About two decades ago, I made a decision that has greatly affecting my children’s life. It was my duty to purchase the family computer Christmas gift. I choose Sim City rather than Flight Simulator.

I now realized Sim City’s impact their generation. Teachers, lawyers, and accountants become entranced with the idea of designing their utopia – be it a room, home, or city. So it’s no wonder that computer enhanced design is becoming so important in the construction industry.

Early last year, the buildingSMART Alliance called on key construction professionals to predict what building construction will be like in twenty years. They created the NBIMS-US 2021 Vision Task Force. They wanted a highly strategic effort with which they develop a comprehensive roadmap for the entire capital facility industry. The initial effort of the VTF was to request subject matter experts from every corner of our industry to provide short essays about the nature of their role, profession, or industry as it will be in 8-10 years.

The VFT used these essays to create “compelling, and tangible vision of how a construction project may be built in the future, including the technologies and processes that would be in common use.” The report is craft into a story about the construction of a six-story children's medical care facility that opened on May 22, 2021. You can read this future look at construction.

Fortunately our industry leadership has recognized this important trend. The Charles Pankow Foundation has been very supportive in helping our industry incorporate BIM into concrete construction. They have funded 13 separate grants at a value of $2.2 million dollars. These grants are for all industry segments: precast concrete, cast-in-place concrete, masonry, structural domain, and execution guides.

In this our recent printed issue, we are helping you visualize what BIM can do for the concrete industry.

BIM’s real impact on the concrete industry has yet to be fully understood. With BIM, materials engineers may be more willing to adopt performance-based concrete mix designs, encouraging the increased use of nontraditional materials such as Portland limestone cement. Design engineers will be able to stretch the limits on elements, beams, and columns to allow concrete structures to yield the same amount of useable space as steel structures, with better insulating factors. And with BIM, modular construction techniques will allow contractors to create resilient concrete structures in remote areas.

As the economic conditions for our industry improve, managers will be asked to resurrect their strategic plans. To be a significant player in the next decade, you plans must consider how BIM will affect your customer’s business, and yours.