by Steven G. Haines
On April 11, the Construction Institute will host the 10th annual Visionaries Forum, a place where we can pause from the day-to-day grind of our business to imagine what could be. What combination of cutting-edge technology and visionary thought can be brought together to transform our industry? The Visionaries Forum invites you to let go of what you know and imagine a future for our industry that seems to work just a bit better.
A diverse group of thought leaders from throughout the industry — architects, engineers, contractors, software developers, educators, diplomats, and others — have introduced attendees to the concepts of BIM, augmented reality, additive manufacturing, laser scanning, drones, computational design, and much more. They have also posited ideas about how technology can transform our industry, make our collective lives better, and lead to a more sustainable and better-managed built environment.
The Visionaries Forum has introduced ground-breaking technology as well as showcased practitioners who are walking the walk every day and pushing their organizations forward. There has been a fairly organic ebb and flow of the Visionaries Forum over the years. Some presentations have been more grounded in the practical, and others have left us reaching for a connection. Regardless, the networking that follows is filled with conversation contemplating the pros and cons of working together in new and different ways.
If you are like many of my colleagues or me, you have come away from past forums and subsequent discussions energized and inspired to bring these new tools and ideas into your practice or organization. The question often arises, “How can we use that tool or idea in our business?” or “How can that improve our process?” As I look at the firms I have worked with over the years, technological opportunities seem to be enabling meaningful incremental improvements and real gains in productivity. However, the overall process and the system we all work within remains fundamentally the same.
Together with Nancy Greenwald, executive director of the Construction Institute, I recently presented a webinar to the American Bar Association’s Forum on Construction Law where we reviewed and discussed some of the inherent conflicts between how the contracts we work with every day ignore or are in actual conflict with the technology systems and processes that are in use. How can we close that gap? Given that, according to the real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, there was just over $1 billion invested in construction-related technology firms in the first six months of 2018, the forecast would seem to indicate there will be no slowdown in new technology. A greater understanding by all involved in the A/E/C industry will be critical, and complete reimagining may be required.
To that end, the 10th annual Visionaries Forum will bring together another esteemed cast of industry experts. Chris Toomey of McKinsey & Company, Roberto Bicchiarelli of Permasteelisa, Fiona Cousins of ARUP, Jon Pickard of Pickard Chilton, and Fady Saad of MassRobotics, will engage in a far-reaching discussion of where we are today and where we might be headed as we continue to infuse our practices and processes with more and more technology.
Please join us at the Construction Institute’s 10th annual Visionaries Forum. This hallmark event has become a premier gathering for the A/E/C industry. Learn from pioneers who are shaping the future of design and construction and changing the way the built environment will be managed in years to come.
Steven G. Haines, is director of technical operations at BVH Integrated Services,