When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, government agencies and AEC professionals were forced to digitize their processes, which ultimately led to a fundamental shift in how the industry approaches and understands project lifecycles.
With no signs that the industry will go back to pre-pandemic workflows and processes, digital transformation within government agencies and the AEC industry is here to stay and will only continue to revolutionize, modernize, and evolve how spaces are built, designed, optimized, and operated.
If there’s anything that these past two years have taught the AEC industry and government agencies, it’s that fostering modernized, accessible, extensible, and open data driven workflows leads to increased collaboration across AEC firms and disciplines. AEC digital transformation has proven that a data-centric and digitized industry is delivering more projects on-time and eliminating surprise costs during project lifecycles.
According to Nicolas Mangon, Autodesk’s Vice President of AEC Strategy, “Data is the fuel for digital transformation.” And through Autodesk’s push to modernize and connect every aspect of AEC project workflows, government agencies and industry professionals are now able to do just that.
Last October, Autodesk University 2021 held a special AEC keynote session, led by Mangon and Autodesk’s Director of AEC Industry and Product Marketing, Leona Frank, on how Autodesk is revolutionizing AEC project lifecycles by putting open data first, and providing government agencies and other AEC project stakeholders with a cloud environment that supports data accessibility and interoperability.
Shareability and Interoperability
According to Mangon, Autodesk’s vision is “to give you access to the data and its insights throughout the project lifecycle by enabling a collective and continuous data flow.” With Autodesk’s Forge platform, government agencies and AEC professional can now make the best and most impactful decisions that will enable efficient workflows across project firms and multidisciplinary teams.
Forge is built to provide a secure foundation for data sharing, and it is also built with a structure of common practices, technologies, and experiences to build, house, and operate the industry solutions of the future. When data is organized for accessibility and shareability, it empowers efficient and effective workflows across tools and teams.
“Autodesk’s vision is that Forge is the foundation to manage all of your data,” said Frank. And this data management is not limited to just Autodesk APIs. Through Autodesk Forge, users can connect their Autodesk Revit data directly to Microsoft Power Automate, making building information modeling (BIM) data accessible and interoperable for users across all project disciplines.
“You won’t have to worry about whether your file ends with DWG or RVT,” said Frank. “Instead, you share the data components you need across projects, regardless of discipline, product, or format.”
By utilizing the Autodesk Forge platform, users can also connect hundreds of third-party tools like Excel, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Drive, and automate tasks such as collecting data and synchronizing files.
Autodesk Construction Cloud
According to Mangon, one of Autodesk’s main goals over the past few years has been to connect architecture, engineering, and construction workflows throughout the planning, designing, and building phases of a project. “That’s why we created the Autodesk Construction Cloud environment on the Forge platform,” explained Mangon.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, AEC professionals and government agencies rushed to modernize their workflows and processes, which included a mass migration to cloud and remote work environments.
Once the initial dust settled and AEC professionals began to adjust to working within a centralized cloud ecosystem, it didn’t take long for the industry to begin realizing the benefits of a modernized, collaborative, and data-driven project lifecycle.
Through the Autodesk Construction Cloud, all project team members, no matter their discipline, are now connected and are able to collaborate more efficiently and effectively than ever before. When team workflows are fully connected, especially in the planning and designing phases, project construction and handover are optimized, allowing for a data-rich, turnkey experience for the owner/operator.
Owner/Operator support through Autodesk Tandem
In a perfect world, data gathered during construction should move smoothly into the hands of the owner/operator in the form of a data-centric, model-based, digital handover. Then, throughout the life of the building or space, owners continue to use the model to gather and store performance data and maintenance insights. This information will add value to their portfolio and inform the planning for their next projects.
“In this ideal world, the project lifecycle is a figure eight, with data continuously feeding improvements,” said Mangon. “But as you all know, the world of AEC is not the ideal world.”
Mangon explained that, more often than not, owners cannot use the handover models that were created during construction. What owners need is a digital twin that is a replica of the building or space, that they can then use during operation.
With a digital twin, owners/operators are able to connect their building or space to their IoT and maintenance systems. With Autodesk Forge and Autodesk Tandem, the owner/operator experience will be fully optimized by having digital twin technology that organizes, designs, and builds data for a smooth digital transition to operations. This data will be used to optimize the asset for a better experience.