WELL Building Standard, Light over Ethernet, augmented hard hats – here’s a brief look at these and other AEC industry developments to watch in 2018, according to IMEG design professionals:
1. Ever-improving rendering plug-ins for Revit, allowing designers to quickly and efficiently provide end users with more powerful and enhanced 3-D model walkthroughs and design reviews.
2. Innovative technology applications made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT), such as voice-activated interfaces in hotel rooms, with data collected on guest preferences used to “program” the room for their next stay.
3. Artificial intelligence in the healthcare market – 35 percent of healthcare organizations surveyed in 2017 by Healthcare IT News and HIMSS Analytics planned to implement AI this year or in 2019.
4. New smart building options made possible by advances in Power over Ethernet (PoE), such as the closely related Light over Ethernet (LoE) systems, which use occupancy sensors to collect data on room usage to inform staff when a room needs to be cleaned.
5. Increased installation of distributed antenna systems (DAS) to enhance public safety radio communications in buildings within municipalities that have adopted newer versions of the IFC and NFPA, which have additional requirements for the safety and protection of first responders.
6. Growing demand by building owners for a converged building technology infrastructure that supports lighting, security, voice, data, audiovisual and other low voltage services in a single, coordinated package.
7. Expanded use of quadcopter drones – the most common models used on construction sites – to collect data for AEC firms. IMEG’s own drones will take flight on various projects in early 2018.
8. The use of ASHRAE 90.1-2016 Appendix G as a compliance path for new building projects seeking whole-building simulation-based code compliance (earlier versions of 90.1 only allowed Appendix G to be used for “beyond code” compliance).
9. Improvements in fiberglass window systems with high Condensation Reduction Factor ratings, potentially beneficial for hospitals and other buildings that are humidified in the winter and at risk for condensation and even frost.
10. Storm shelters designed to ICC-500 standards in new K-12 schools in six states and in portions of 17 additional states (where shelter design wind speeds are 250 mph), as required by the 2015 International Building Code.
11. Dynamic graphical programming that can tap into Revit’s database to access and manipulate building modeling data and automate processes, enabling a faster, more streamlined, and ultimately more cost-effective design process through construction.
12. The application of virtual reality in the delivery of healthcare in such areas as medical training, procedure planning, and patient distraction to improve recovery time or relieve stress and pain.
13. Augmented reality hardhats, allowing project team members to see designs of above-ceiling components (such as HVAC) overlaid in their field of vision of the actual space while walking through a construction site, enabling earlier identification and resolution of issues.
14. Laser scanning for data acquisition of infrastructure, project sites, and existing building conditions, with the findings imported directly into a building information model, improving accuracy and quality, and reducing the amount of time spent in the field doing take-offs.
15. The ascendance of renewable energy for new power generation facilities, now more economical than using fossil fuels according to research by investment bank Lazard.
16. Increased use of WELL Building Standard, Passive House Institute US (PHIUS+), and Living Building Challenge – three emerging building certifications that are changing the one-size-fits-all approach to the way buildings are constructed.
17. Measured energy performance benchmarks increasingly becoming part of owners’ project requirements – with ordinances in a growing number of cities (most recently, Chicago) requiring owners to document and publicly post their building’s performance.
18. A burgeoning industry focusing on thermal comfort and occupant well-being – led by the occupant-oriented WELL Building Standard, which also has certification alignments with LEED to help engineers and architects create an all-around healthy workplace while reducing a building’s mark on the environment.