Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



Buildings of the Future: science fiction or science fact?

Aurecon, a global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, has released a white paper focusing on the buildings of the future, reflecting the move towards an increasingly digital, interconnected society and the realisation that everything we know will change.

The built environment has been slower than other industries to react to this change, but the reality is that operational construction functions, activities and experiences, as well as expectations around performance, are evolving and so too must the built environment. 

Entitled: 'Buildings of the Future: science fiction or science fact?' the white paper shares thoughts and insights from a broad group of professionals across the built environment around what is driving demand, challenges inherent in reaching Intelligent Building status and what some of the next steps in this journey might be.

According to the white paper, one of the biggest disruptors to the design engineering industry is that of new 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,” says Peter Greaves, Aurecon's Buildings of the Future Leader.

It also shows that a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to Buildings of the Future is becoming less and 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,” he claims. “To bring this to life, the thought processes, measurements and methods commonly used in our industry will also have to evolve.” 

Another opportunity highlighted is further innovation in the building management field by developing shared services in facilities management within an area. “Aurecon believes that the first real innovators in the facilities management space are likely to be those who explore the idea of shared building maintenance hubs,” says Greaves. “Such hubs would 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.”

“Those who shape Buildings of the Future will be those who, firstly, realise that our world is changing and have the boldness to not only let go of, but question, the status quo so that working with government and economic leaders, we might reimagine our physical spaces and infrastructure. Engineers need to lead such conversations,” asserts James Bennett, Aurecon's Managing Director, Built Environment.