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BIM in 2021: Vicki Reynolds

5 January 2021

Vicki Reynolds, chief technology officer, i3PT Certification predicts more robots taking over laborious or repetitive tasks, and smart machines helping us to make better decisions faster, and also raves about the app Stay Focussed.

What in your view changed in terms of use of digital in construction and design in 2020?

If nothing else good has come from it, 2020 has at least finally proven that we don’t need to be sat in a stuffy meeting room or stood on site together to collaborate. To survive this year, almost every company has had to invest in a robust way of bringing people together virtually, which has in turn changed our whole expectation of how a team can operate.

We have seen a dramatic increase in site monitoring using smart cameras and sensors, and a new range of tools for remote working. This isn’t particularly exciting or new technology, but for an industry that’s rife with presenteeism and has a reputation for being a digital laggard, it’s a significant step in the right direction.

Smart screens and decent internet connections are now non-negotiables for a high-performing site, and this will form the foundation for more increased and sustainable digitalisation in the coming years.

What technologies do you see coming into their own in 2021 – and why?

We will begin to see more robots taking over laborious or repetitive tasks, and smart machines helping us to make better decisions faster. This may sound rather futuristic at first, but less so when we consider that our homes and cars are already filled with this tech in the form of our TVs, navigation systems, phones, and even vacuum cleaners.

New safety legislation, more complex client information requirements, and commercial competition will drive the need for change in 2021, and I’m optimistic that we’ll take this opportunity to grow and improve using digital tools and smarter technology.

What are you looking forward to trialling/bringing on board in the coming 12 months?

CertCentral has some incredibly exciting developments in store for 2021. We’re building more intelligence into our software to link, test and check project data, so that our users can trust the information they’re accessing and have more confidence in the decisions they’re making. We also have a range of exciting APIs in the pipeline.

What barriers do you see holding back new technologies and how might these be lifted?

The blame culture in construction is a huge barrier and is often exacerbated by our procurement methods. To truly collaborate and build safer and more efficient buildings, we must stop pretending that risk can be sold down the supply chain and start allowing our project teams to operate as a single unit with shared goals and challenges.

Must-have new app:

Stay Focussed: it allows you to set access and notification restrictions on your phone apps for certain times of the day. This has been really useful for reducing distractions when I’m very busy!

One to watch:

Modulous’s use of generative design, artificial intelligence and BIM can provide compliant housing designs in minutes, rather than months. This rapid design could be a game changer in a world that’s struggling to produce enough affordable homes to meet demand.