With nearly two decades of experience in covering news in the architecture engineering and construction industry, Dave Barista brings a unique perspective to construction—the trained, analytical eyes of a journalist. As editorial director of Building Design & Construction, Barista is part of an organization that regularly surveys the major players in construction, who collectively account for more than half of the work completed in the industry.
At the AEC Next Expo, he will present on Tech Business Innovations From the AEC Giants: A Research Project. AEC Next News recently talked with Barista, about the methods and tools being used by some of AEC’s most prominent companies.
Why are you presenting at the conference?
Barista: “I’m giving the talk to present what’s in the minds of the largest AEC firms regarding technology—to show how they are serving their clients.”
How is your company taking the pulse of the AEC world?
Barista: “There’s a lot of discussion around which tools leading firms are using. Our platform has always been to look at the largest [AEC] leaders. The group we research represents 60 percent of all the work done in construction. They have a huge footprint on the construction market.”
How do these topics tie into the real estate industry?
Barista: “Construction is being disrupted by different business models… Industry leaders now are talking about how their clients will own and operate the buildings they’re constructing.”
What will your presentation cover?
Barista: “Today, there are many groundbreaking business disruptors. I’ll present examples of what the leading companies are doing.”
How can conference attendees prepare for your presentation?
Barista: “As AEC professionals, they should consider what their pain points are. And what are the pain points of their clients and the community are, too.”
What kinds of takeaways can folks expect from your presentation?
Barista: “This industry is so risk-averse—everyone is waiting for someone else to use Artificial Intelligence of another new tool. But to survive in such companies, everyone needs to be thinking about innovation. The top firms are becoming innovation engines.”
Why do you enjoy your work and this industry?
Barista: “I’ve been doing this for 18 years, but it’s now the most exciting time to be writing about the built environment, because of all the disruptions going on.”
Is the AEC industry adopting technology faster these days?
Barista: “It’s picking up. The larger firms are jumping on board faster, and they are able to scale up the technologies they are trying.”
Why are the practices of the largest, leading firms in construction worth considering?
Barista: “The top design firms are so influential in the industry, that it makes sense to look at their pain points—what keeps them up at night?”
How do you see technology helping AEC firms?
Barista: “Contractors want to save money, which drives technological innovation. Design companies want to eliminate repetitive tasks. Everyone wants to know how they can collaborate more efficiently. So, project management tools and collaboration tools are very popular.”
Why should AEC firms not only care about new technology but also embrace these tools?
Barista: “There are many efficiencies to be gained by adopting new technology. If you’re still using Excel or other older tools, maybe there’s a better way that provides better customer service and also savings, as well as real-time details. These newer tools allow you to do that, and they are low cost and easy to adopt. AEC companies need to try new things.”
How are such tech tools making firms more responsive?
Barista: “The architecture industry is a driver of structural innovation… In most cases, the firm is trying to integrate the structure into the community, through physical engagement with the community.”
For more on this topic, be sure to catch Dave’s Tech and Business Innovations From the AEC Giants at AEC Next, which will be co-located with SPAR 3D on May 21-23 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.