Louay Dahmash, Head of Autodesk Middle East explains how technology is impacting the real estate and construction sector.

What are some of the technologies disrupting the construction and real estate industry?

There are a variety of technologies disrupting the construction and real estate industry – some of which include 3D printing, robotics, machine learning, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Connected BIM (Building Information Modelling). An interesting thing here is that many of these technologies have been deployed in other industries for decades now and became a de facto, and today they are to disrupt the construction industry. All these tools are redefining the means by which developers and construction professionals conceptualize, design and execute on any given project.

From a developer’s perspective, using these technologies can significantly assist in reducing time spent on designing prototype projects, identify flaws that can potentially affect construction as well as enhance the overall sustainability objectives for all stakeholders involved – including the government and investors. Furthermore, with BIM as the entire project is stored and amended in the cloud, it gives all stakeholders the ability to access the most updated version of the project instantly for them to work on as well.

What is the future of construction in the region?           

The future of construction in the region will evolve and depend on customer preferences and experiential decision-making.

Currently, developers create blue prints and mock up the design of a building and specific apartment units based on their vision of what it will look like. However, although the customer invests in the unit in terms of location and pricing, there may be some aspects of the unit itself that they might wish to change once they take ownership.

With emerging technologies like 3D printing, AR, VR, BIM and more, customers will be able to experience exactly what their home would look like even before the construction has started and made adjustments accordingly.

Take for example the floor layout. If the customer does not like the space available and wants more, they can opt to remove a wall, make a room smaller provided it is within the structural restrictions of the building itself to give them the look and feel that they want. In addition, if they do not like the color of the walls, they can experience what their home would look like and continuously change it to meet their requirements, making it unique and unlike the rest of the units in the building, all done with the help of emerging technologies.

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Furthermore, 3D printing gives homeowners, architects, and designers the ability to test their creative limits to conceptualize new ways to build walls and structures within the unit that not only serves its function but is also aesthetically unique and beautiful, potentially making the home a one of a kind design within the building.

As a result, developers will be able to construct a building that they want customized to meet the requirements of each customer enabling them to get the home they want as soon as they move in without the need to invest in further renovations and more.

What are some of the benefits stakeholders can realize when these technologies are implemented in the construction industry?

These technologies will provide a variety of benefits, however the most noteworthy of them all is the reduction in wastage of resources for both the developer and the customer.

For the customer, because they are getting exactly what they want, they do not need to spend time living in a place they do not fully enjoy nor do they have to invest more to tear down the interior paint and structures and replace it with what suits their personality and requirements.

For the developer, they can invest accordingly to build the units more efficiently, ordering all the necessary material to meet the customer’s requirements whilst 3D printing the unique walls and structures within the unit to minimize wastage. It will potentially prove to be a differentiating factor for developers in the region and something customers would be interested in, especially if they know that they will be renovating the unit in the years to come.

From a developer standpoint, with Connected BIM all stakeholders are realizing the benefits of having simultaneous access to all stages of a project. This allows for transparency, gives room for realistic expectations and reduces cost and time throughout the lifespan of a project.

Connected BIM will prove to be one of the biggest assets for developers and construction professionals in the near future as it gives a comprehensive overview of an array of workflows to give stakeholders a strong basis and direction for the project. Through showing energy cost range and lighting analysis, for instance, developers and end-users are able to detect key energy performance drivers such as lighting power density to anticipate future expenses. Providing not just a model for stakeholders to view, but also in-depth explanations of the expenses and processes worth taking into account makes the project more credible and more material for developers to invest with confidence.