Last week was a huge step forward for BuildingConnected and the industry with the launch of the Autodesk Construction Cloud™, giving teams what they need to connect people and data from design through operations. To usher in a new era of connected construction, we announced it at the 2019 Connect & Construct Summit, a full-day event before Autodesk University Las Vegas focusing on trends in the construction industry.

There were more than 80 amazing classes and workshops from customers, partners, BuildingConnected, and the rest of the Autodesk Construction Solutions family. Here are some of the highlights and top takeaways from the 2019 Connect & Construct Summit.

connect & construct

Connect & Construct keynote on the Autodesk Construction Cloud

The Connect & Construct Summit keynote was the marquee event of the day. Jim Lynch, Vice President & General Manager at Autodesk Construction Solutions, talked about connected construction and the need to further improve collaboration before announcing the launch of the Autodesk Construction Cloud. He was followed by Autodesk’s own Stephanie Ho, Global Head of Customer Success; Richard Parker, Product Manager; and Sameer Merchant, Head of Site Construction, to talk about the new product features for preconstruction and on-site, and what the newly combined capabilities will mean for our customers.

Michael Murphy and Simon Tritschler from BAM Ireland took the stage to showcase how they utilize the Autodesk Construction Cloud to digitize their workflows to improve safety and quality by 20%. We also heard from Jenny Moshea, Head of Technology at Sellen Construction, on how they use Autodesk to support their digital vision and strategy. Through BuildingConnected, Sellen Construction can prequalify subcontractors and be more inclusive, specifically focusing on Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).  Finally, Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operation for the Oakland Athletics, talked about how the power of data and analytics is transforming businesses of all sizes, in all industries, including construction.

Top 20 ENR customers talk about the secret to their success

General contractors are always trying to get ahead in today’s competitive construction landscape. One way to do that is with a collaborative, digitized, and streamlined preconstruction process. To get a glimpse into how ENR top 20 general contractors manage their preconstruction process, Mike Pettinella, BuildingConnected’s Head of General Contractor Sales, moderated a panel with Angeline Gleason, MEP Preconstruction Director at McCarthy Building Companies; David Hamilton, Director of Purchasing at Structure Tone; and Doug Heinrich, Estimating Director at Mortenson. All of these general contractors have something in common when it comes to their success — an optimized preconstruction process.

Panelists emphasized that technology has been the biggest improvement to preconstruction over the past five years. According to Doug Heinrich from Mortenson, projects are set up for success during the preconstruction phase. The key is having a plan for everything, whether it’s safety, scheduling, or finances. Angeline Gleason and McCarthy Building Companies have cultivated a successful preconstruction strategy by having an all-in mentality. Every department works together during the preconstruction phase to effectively develop budgets, manage the design, and develop bid packages. Over the next five years, David Hamilton at Structure Tone sees preconstruction evolving to artificial intelligence, more analytics, and supply chain management.

Mitigate risk with artificial intelligence, data, and machine learning

Today, general contractors identify and then address risk. Rinse and repeat. Justin Levine, Head of Risk Strategy for BuildingConnected, gave a great presentation on how to effectively mitigate risk in construction by using artificial intelligence, data, and machine learning. According to Justin, the problem is that assessing risk is a linear and very reactive process that can cause data and knowledge to become trapped within a project. That means crucial performance data doesn’t transfer from the field back into the next preconstruction cycle.

Field teams work with the subcontractors directly and have more insight into things like change orders, production, safety, and quality. In the past, field teams have tried to capture this information and make it actionable for risk teams by posting project surveys, performance evaluations, having internal meetings, and through word of mouth. But these forms of feedback are not consistent, scalable, or easy to record. To solve this problem, teams need to use technology to create feedback loops between projects, teams, phases, general contractors, and partners. With tools like TradeTapp and Construction IQ, builders can better anticipate a subcontractor’s future performance and reduce risk.

Wrap-up

It was a pleasure attending the 2019 Connect & Construct Summit and launching Autodesk Construction Cloud, a new unified and connected construction technology platform! We wanted to give a huge thank you to Autodesk, our customers, and to all who attended the event.

Weren’t able to make it? Join the webinar on Tuesday, December 10, at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET to learn about the new product announcements and how Autodesk Construction Cloud can transform your business.

As we approach the end of 2019, it's time to look ahead to next year. Here are the 2020 construction conferences you won’t want to miss.