Looking back at the year’s AEC trends

AEC Weekly magazine ticks off the top 10 trends affecting architects, engineers, and consultants.


Between a historical presidential election and dismal economy, 2008 brought significant change (good and bad) to the architecture, engineering, and consulting industry. AEC Weekly magazine summarized the top 10 trends affecting the field over the past year.

1. Building information modeling: Although BIM chatter has been heard for years, the number of projects actually benefitting from its use are increasing.
2. Bentley/Autodesk Interoperability Agreement: This pact stands to greatly improve the accuracy and speed of project information flow.
3. Emerging market standards: Companies are reacting to standards such as IFC, LEED, buildingSMART Alliance, and the National BIM Standard and ISO 15926.
4. Creating flat liability on projects: Risk management concerns regarding AEC projects has led stakeholders from all sides to take a new look at minimizing exposure.
5. Nemetschek Goes to Parasolid: By picking Siemens PLM Parasolid engine as the new foundation for 3-D in their product, Vectorworks 2009, the company is helping bring the usefulness of BIM to architects’ attention.
6. Algorithmic design; GenerativeComponents (GC), derived from Bentley’s first Applied Research Group, is now a commercial product using algorithmic design. The product has been embraced by architects looking to explore a range of alternatives cost effectively.
7. 3-D printing: These accurate, detailed views have breathed new life into physical architectural presentation modeling, taking far less time than hand-built designs of the past.
8. Digital cities: Autodesk’s LandXplorer allows a city to create infrastructure models quickly, delivering an expanded level of data sharing.
9. Integrated project delivery process: Establishing common terminology, fostering cooperation among stakeholders, and improving communication overall smoothes the process from inception to execution.
10. Cloud computing: This technology enables firms to free themselves from the oppression of providing Internet and other communication infrastructure by using Amazon Cloud services, Microsoft Live Mesh, or others to only pay for the service they actually use.

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