The future of design and creation
17 November 2016

In a recent PwC survey, 64% of leaders in the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry believe that there are now more threats to the growth of their company than 3 years ago. Of those surveyed, 74% recognise that technology will play an important part in keeping them competitive and innovative1. Already, some companies are using 3D printers to create parts of their building projects, while drones are sent to survey sites.


But technology is set to transform the AEC landscape on a much grander scale. Here are 3 future trends that your SME can get ahead of to stay relevant in the industry.

Eco-friendly designs

As global warming becomes more severe, there will be an increased demand for the AEC industry to craft sustainable structures, with a reduced carbon footprint. 

2016 has already seen the sustainable construction movement earn $245 billion2 in revenue.

Singapore is no stranger to greener building practices. Just last month, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) awarded $8.4 million in grants to sustainable building projects. This is part of their effort to “encourage public-private collaborations to develop smart and sustainable technology for the built environment.” 3


Projects that received grants include a Green Building Management System which harnesses the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor energy and water consumption, and thermal comfort tracking system.  

If you would like to incorporate sustainable building practices into your projects, browse the BCA site for information like greener construction material and improving building valuation with eco-friendly features.

Data and the cloud take centre stage

Big data analysis is transforming how businesses plan, design and construct worldwide. Past data can now be collated and used to create more accurate structural planning in future. As senior industry strategist for civil infrastructure Terry D. Bennet explains, “Competitive advantage will hinge on leveraging data to make not just a better building or bridge, but a better experience and a sustainable one at that” 4.  This minimises the amount of planning and work needed for each new project, boosting productivity, saving resources and accelerating completion speeds.


Furthermore, big data and cloud have facilitated easy collaboration across platforms for more cohesive project execution. Autodesk’s AutoCAD 360, for example, is an app that lets businesses create, view, edit and share their plans anywhere. Encouraging paperless workflow, the intuitive app eliminates the need for physical blueprints, allowing for the updating and sharing of data in real time.  


Prefabrication is defined as “the assembly of buildings or their components at a location other than the building site”. This includes at factory and manufacturing sites. Prefabricating components in these locations increase safety for labourers, as they are in a controlled, sheltered environment rather than susceptible to weather changes on-site. Prefabricated components can range from creating windows or doors, to entire buildings off-site.

This process can save businesses up to 65% in finances and 77% in construction site wastage.5 Prefabrication has even enabled the construction of a 57-storey tower within just 19 days.

Aided by technological advancements like 3D printing, robotics and laser scanning for field-scanning the Chinese Broad Sustainable Building company fast-tracked a residential cum office building at the incredible rate of three stories per day.6


Local SMEs looking to harness the prefabrication trend have a helping hand from the government. To increase productivity in the construction sector, 10 “integrated and prefabrication hubs” are expected to roll out by 2020.


Business can look forward to world-standard equipment and space to speed the construction process along. One recently established facility, the SEF SpaceHub is estimated to be “the most integrated precast facility in the world” with “the world's tallest fully automated racking system for storing prefabricated components”.7


Whether it’s implementing greener technology into construction or using 3D printers to expedite prefabrication, SMEs in the AEC industries should look into the latest trends and tech to avoid getting left behind.


Leading the industry in technological innovations is Autodesk. A world leader in the AEC industry, Autodesk provides cutting-edge solutions for all your project needs. From constructing smart, sustainable buildings to collaborative software that keeps your entire team updated in real-time, there’s an Autodesk solution for all your design and construction needs.


You do not have to go far for your Autodesk and smart solution needs. Appointed the first Autodesk value-added distributor in Southeast Asia, StarHub has the unique position of giving your business a leg up with top class solutions. To find out more, contact us at


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