All Articles Infrastructure Construction 2019 Outlook: How the concrete industry is leveraging new technology


2019 Outlook: How the concrete industry is leveraging new technology

The AEC industry needs to embrace new technology to create efficiencies and solve challenges

4 min read




This post is sponsored by Allplan.

Kevin Lea

While many in architecture, construction and engineering are embracing new technology, those in the supply and building phases of construction often lag in implementing it. That will need to quickly change in 2019 and beyond in order to create better collaboration across projects and reduce costs.

Here we talk with Kevin Lea, senior vice president at Allplan, about how the concrete industry can best leverage new technology to create efficiencies and solve challenges. Digital collaboration is here, and those who embrace it will find themselves at a competitive advantage.


What technology trends do you expect to see in 2019?

Technology is moving at a tremendous rate, and as we move forward with the digitalization of building and infrastructure, with the need to collaborate better, there is no doubt in my mind that cloud computing will become the backbone of such deliveries in the near future. At Allplan we are providing this functionality through Bimplus and we hope our clients (and those who are not our clients yet!) can benefit from this technology and realize the potential the cloud can offer them.


What are challenges facing those in the concrete industry?

Designers are getting more adventurous and we see the geometry of structures becoming more and more complex. Architects and engineers are now able to create structures with complex geometry without becoming computer programmers by using software tools such as visual scripting.

These software tools are here to stay, and we will see structures change dramatically because of their use over the next few years. This in turn puts pressure on contractors, who must provide details for reinforcement for manufacture, so they have confidence that the rebar fits without clashing to prevent costly delays.


How can technology help solve some of those challenges?

Converting the wild and wacky ideas from designers into structures in a way they can be built is the biggest challenge facing the concrete industry. From formwork to rebar detailing and delivery, the reality is contractors can only deliver such structures with confidence using software tools such as Allplan, supporting both traditional 2D workflows while benefiting from 3D modeling capabilities.


How can BIM help concrete companies work more efficiently?

Building information modeling (BIM) is a term we have used for 20 years and I believe is still central to our goals of open sharing of project data to reduce repetition and errors for the entire project team.

Today I prefer to think of digital prototyping as a way we can interact with a structure in a virtual sense, to resolve issues before a spade hits the ground. It must also be remembered that digital data evolves with the project, from concept to construction.

For concrete companies it is important to embrace the flow of digital data, to assist with accurate estimating, planning and rebar detailing. It also offers the opportunity to comment earlier and advise on the outcome of the project.

At Allplan we use Bimplus as a common model environment to store all the project data from concept through to construction. It’s the ideal medium to share and contribute to the digital prototyping of a project. 


Kevin Lea has more than 20 years of experience in product management and business development for the international construction industry with a successful record in bringing products to market throughout the world. Before being named senior vice president at Allplan, Kevin Lea was the managing director of Allplan UK. During his career he has worked with many of the prominent software vendors in the AEC industry, as well as assessing the needs of clients around the world and translating these requirements into software solutions. In addition, Kevin is a sort after speaker promoting the benefits of digital construction in industry.


For more than 50 years, Allplan has pioneered the digitalization of the construction industry. Always focused on clients, Allplan provides innovative tools to design, construct and manage projects – inspiring users to realize their visions. With seamlessly integrated BIM solutions, Allplan connects all project stakeholders.

The open BIM platform Allplan Bimplus supports all disciplines to collaborate efficiently in projects. BIM model data, documents and tasks are managed centrally over the complete building lifecycle.

Headquartered in Munich, Germany, Allplan is part of the Nemetschek Group.