Education never ends. Learning never stops. And things change quickly. These facts are true for students in college as well as employees on a construction project.

There’s a foundational history of construction, and it’s important that people getting a secondary education are aware of that history. Even though we live in a technological age, the “old school” way of doing things is important to understand. From the blueprints and drafting boards of the old days to reality capture and the flying drones of today, even though things are done differently today than in the past, it’s all relevant to producing a successful project.

The industry has gone from hand drawn project prints to exacting drawings developed in AutoCAD. A line generated in AutoCAD can mean anything. But in Revit, a line in the model is described from the beginning, including its properties, thickness, the layer it resides on. If you don’t understand a drawing, you can’t model it.

Some people do a lot of book learning before they set foot on an active construction project. When they do, it likely was very different than they had imagined.

Universities may assist driving technology in the construction industry. Academia and construction software companies communicate with each other, and oftentimes research and roadmaps are shared back and forth.  

For instance, the research leading to the creation of a robotic dog is applicable in producing robotic machines that can maneuver easily. New tech innovations that are introduced might not be targeted specifically to construction, but they generate discussions about how they could be used in construction for higher efficiency and automation. It’s hard to say what kinds of disruptive technology will be introduced to the construction industry in the near future.

Things are constantly changing in field-related workflows. On the whole, construction has made innovation and industrial strides that are changing the industry norms both inside and outside the classroom.  

Technology evolves. Young professionals should be willing to learn from senior professionals in the workplace, and, in turn, educate them on new technology. When this is not a contentious relationship, both people can improve their job performance by striving to learn from each other.

Construction is still a labor-dominated industry, and we all have access to the same tools. The competitive advantage for companies is in how quickly they can transfer knowledge from one individual to the next and transfer new knowledge into the workflow. Skill sets are changing, and companies now expect their job openings to be filled by applicants who have certain tech skills, like programming.

In season 3, episode 5 of The AEC Disruptors podcast, Manish Dixit talked about the academic connection to construction industry technology.

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