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Architectural sector has ‘long way to go’ in digital transformation, says report

Vr soluis
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A growing number of architects are embracing technology but the sector still has a ‘long way to go’ to realise its digital transformation, according to new research

The joint report by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Microsoft found that 35 per cent of architects use at least one form of virtual reality technology.

It also found that 79 per cent stated that adopting the new tools was leading to improved efficiency on projects, with 87 per cent agreeing that digital technologies were transforming the way that they work.

The Digital Transformation in Architecture report – which surveyed 300 professionals – explores both the benefits and challenges of the innovative technologies that are changing the way architects work.

But while use of digital technology is growing, according to Ben Highfield, surface product manager at Microsoft UK, the digital transformation of the architecture sector still has ’a long way to go’.

Practices must continue to prepare employees with the digital skills they need for success

’To thrive in a digital future, architectural practices must continue to prepare employees with the direction and digital skills they need for success,’ he said.

He added: ’In fact, getting this culture of digital transformation right will help architectural practices to thrive – using new innovations to create buildings that will have a positive impact on communities.’

The report details how digital ways of working, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), a process for creating and managing information on a construction project are improving the productivity and efficiency of architectural practices.

The report concludes that adopting new technologies can improve how practices work and what they deliver.

Lucy Carmichael, director of practice at the RIBA said: ’Architects are uniquely placed to meet the challenges brought by digital transformation.

’The adoption of transformative technology is not just about bringing productivity and efficiency to architectural services, it’s also about the continuous improvement in project outcomes – creating buildings fit for the challenges we face now and in future, and which have a positive impact on users, communities and the environment.

The use of digital technologies promises to have a positive impact on the buildings we create and the next wave of digital transformation will open new, exciting opportunities for architectural practices.’

Highfield added: ’The UK has led the way when it comes to digitising the design process, and technologies such as BIM and Mixed Reality are already helping practices across the country reimagine the way they design, create, present and collaborate.’ 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • John Gilbert Architects

    This is quite simply untrue. As an architect who works with BIM I know the claims made here are rubbish. Architects who are involved in all stages of the design and construction process know that successful projects are delivered through improved communications between team members, not digital technology. The complexity of BIM just offers more opportunities for mistakes on site.
    BIM and Digital construction technologies have been foisted on the construction industry by the computer software and service industries, without any demand other than on very high end projects. What the construction sector is crying out for is an increase in the number of skilled tradesmen on site and a reinforcement and recovery of traditional construction skills, not more digital tech.

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