The CONSTRUCT AEC Education & Expo is about breaking down barriers and bringing together different disciplines within the construction industry — such as architects, designers, owners, and contractors. It’s a conference known for some of the best educational programs on industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies. This year’s show didn’t disappoint with more than 50 amazing breakout sessions on all aspects of construction.

From prefabrication to mass timber to adopting collaborative software, a few trends were apparent throughout the conference. Here are some of the top takeaways from the 2019 CONSTRUCT AEC Education & Expo.

1. Preconstruction is the new competitive advantage

BuildingConnected’s own Angela Santurbano, Lead Product Manager of BC Pro, gave two great presentations on trends surrounding preconstruction. She took the stage at the coffee talk lounge to have a candid conversation on the future of preconstruction. Angela talked to attendees about how preconstruction has evolved over the past decade, where it’s headed, and how it’s become the biggest opportunity to get ahead in today’s competitive market.

Angela’s second presentation was on the five qualities of a highly effective preconstruction process. Over the past two decades, construction productivity has only grown on average 1% a year. Angela gave insight into how to solve the productivity problem and improve project outcomes by bringing the preconstruction process into the digital age. This includes all stages of preconstruction; design collaboration, model coordination, estimating, procurement, and risk management. She broke down the five areas of focus and gave an informative demo on BuildingConnected’s BC Pro product for owners and general contractors.

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2. Prefabricated and modularized construction is gaining steam

Prefabrication and modularized construction is taking AEC by storm and transforming the industry. It isn’t a new construction concept, but it has become an increasingly popular option to save time and create better quality construction. The global market for modular construction was $92 billion in 2018 and is projected to grow to $130 billion by 2023, according to MarketandMarkets Research.

Peter Babaian, Principal at Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, gave an overview of the current state of prefabrication and discussed how to overcome the challenges of using this type of construction. According to Peter, prefabricated panels can be structurally unsound, misaligned, poorly integrated, or improperly constructed. But one of the main ways to overcome these challenges is to make sure project teams recognize the importance of early buy-in from every team member. If everyone isn’t in agreement, then it can lead to delays, added costs, and subpar performance.

3. Mass timber is becoming more and more popular

Some view mass timber as an architectural fad, but others see it as a viable and cost-effective option, especially for large-scale structural wood systems. These five projects prove that mass timber is here to stay, but it’s still a hotly debated topic in the construction industry despite its increasing popularity. David Barber, Principal at Arup, gave an insightful talk about the benefits and limitations of mass timber.

According to David, the main benefits of mass timber are sustainability, aesthetics, and quicker construction times. Despite that, mass timber still has limitations on how it can be used under the international building code (IBC). This wasn’t the only time mass timber was the topic of discussion. The use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), a form of mass timber, was even brought up by Peter Emmons’, President at Structural Technologies, as one of the 10 significant trends impacting the AEC community.

Thank you, CONSTRUCT AEC Education & Expo!

It was a pleasure attending the 2019 CONSTRUCT AEC Education & Expo, being able to meet some of the leading construction professionals, and hearing their thoughts on the trends shaping our industry.

If you weren’t able to attend CONSTRUCT AEC Education & Expo and would like to schedule a demo, get in touch!

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