Research released this week by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) and NBS aims to assist architectural practices in future-proofing their operations with data that informs investment decisions.

The report, titled BIM and Beyond: Design in Architecture, examines the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in architectural practice today and forecasts its uptake in years to come. The report cites a number of surveys and overseas studies.

BIM is regarded as the way of the future for the built environment, with 55 percent of survey respondents expecting it to be used on all projects in five years’ time. The report finds that design automation tools are being purchased and developed by over half of responding practices.

Of the emerging technologies, 42 percent of respondents pointed to Augmented Reality as having the strongest future pipeline opportunity, with 17 percent of respondents saying their practice was currently generating fees from this service area. 

The report outlines that architects are underestimating the appetite for education around BIM. Despite only 7 percent of respondents believing clients would like education on BIM, when asked directly, close to half of clients said they are eager to learn more. 

AIA National President, Tony Giannone says the report aims to provide members with data to inform prudent investment decisions in emerging tools and upskilling practitioners.

“Architectural firms should embrace the potential of emerging technologies by deeply entwining it into their business models,” he says.

“The data gathered in this report points to a future where design technology and automation will be an even bigger part of practice and has the potential to bring new fees.  

“The report shows 37 percent of responding practices see future commercial opportunities using blockchain and 79 percent of responding practices with over 500 staff are factoring in the opportunity and impact of artificial intelligence in their strategic planning. 

“With research such as this, the Institute is supporting members to stay ahead of the productivity and service curve.”

Despite BIM adoption in Australia being within a mature stage, survey findings demonstrate a number of opportunities to increase awareness and uptake of the tool. 53 percent of survey respondents agree with the suggestion that those procuring buildings and other assets for their client base don’t fully understand the return on investment and benefits of BIM.

Similarly, over half of those engaged in international projects indicated they believed the demand for architects to use BIM tools was higher than their experience of demand in the domestic Australian market.

To read the report in full, click here