11.07.2018 | By Arlinda Sipilä

The construction industry is going digital and things are moving fast. We dug a little deeper into a few key areas which are likely to have a great impact on the industry in the years to come.

This blog post continues our new weekly series discussing the 6 key trends in the construction industry, one topic at a time. You can find the previous topic here:

If you would prefer, you can also download the whole 6 Key trends in the construction industry article now in PDF format.

Key trends in the construction industry

The construction industry, often seen as a relatively conservative field, has over the last few years started to change rapidly. New technology has become available, and it is helping to make construction processes both simpler and easier to manage.

“You can see the parallels with the vehicle industry, which was able to streamline its production processes at an early stage. Eight to ten years ago, the construction industry started heading in the same direction, and now things are moving fast”, says Markus Waser, Head of Training in Construction Technology and Community Construction at Yrgo in Gothenburg.

Digital models as legal documents

The term BIM has been common parlance in the construction industry for some time, and the next step is allowing the use of digital models as legal documents. Sölve Harr is in charge of CAD and BIM at Sweco Systems. He believes that BIM needs to be assigned the same status as PDFs have been for the 2D world.

“Paper plans have been standardised. We now need to standardise BIM in the same way so that digital plans can be classed as legally binding documents.”

For the redevelopment of Stockholm’s Slussen area, the client – the City of Stockholm – stated in its tender that it wanted to move away from paper plans and instead use the 3D model as the legally binding document.

“The problem is that this kind of thing is often used for the big prestige projects, whereas it’s actually much easier to apply on a smaller scale. The calculations and quantity take-off need to be right”, Sölve says.

Jonathan Eriksson, CEO of BST Teknik AB, shares this belief. He emphasised to us the importance of ensuring that everything is correct right from the start.

“It’s fantastic that we can complete the quantity take-off for several kilometres of piping in the space of just a few seconds. It would take at least a week if we were planning on paper. But we need to be able to be certain that everything in the model is correct. Here at BST Teknik, we are focused exclusively on making fire extinguishing systems. We only have a few components – maybe thirty or forty – so it’s easy to keep track, even on big projects. But in other disciplines, it can be harder to take responsibility for ensuring that everything is correct. I hope that the experience gained from the Slussen project in using digital plans as a legally binding document will be positive, so that this practice can become widespread”, he said.