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7 common AEC challenges and how location intelligence helps to overcome them

In a business environment such as AEC industry (architecture, engineering and construction), where the business is project-centered it is essential to find innovative ways to overcome the seven most encountered challenges. Let’s explore these challenges, what causes them and how location intelligence, the driving force behind digital transformation of the AEC industry, can embody a robust solution.

To deal with the pressure caused by global trends (growth and aging population, urban infrastructure, urbanization, climate changes, etc.) the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that just to keep pace, the world must build 1,000 structures per day and invest $3.7 trillion per year in infrastructures until 2035. Yet, there is an estimated spending gap of $5.5 trillion.

Nonetheless, infrastructures are not the only ones to feel the pressure. Enterprises and organizations such as AEC (environmental consulting firms) or municipal organizations feel it as well. They must do more (be more productive) and must do better (more resilient and sustainable projects) and they must work with fewer resources.

AEC enterprises are different from other types of organizations, whereas the businesses are centered on projects. Let’s focus on the projects that are part of the AECs’ daily activities.

What are 7 common challenges faced by AECs over the course of their projects?

  1. They need context on what they are doing, such as bringing GIS context into their design workflows.
  2. They need 3D (Why does Esri do 3D).
  3. Sometimes, work crews are dispersed all over the world, technology must therefore connect them and have powerful collaboration capabilities.
  4. To be coherent with customer requests and goals, they are asked to provide digital deliverables (StoryMap on AEC project delivery subscription for ArcGIS).
  5. They need to have an interoperable capacity to centralize data and information, such as a central repository.
  6. They must be able to work at different levels.
  7. Above all, these challenges exist in the many projects that need to be managed simultaneously.

As we move through the AEC’s project lifecycle, data and information accumulate and are sometimes difficult to manage for the above reasons. Typical AEC projects go through this back and forth where they zigzag through the phases of the project, as shown by the yellow line in the image below. Depending on the projects, this can mean one enterprise with many departments, or several enterprises that need to collaborate on the project, which makes everything more complex! What Esri wishes to accomplish is represented by the orange curve; that is to find ways to simplify these transitions and to make inter and intra-organizational communication and collaboration more fluid through these phases.

Graph shows the connection between Data and Information and the Infrastructure Life Cycle. The process is Plan, Collect, Analyze, Design, Construct, Asbuilt, Operate. A yellow line shows how the process is typically non-linear; an orange line indicates a linear process when Esri technology is used.

What is the potential solution for this prickly problem?

The Esri/AEC vision is to simplify the digital transformation of the AEC industry by using location intelligence to improve productivity of the teams. The BIM & GIS convergence (in French) helps to facilitate this transition. By supporting the implementation of new technologically advanced solutions for the industry and creating reproducible solutions on a large scale, we will be able to support the creation of new sources of revenue.

How does Esri technology provide key solutions for the pillars of the AEC industry?

The four main pillars of the AEC industry are: design and engineering, environmental consulting, construction, and asset management.

To support these pillars, there are workflows that can be implemented. We call them “key solution areas”, represented in mauve in the image below. These solution areas are:

Lastly, in terms of technological solutions that allow digital transformation of the AEC using geographic location, Esri offers a multitude of tools and apps, including ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro, as well as apps like ArcGIS Field Maps, Site Scan for ArcGIS,and  ArcGIS AEC Collections, a pre-packaged configuration of ArcGIS products specially designed for your AEC enterprise. All of this is part of Esri’s GIS system, which is a complete information management ecosystem. Leveraging the BIM-GIS strategic alliances will allow organizations to seize new opportunities and to resolve the complex challenges.

Graph indicating key strategies for AEC. The industry pillars are design and engineering, environmental consulting, construction, and asset management. Below are key solution areas: Field and Reality Capture, GIS & BIM, Project Delivery and Digital Traits. Below that are AEC Products Focus: ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro

If you wish to learn more about digital transformation of projects using geolocation, view this recorded webinar (in French) where we address how Esri technology allows organizations to create a holistic digital representation, in its entirety, of environments, assets, networks and cities. We explore how location intelligence can help increase and optimize the workflows of AEC projects, and we look at the digital twins concept and how Esri technology helps to integrate them.

This post was originally written in French by Audrey Beaudoin-Arcand and can be viewed here.