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Controlling costs and emissions prompts AECs to look again at digitisation, says Bluebeam

Project management software provider Bluebeam looks to be putting environmental sustainability front and centre with its Built promotional blog targeting architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals.

Any software that helps digitise workflows and reduce paper use, such as Bluebeam Revu with Studio, can have a strong ecological argument for its use — but Bluebeam has gone beyond the usual case studies and ‘thought leadership’ promotions to produce informative articles on sustainability in construction for a knowledgeable audience.

A new article by Bluebeam content writer Hamish Champ notes that a building materials shortage is driving up prices, with a knock-on effect on costs, in 2021 across the UK construction sector.

“Laudable as the government’s building ambitions are, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the impact of Brexit has created problems for the country’s construction industry,” he says. “Demand for materials has inevitably risen, yet supplies have slipped and prices are rising.”

Meanwhile, UK construction activity has risen so far in 2021, with projects previously delayed by the pandemic once more being looked at. Champ quoted survey results from the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers Index to support the claim, adding also that February saw transport delays and stronger demand conditions exacerbated by supply chain issues and higher shipping costs.

“These combined to deliver the sharpest increase in average cost burdens across the construction industry since the summer of 2008,” Champ writes.

The interest of Bluebeam in this is clear — any collaborative software that digitises workflows and assists with cost control for AEC will be more helpful in such a climate, especially when builders and construction firms are looking to make up ground after a difficult 2020.

Meanwhile, a follow-up article for Bluebeam’s Built pages by Katrin Zeise discusses the concurrent urgent need for action on sustainability in the construction industry. Meeting the various global and national requirements aimed at slashing emissions can be costly too — which means that AEC companies should be looking to save where possible, for instance on paper printing and driving to or from a site.

“In principle, a building’s individual components must meet similar requirements to the waste permitted in recycling bins. All the building materials used should be as homogeneous as possible. If the number of different building materials is manageable, then fewer disposal methods are generally required,” she notes.

Collaborative platforms that help AEC professionals save time and money are therefore an increasingly important part of the equation, says Zeise.

James Chambers, regional director for UK and Ireland at Bluebeam, confirms: “For me, it’s a combination of sustainability and efficiency.

“People talk about the need for digitalisation, but on average, companies are still spending tens of thousands of pounds per year or per project on printing tens of thousands of sheets of paper.”

( Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash )

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