For centuries, graphic drawings were the delivery mechanism for the AEC industry. This methodology served it purpose, these graphic drawings could be printed, and communication was by pointing at the drawings and discussing at the jobsite, in meetings, etc.
Today, this world is changing. Information can be delivered in a multitude of ways; 3D models, virtual design and construction, and even virtual reality. Cloud Services, which makes the model and the associated metadata accessible to all the project members. This provides an anytime, anyplace, and any device way to view the project and associated information.
However, with this access comes the apparent ‘lack or intellectual property’. This democratizing of data makes some within the AEC industry uneasy. Fears such as client confidentiality, stealing of proprietary design ideas, and cloud ‘down time’ are often cited. These fears form a roadblock to better client and project communication.
This brings to bear the question "what are we being paid for"? Clearly our design ideas are what clients are interested in, but I doubt any client comes to an Architect or Engineer for their graphical drawings. Clients are interested in functional, interesting, and profitable projects, that are done on time and on budget.
Many firms are moving towards a data-centric workflow. One of the core benefits of data-centric is less drawings, rather than more drawings. Since the advent of CAD, the number of sheets have increased dramatically, not necessarily providing more important information, just more dis-associated information. Data-centricity combined with the availability of all parties to view data, makes more 'drawings' obsolete and unnecessary.
Accurate, valuable, and democratized (available to all in the project) data is what clients want, need and require of the team.
Our value to clients must be centered in providing solutions through synthesizing of disparate requirements into a cohesive whole and delivering the data required to complete the project within the project scope and budget and time line.
David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (www.ideateinc.com). David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation. @.