construction Authority in Singapore did: “I demand that this 3D model be maintained”. Once the 3D model is there, you can cooperate well. We need to demand that the lifecycle analysis tool also be re-integrated into the model. We have the options, but no one is adding value, spending, or investing any money in this. People simply try to build cheaply without considering that an expensive analysis will have to be performed at the end of the lifecycle. We have the technical options but need to see greater investments here, both in politics and by associations.