Elliott Crossley: Technology is the future of architecture, but it won’t replace you

BIM Voice Elliot Crossley

At BIMcrunch we asked some of the industry experts who are speaking at BIM Show Live 2017 to give us an insight into what they will be sharing in their seminars and to tell us a little bit more about what is shaping the world of BIM in the year ahead.

Elliott Crossley from BDP will be speaking on Day 1 in the Next Generation Stream, with a more philosophical view on technology. Elliott is also speaking on Day 2 in the Strategy Stream at 11.45am.

Closing the sessions for Day 1 will be Elliot Crossley from BDP with a more philosophical view on technology, yes we need it but it will never replace the human element needed for creativity and empathy with a project.

It’s 2050. 66% of us live in urban areas, with a global population approaching 10 billion people. Technology is ever more symbiotic with everyday life. Everything is connected. The construction industry looks vastly different than it did 35 years ago. So how did we get here? Are we any more sustainable than we were then? And how many people actually live on Mars?!

In 2017, our ability to respond to the demands of future society relies on us embracing the technological advances on offer. As the environmental impact of urbanisation squeezes the construction industry to work harder, we must find tools, processes and mindsets to allow us to appropriately respond. And that begins with people.

BIM is 10% technology, 90% sociology. The three key factors to a successful project are 1) Communication, 2) Communication, and 3) Communication. In its simplest form, Building Information Modelling (BIM) should be the mechanism to allow that communication to happen.

If we see BIM as the complete source of project knowledge, then it is within this arena that we exchange intelligence. And that can be done most effectively when we speak the same language, through a consistent data structure. In this scenario, we can create a forum where all stakeholders are actively engaged. We can extract, evaluate and test design options against whole life cost in real time. When design data becomes totally transparent, we make better decisions.

However, the limiting factor in this set-up is, once again, people. Current contracts monetise risk and the long-term ‘blame culture’ remains rife in our industry. Trust is not a term we are particularly familiar with.

Only through true collaboration, are we able to develop new ways to interact within teams. Through the use of digital tools, we now create relational project databases to take the throne where drawings once ruled. It’s a very exciting time to be an Architect. I believe we will emerge from this ‘Era of Disruption’ with a very difference set of skills in the design office. Our focus firstly needs to shift towards ensuring the integrity of our design data, as good quality data becomes the guardian of a good quality product. After all, Architects don’t provide buildings, they provide information.

Computer Programming, Data Management, Machine Learning, Material Technology, Multi-System Pre-fabrication, 3D Printing, Responsive Design, Smart Cities; all key ingredients in baking a sustainable future for our built environment. But the ultimate place to create that future is in your imagination, and technology doesn’t have imagination (yet).

Elliott Crossley, Associate, BDP

BIM Show Live, Day 1 4.30pm