INTERVIEW: RALF STEINHAUER
In talks with Ralf Steinhauer, Director MENA, RSP Architects. Ralf is on the esteemed panel of experts who will help identify the most innovative products and solutions to host at the Live Innovation Zone and Start-up City
In your opinion, what is the most needed innovation in the construction industry today?
Innovation is and will be key to driving the construction industry forward. The AEC Industry should prepare for 4th industrial revolution. With clear digital workflow and clean data, limitless possibilities can be opened with the current computer science technologies benefitting us with tools such as as AI, IoT and 3D Printing.
However before we can indulge in the ideas of future inventions, we need to address the proper use of existing technology- or the lack thereof. Take the implementation or full utilization of BIM, for example. Across the board all consultants, developers and contractors should be mandated to investing in using BIM, with all its capacities, throughout the lifespan of a project. We are missing great opportunities to streamline a project impacting the two most important aspects for ourselves and the client- time and cost.
How can start-ups contribute to the sector’s development?
Simply put, start-ups are capable of producing a ripple effect in the industry and the monopoly of certain aspects by introducing innovative tools to enhance the design and construction process.
Though we have yet to see start-up breakthroughs along the likes of Facebook, Uber, Airbnb in the AEC industry, start-ups have started to realize the potential opportunities within the business.
Nowadays, start-ups are at an advantage to develop since OpenBIM IFC format and API’s from many big AEC software companies allows limitless integration of tools with any BIM data from the design to life cycle process making it easier for new technology to become widespread faster.
Why is the construction industry considered a late technology adopter and what can industry professionals / architects do to change this?
Up to now, collaboration between all stakeholders (client, consultant and contractor) is imperfect and very time consuming due to the sheer number of entities involved in a project. With the introduction of BIM and cloud services, seamless interaction will be possible and can help overcome obstacles of the past. Furthermore, the construction industry is relying on proven technologies as capex is very high for new technologies. Hardware and software licenses plus ongoing training are huge investments that keep many companies from implementing BIM in their daily operation. Architects need to be advocates of new technologies and we at RSP are proud to be market leaders in this field.
What innovative solutions do you look forward to seeing at The Big 5 in November?
Technology has produced virtual construction which provides seamless integration of the different software used for construction equipment through IoT. Another exciting creation to look forward to is the use of smart assistants with the help of deep learning (AI) to control the RFI’s at site to identify the risks and aid project managers in decision-making through accurate and calculated predictions.
What is the most promising innovative product/technology you’ve come across lately in the construction sector?
During the design and construction phase, drones have many potential use. Surface data is now easier to obtain and import into a survey software to create accurate 3D models of existing site conditions in a much shorter time compared to a few years ago. We are looking forward to using this in our future design projects to identify and solve the site related risks as early as feasibility study stage and all the way into construction stage.