Washington, D.C. — Autodesk and Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced a strategic partnership under which Autodesk will provide ABC members with training on the latest innovations regardless of company size, type of work, or scope. The stated goal is to “enable construction professionals to work smarter by harnessing the power of the digital era to help increase productivity, reduce redundancy, and eliminate waste.”

“The Autodesk partnership is designed to help all ABC members prepare for the future by improving access to resources that will help achieve their goals of increasing safety performance, efficiency, and profitability,” said Michael Bellaman, ABC president and CEO. “In this era of connection, Autodesk is the right partner to help construction contractors explore these new opportunities through Building Information Modeling (BIM), 3D design and visualization, fabrication, unmanned aerial vehicles, mobile and cloud collaboration, and other technologies now available and those not yet on the market. That’s how ABC members will develop people, win work, and deliver value to clients in the future.”

ABC will benefit from Autodesk’s Construction Solutions and expertise and Autodesk will gain further understanding of the challenges that impact the construction trades and work with ABC toward solutions.

According to Sarah Hodges, director, Construction Business Line, Autodesk, many construction workers left the industry during the recent recession, and not all of them have come back as the industry has recovered. “That definitely creates a need for more skilled labor in the workforce — both for the existing generation today, but also we want to make sure we’re inspiring future generations to move into the construction industry,” she said. “We believe that partnering with the ABC, we can reach the tens of thousands of construction professionals that are already part of the ABC family. We can bring our expertise around the industry as well as technology to the table.

“It’s less about mandating the use of certain tools, and more about the process at large,” she said.

With all the advances in technology, it seemed to be a great opportunity to allow Autodesk to use feedback on the technology from ABC members and use Autodesk experts to help train members, Bellaman said. “It’s just a constant challenge for our members to keep up with [technology],” he said. “That constant training is important — whether in the office on the white collar side or in the field on the blue collar side.”

“The construction industry is undergoing a true technology evolution which Autodesk believes, if fully embraced, will reduce risk and strengthen the economic future of the industry,” said Nicolas Mangon, vice president, industry strategy and marketing, Autodesk. “This partnership will benefit ABC and Autodesk by enabling the people and the products they use to more efficiently construct the world around us from concept through operations, and the office to the field.”   

Design to operation

“We want to help the construction industry understand the continued value of documentation …up and downstream,” Hodges said. “Showing them how the information not only can be used and viewed in 2D, but also bring them more into the 3D world that many of the design community is living within today.”

“The whole focus on collaborative delivery methods — being involved earlier in the design and construction process when projects are originated — contractors provide tremendous value to the team of architects and developers,” Bellaman said. “Getting everybody on a BIM model together just facilitates a much more collaborative conversation, whether it’s taking a look at various systems — how they might perform in a specific area on a specific project — and being able to do that in a virtual environment makes a lot of sense.

“In the field, utilizing the technology — iPads and drones and stuff — it turns into a paperless project with real-time questions and answers,” Bellaman said. “It facilitates that type of conversation a lot quicker and makes it a lot more efficient, drives down the cost, and drives up the value to the client.”

The information created and captured by construction software will play a major role in the jobsite of the future. This strategic partnership will help give ABC members an understanding of and access to the latest innovations and the edge they need to stay competitive as the industry transforms. Autodesk will have the opportunity to work with construction industry leaders and members of the community to foster construction research and client development.

Hodges said that Autodesk will begin the process by working closely with ABC chapters to share expertise and insight.