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3 Technology Trends Shaping the Future of Design and Construction

The digital construction revolution is progressing rapidly and will continue to accelerate in 2018.

The engineering and construction sector is entering a new era with technology that is changing the way companies design, plan and execute projects. According to a World Economic Forum, the sector spends $10 trillion annually on construction-related goods and services and is “ready and able to begin its transformation”.

Engineering and construction projects are emerging around the world, from the creation of new smart cities to liquefied natural gas production, national infrastructure programs, and the construction program for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. According to a recent study by McKinsey, the adoption of the new technology could increase the sector’s value by approximately $1.6 trillion, which would represent 2% increase in the global economy.

So what are the major trends that will affect the engineering and construction sector in 2018?

Here are the 3 main trends that will shape the design and construction in 2018:

1. Continuation of the digital transition of the sector

The adoption of digital is a major opportunity for companies that use adapted technologies. In 10 years, the digital transition on a global scale will lead to enormous annual savings worldwide. For non-residential construction, this represents between $ 700 million and $ 1,200 billion for the design, engineering and construction phases and up to $500 million for the operation and maintenance phase. The opportunities for the sector are just beginning.

In addition, technology is radically transforming traditional business partnerships and laying the foundation for digital ecosystems. As the construction industry turns to cloud-based platforms, organizations will need to quickly develop strong partnerships to prepare for a growing collaborative network. For example, Some systems like Aconex is at the heart of this ecosystem of engineering and construction, and it is able to automate data synchronizations between the Aconex cloud platform and other systems like Dropbox, Box, and EarthCam reduce duplication, avoid errors, and save valuable time.

2. Data and indicators will play a greater role in project execution

The data is everywhere. In fact, Forbes believes that “the data is the new electricity”. Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – enough to fill 10 million Blu-ray discs. If we stack these disks on each other, their height would be equivalent to the height of 4 Eiffel towers. This is a considerable amount of data that will continue to grow exponentially.

For example, larger infrastructure projects generate an average of 130 million emails, 55 million documents, and 12 million workflows. Construction companies use this huge amount of data to perform a wide range of tasks, including upstream risk detection, proactive decision-making, and organizational process tracking. The time has come to share the data between companies – and the entire ecosystem – to foster good practice and continuous improvement.

3. Growing need for increased security

With the New Year starting, it’s essential for the engineering and construction industry to be confident that their data is secure.

A government survey in the UK in 2017 found that nearly 7 out of 10 large companies suffered a security breach or cyber-attack at some point, with losses estimated at hundreds of billions of pounds. Companies tremble at the possibility that their project information falls into the wrong hands. It has never been so important to ensure that:

  • No external party can alter the history of communications and documents shared between organizations, and
  • companies need to obtain ISO 27001 certification and need to implement two-factor authentication processes .

In May 2018, all residents and companies based in the European Union will have to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to protect their data. Any company processing data belonging to EU companies will have to follow these guidelines. The engineering and construction sector can proactively protect itself by integrating cybersafe technology into its processes (security on the Internet) while keeping itself informed by leaders in the field of information security.


According to Forbes, organizations in the sector are reluctant to embark on the digital transition because of their fears of cannibalization – fear of undermining the profitability of their business methods and replacing them with a new and unknown way of operating. But disrupting one’s own model may prove to be the only way to keep pace.

We are at a pivotal moment and it will be interesting to see how the engineering and construction sector will continue to evolve in 2018.

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