Geo Week News

April 22, 2019

AEC BuildTech set to explore the key trends transforming the global construction industry


We’ve taken a close look at new tools that are designed to see the roof of the buildings constructed first, detailed how and why VR can enable better design and increase productivity and have also the explored current state of the construction industry. These are just a few examples of what the insights around tomorrow’s building processes and construction technologies can look like, but they also underscore why it’s so critical to understand them today.

The AEC BuildTech Conference & Expo is a unique new event that is set to highlight these exact sort of insights by spotlighting the latest design & building processes, products and emerging technologies. Designed to inform and inspire today’s entire building team, the AEC BuildTech Conference & Expo will include six separate tracks focused on numerous topics that are of critical importance to AEC professionals.

To find out more about the event, we talked with Sarah Harding, Group Publisher and Scott Seltz, Publisher from BNP Media. They are Co-Brand Managers and Developers of AEC BuildTech Conference & Expo, and were able to provide details about the changes they’ve seen in the industry, what type of professional is going to get the most out of the event, what they’re looking forward to most and much more.

Sarah Harding


AEC Next News: Tell us a little bit about the genesis of the AEC BuildTech Conference & Expo. When and how did you recognize the need for this type of event?

AEC BuildTech Conference & Expo: BNP Media’s owners felt that there might be an unmet need for a new conference/expo in the AEC sector shortly after the acquisition of Engineering News-Record and Architectural Record, which added to the company’s portfolio of 20 AEC sector media brands. In August 2017, two BNP Media executives, Sarah Harding and Scott Seltz, were tasked to determine if there was an unmet conference/expo need in the AEC industry, and if there was: How could BNP Media’s media brand audiences coupled with the company’s event expertise produce a new event? After conducting a series of extensive research studies over the fall of 2017 from proof of concept to prospective attendee and exhibitor surveys, the results clearly substantiated a need for an event among architects, designers, general and specialty contractors, and project owners like AEC BuildTech.

Scott Seltz


What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve seen take place in the industry over the past few years? Will these changes be addressed at the event?

There’s a handful of notable changes:

  • Contractors and Design/Build firms are looking for ways to improve job site productivity to improve project completion time and staying on budget and as a means to improve profitability and earnings.
  • The capabilities, interoperability and mobility of construction software (design, project management, ERP) is making it easier for construction professionals to greatly improve management of projects.
  • Building designers are incorporating new techniques and approaches in order to build taller buildings with smaller footprints in metropolitan markets. MKA’s 150 North Riverside building in Chicago and the 432 Park Avenue building in New York City are good examples.
  • Contractors are employing new building construction techniques like the cocooning systems to accelerate high-rise construction and demolition as well as trialing robotic operations for rebar tying and masonry building.
  • Increase use of offsite prefabrication of building elements from precast wall panels to bathroom units.

Yes, some of these topics will be covered in the conference sessions at AEC BuildTech.


Along those same lines, have you seen the challenges that professionals struggle with similarly evolve or change? Or are they working through similar issues as they did years ago in different ways now? 

The challenges that building construction professionals face, like delivering projects on time and on budget, job site safety, weather conditions, site conditions and managing project risk, haven’t fundamentally changed. What has changed or is evolving is the industry’s approach to those challenges.


Tell us about the types of companies that attendees will be able to connect with on the show floor. Do all of them fall into the 6 tracks of your conference program?

BuildTech exhibitors represent a wide range of suppliers to buildings construction: building material product suppliers, construction technology providers, HVAC systems providers, surety providers, manufactured buildings vendors, union associations, flooring systems producers, building envelope material and systems suppliers, lighting and controls manufacturers, equipment rental companies, and piping, valve and plumbing fixture suppliers.


Speaking of those 6 tracks, it was striking to see how different technology innovations are interwoven into many of them (such as 3D Construction Printing), although there are plenty of tracks that are specifically focused on product and materials topics (such as 10 Common Errors with Hydronic Heating and Cooling Systems). Are there other underlying topics or trends that have been interwoven into any or all of these tracks? 

Our pre-event research among prospective attendees showed the highest level of interest to learn about new technologies, materials and processes that would help accelerate building construction, and it also showed that there was interest in an event that would bring members of the project team together for better collaboration. So our content programmers looked to align those interests, but they did it through the lens of contractors, designers and project owners.


Are there any sessions that you’re especially looking forward to listening to or being a part of? 

There are a lot of great sessions on the agenda but our two keynote presentations – one from Steve Jones, Senior Director of Insights Research at Dodge Data & Analytics presenting the Key Trends Transforming The Global Construction Industry and Dr. Antony Wood, CEO of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat presentation of Vertical Cities of the Future are going to be really exciting sessions for BuildTech attendees on the first and second days of the show.


Ultimately, what type of person is going to get the most out of attending the AEC BuildTech Conference & Expo? 

Our target AEC BuildTech attendees range from general and specialty contractors, architects, design engineers and buildings project owners, but the commonality among attendees is that they’re looking for insight and information about new technologies, processes and materials that will help them accelerate building construction.


If someone working in the AEC landscape thinks this event might be a fit for them but isn’t totally certain, what would you tell them?

If you are working in the commercial or residential buildings construction industry and you are looking for ideas and products that will help you design, build or manage your projects better and faster, then you’ll find something to that end between the conference sessions and exhibitors at AEC BuildTech.


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