It’s not every day that we can find something that young, bright-eyed students and grizzled industry veterans alike can agree upon, so hold on to your hat: both sides think that productivity-enhancing technologies — including computer-aided design (CAD), building information modeling (BIM), and virtual design and construction (VDC) tools — are the key to success within the construction industry.
In a recent survey of students studying architecture, engineering, or construction management, Autodesk found that nearly two thirds of respondents felt prepared for the workforce. When asked what skills or tools were most beneficial in helping them prepare, more than 85 percent gave “3D CAD/Design” their vote.
The students were also quite clear on what they viewed as the biggest hurdle facing the construction industry. More than a third cited “poor communication and collaboration” — an area which received nearly twice as many votes as the next most frequently named category, “lack of industry knowledge”.
These responses dovetail nicely with the findings of a recent white paper by the Economist Intelligence Unit —sponsored by Autodesk — entitled “Rethinking productivity across the construction industry: The challenge of change”. www.autodesk.com/economist
The report drew on a survey of 250 global construction industry professionals, nearly three quarters of whom hold C-suite positions. In their opinion, a more rapid uptake of emerging technologies offered the greatest potential for improving productivity in the construction sector.
The chief concern among this group of professionals was revealed to be “lack of skilled labor”, which they felt presented the biggest challenges to increasing productivity in their organization.
The good news here? Everyone is on the same page: construction companies want skilled employees who know how to use the latest technologies; meanwhile, students have recognized these very same technologies as a key priority for workforce readiness. Given this alignment of interests, it’s only a matter of time before the construction industry turns “the challenge of change” into “the era of productivity”.