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Shaping the Future of AEC: Design Trends for 2020
Shaping the Future of AEC: Design Trends for 2020

Industries of all types are rapidly facing changes as our world continues to advance technologically and environmentally. These changes are bringing about new trends, especially in the AEC industry; all of which are initiating new obstacles and challenge our current way of providing services to our customers. Engineers at Primera are constantly monitoring new industry trends to provide the most efficient and effective solutions for our clients. We presented the question to some of our professional engineers and asked their opinions on the changes that are coming for 2020 and beyond. Below are some of their responses and predictions for the future of AEC.

 

WHAT’S TRENDING IN AEC DESIGN IN 2020?

“I believe one of the growing trends will surround how we react to global climate change and its effects on our local environment. Not only do we need to be more conscious of how our projects are impacting the world, but we also have to design with resiliency in mind to defend against more frequent and severe weather effects like floods, earthquakes, and wild fires, etc.”
Joe Avram, PE, LEED AP BD+C
Aviation Group Manager
“The simplification of tasks is a big trend right now, specifically as it relates to our transportation projects. For example, back in the not too distant day, two engineers would travel the entire Indiana Toll Road (160 miles long) and interchanges, take photos, write down the details (location/issue type), go back to compile the information and put into a spreadsheet, and then submit to maintenance for action in the form of a 300-page report. This process took up to three weeks. Sometimes, within that timeframe the maintenance crew had already remedied a lot of the issues.
Recently, the Indiana Department of Transportation began using an app that allows engineers to track maintenance items with the snap of a photo. Now, you can just take the photo through the app and it automatically populates the location information. You can then follow the prompts to specify the issue type and upload it in real time. In the future, we may be able to use smart glasses, such as Google Glass, where all one would have to do is look at the issue and speak the issue type as you drive by!”

K-Todd Behling, PE
Civil Engineer
“Nowadays, with everything becoming ‘smart,’ including electric grids, implementing technological solutions and infrastructure are the main focus of the electrical industry. In 2020, Distribution Automation and Voltage Optimization are trending as a part of the smart grid system in order to improve reliability, increase optimization and reduce overall operating cost of the grid.”
Shrutika Dere
Electrical Engineer
“We are seeing more owner inquiries and requests for active shooter and mass notification systems. These systems are becoming more prevalent in facilities to enhance security and life safety.”
John Fetter, PE, REP, LEED Green Associate
Electrical Engineer
“Designs that add automation and communication between equipment are currently trending in 2020. The result will be shorter power outages and happier customers. It will be essential to understand how these devices function, especially when you factor in the added complexity of distributed generation in the form of solar and wind power onto the grid.”
Scott Kuyken, PE
Electrical Engineer
“In the document control/retention arena there is a growing need for drawing retention from older utility companies. Being able to scan an old hand-drawn drawing and making a hybrid CAD drawing isn’t enough anymore. Companies are looking for drawings that contain only vector (digital) data. Some CAD programs can digitize these old hand-drawn drawings, but they still need a lot of clean up to make them usable. I think we will see more and more utility companies requesting to have their old raster drawings converted into all-digital copies.”
Laura Wand
Support Services Group Manager
“Basic data such as aerials and contours are becoming increasingly available and easier to acquire at higher and higher resolutions through open-data sharing agreements. Instead of paying for costly subscription services we can access aerial imagery through governmental GIS departments, Bing Maps, ESRI and other open data sources. Some county sources are even providing web services to access their data on the fly instead of requiring engineers to download and store locally. This speeds up our workflow and reduces cost to the clients.”

Frank Zurek, PE
Transportation Engineer

Shaping the Future of AEC: Design Trends for 2020

Changes in AEC industry trends will have a huge impact on the way technology is used in project execution in an effort to create a more sustainable and resilient future.