ngineering firm Aurecon has released a White Paper, ‘Buildings of the Future: science fiction or science fact?’, inspired by interviews with professionals across the built environment sector.
The paper shares thoughts around what is driving demand, challenges inherent in reaching intelligent building status and what some of the next steps in the journey might be.
“The major drivers identified in the paper have the potential to reshape the built environment industry in the next 30 years,” Aurecon Buildings of the Future leader Peter Greaves said.
It highlights that one of the biggest disruptors to the design engineering industry is that of new three-dimensional (3D) printing technology, and the impact it will have on the built environment.
“The 3D printer is significantly disrupting the traditional design role held by the structural engineer but, at the same time, presents exciting new opportunities in how building designers will create, relocate and shape buildings of the future,” he said.
Aurecon’s paper shows that a one-size-fits-all approach to buildings of the future is becoming less palatable.
The use of new, flexible construction materials, including composite materials, additive manufacturing concrete, solar polymers and carbon fibre balsa, is fuelling new design approaches.
“These options are unlocking the architectural limitations of size, weight and shape that the building and construction industry works within today.”
Another opportunity highlighted by the paper is further innovation in the building management field by developing shared services in facilities management within a precinct.
Aurecon believes the first real innovators in the facilities management space are likely to be those who explore the idea of shared building maintenance hubs.
“Such hubs will be designed to provide facilities for all local buildings to centrally monitor electricity, water, energy storage common areas and integrate other aspects of maintenance and management of operational efficiencies,” Greaves said.