To Challenges Overcome

By Luke Carothers

The last twelve months have been a special time for the AEC industry as a whole, and we at Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine have been lucky enough to cover projects from every corner of the industry, featuring projects and firms that made a difference–big or small.  Our last twelve issues have been filled with examples of achievement from around the globe.  Whether its a water infrastructure project that provides clean water to a village of 30 people in Romania or a massive lifting project in Times Square, our aim has and always will be to provide information about projects and thought leadership that are elevating the AEC industry.

This banner year for the AEC industry was nearly universal as we covered projects in Romania, Saudi Arabia, Latvia, Egypt, Canada, France, and the United States to name a few.  This is indicative of the global AEC industry’s constant movement to reexamine the way we interact with, plan, and construct the built environment.  New tools and technologies are being developed and deployed at a rapid pace with the larger effect of revolutionizing the way the AEC industry works.  The digital revolution is nothing new, but the reverberating effects of its adoption and settling are beginning to fuel this revolution.  

These new technologies and capabilities have made many aspects of the AEC industry more collaborative and has given rise to the necessity of collecting and interpreting data.  In turn, this has fundamentally changed the way firms, project managers, owners, and stakeholders interact and think about the challenges that lie in front of the AEC industry.  This paradigm shift has led to a more outward-facing understanding of how projects are constructed.  As more and more processes become digital and new technologies emerge to further augment the way we construct the built environment, firms can no longer exist as silos of data and information.  Rather, to support this new way of planning, constructing, and maintaining projects, firms have had to open themselves up to the outside from a digital perspective.

While this paradigm shift certainly changes the way firms handle data and information about projects, it also changes the way they identify themselves and structure their business.  Firms that previously wouldn’t take a risk on a new or challenging project now find themselves capable of overcoming specific obstacles because they are better equipped to identify, model, and communicate specific issues both internally and with other project stakeholders.  Whether its using drones to provide geotechnical analysis at fractional cost or using more sophisticated BIM models to predict how wind will affect a high-rise construction in New York City, firms are becoming more confident in their ability to effectively use new technologies as part of their planning and growth practices.

As the AEC enters another new year, we do so on solid foundations secured by the trials and tribulations of the previous.  With newly developing tools and a growing foundation of interconnectedness, the AEC industry is imbued with the confidence to tackle the challenges not only of the coming year, but of all the challenges even our youngest children will face.  At Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine, we are excited to celebrate the coming year as the AEC industry rises to meet and overcomes the challenges of all those who depend upon the built environment.


Luke Carothers is the Editor for Civil + Structural Engineer Media. If you want us to cover your project or want to feature your own article, he can be reached at lcarothers@zweiggroup.com.