Spring into action

Editorial Type: Comment Date: 2021-04-01 Views: 1,831 Tags: CAD PDF Version:
By David Chadwick

Here in the UK we are slowly emerging from the ravages of a global pandemic which has dramatically altered the way we live and work, certainly for the short term, but with longer-lasting changes which many experts believe we would have seen in the next couple of decades or so regardless, Covid-19 having simply accelerated their introduction.

The most prominent of these are the huge increase in people working from home and the digitalisation of industry and associated technologies which have made this possible. Whilst dispersing the workforce may have knock-on effects for transport and regionalisation – with schemes for moving communication and government bodies out of the capital, for instance – technology developments are bringing new efficiencies to all industries, using the pandemic as a catalyst for change.

To this end, in this issue we have the thoughts of several industry leaders who outline their views on the new drivers in their respective fields. Marian Thomasson, Marketing Manager at Tekla looks at the challenges of digital connectivity in a changing world, explaining that, with project teams dispersed across the country and people forced to work from home, connectivity has never been so important. Digital connectivity goes beyond merely connecting people however - it also involves connecting data and workflows to BIM software, with the benefits and uptake extending beyond the coronavirus crisis.

Also in this issue Mark Coates, Strategic Industry Engagement Director at Bentley Systems writes about the need to incorporate data-driven procedures to ensure buildings are safer in the wake of the Grenfell Disaster, concurring with a recent report from HSE's Chief Inspector of Buildings, Peter Baker. We also have Mike Petinella, Autodesk’s Director of EMEA Sales, exploring the ramifications of the Spring Budget and the role that digital technologies will play in supporting its infrastructure investment.

Taking a different slant, a recent roundtable discussion at the Access Group's Access All Areas online conference highlighted a particular issue affecting the industry, namely the reluctance of contractors to embrace new technologies because, in many cases, they fail to see the benefits in doing so.

Of equal significance is the recent Bentley TwinTalks online interview with Rachel Skinner, the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Rachel spoke about Shaping Zero, her specially commissioned film for ICE, which explores the need to strive for infrastructure sustainability, issuing an urgent call for every civil engineer involved in infrastructure projects to work towards a Net-Zero Carbon outcome.

We have reached the point, Rachel explained in her talk, where it is not enough to merely acknowledge the issue or make some token gesture in its direction. We need to drive it to the forefront of every decision we make in every project. The message is a stark one, and is critically important if we are to halt current trends.

Finally, and in keeping with the themes of the articles outlined above, we have a new report from Autodesk in partnership with Frost & Sullivan that highlights how adopting sustainability strategies can also be a key driver in giving companies a competitive edge.