2019 Innovation Spotlight

The Impact of Data on the Future of Building

The Canadian building industry was subjected to significant disruption over the past year; the low price of oil has flattened out the Alberta market, new lending regulations and restrictions seem to have cooled off property values in BC and Ontario, while Toronto remains an outlier with commercial construction and residential densification continuing to expand. This growth, at least in part, can be attributed to the tech-boom. As an example, Toronto is outpacing San Francisco with tech-sector job creation, attracting the world’s top talent, which is driving the demand for office space in the downtown core.

2018 also marked an important year for CanBIM & buildingSMART Canada; The organizations came together to create a clear path to unification. We are now acting as a single entity by joining Executive Committees, sharing resources, and coordinating all initiatives. CanBIM will continue to drive industry involvement, while buildingSMART Canada will keep up efforts related to global Open BIM standards development and rationalizing existing standards for Canada. 

This strategic alignment of CanBIM & buildingSMART Canada is occurring at a crucial point in time, as the building and infrastructure industry is facing a digitization revolution. The demand for standards, products and technologies that will structure and modernize our communication and field processes is growing exponentially. In tandem, a complex ecosystem of technology offerings has materialized, competing to capture user traffic and Data. Behind all of this is a multitude of startups that are designing solutions to digitize every identifiable efficiency gap. The technology market is continuing to consolidate, however the criteria for acquisition seems to have shifted from purely focusing on traffic, revenue, and profits, to more of a question of; “Who has the most strategic Data?” The future of design, estimating, and scheduling will be automated. Machine learning needs Data to learn from, and the companies who have the largest, most complete Data set will have the advantage. This seems to be the underlying motivation around some of the consolidation this past year, most notably with Autodesk acquiring Assemble, PlanGrid and BuildingConnected.

Innovation Spotlight 2019 is about all things Data – and we believe that it comes in two forms. The first, Static Data, such as asset information which we pass forward from proforma, design, and construction into the operations phase of a project; And secondly, Dynamic Data, transactional records that we use to measure events in real-time, so we can gauge the questions of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘when’ against known norms. A traditional example of Dynamic Data might include project financials, comparing the target budget against the current projections. That said, as every construction and facilities management micro-process is becoming more and more digitized, new and exciting frontiers are emerging. This might include tracking up to the minute labour productivity, identifying the root cause of change orders on live projects or even comparing lidar Data against the project BIM to update the master schedule in realtime. 

The true power of Dynamic Data is yet to be realized as countless projects are now dumping millions of Data points into cloud platforms. These Data points will be aggregated to measure the overall health of projects, using Data driven automated predictive failure analysis, or birthing the use of artificial intelligence to automate project estimating, planning, and operations. This publication will highlight some of the impacts that technology is having on the Canadian Building and Infrastructure industry as well as provide some insights into Canadian based startups, their vision, the war for development talent, and the emerging power of Data. 

We are looking forward to the future together, thanks for helping to shape it! 

Thomas J. Strong

CanBIM President


Bill Moore

buildingSMART Canada President

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Want to Submit An Article or Case Study?


We are seeking member case studies, and articles for our next issue of the Innovation Spotlight. Articles and project case studies should focus on technologies that are creating significant efficiencies, productivity and innovative new methodologies within the AECOO industry. 

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