Architecture’s digital evolution: client interest in new tools exceeds expectations

New research being released today by the Australian Institute of Architects and partner NBS aims to help future-proof architectural practices with data to inform investment decisions as architecture moves further into the digital realm.

Using a mixture of surveys and overseas studies, the report, 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.

Survey respondents resoundingly concluded that BIM is the way of the future with 55% expecting it to be used on all projects in just 5 years’ time.

The report finds that design automation tools are being purchased and developed by over half of responding practices. 

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

One of the report’s most startling findings is the degree to which architects are underestimating their clients’ appetite for education around BIM. 

Despite only 7% of respondents believing clients would like education on BIM, when asked directly, close to half of clients said they are eager to learn more. 

Institute National President Tony Giannone said 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,” Mr Giannone said.

“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% of responding practices see a future commercial opportunities using blockchain and 79% 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.”

While BIM adoption in Australia is mature, survey findings illustrate a range of opportunities to increase awareness and uptake.

This includes over 53% of respondents agreeing with the suggestion that those procuring buildings or other assets for public and private clients don’t 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.

Download the report below [PDF 5MB]