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Autodesk urges for digital construction in Africa

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With construction resources becoming less and less there is need to use technology in the industry to minimize wastage and boost efficiency, a top official from leading technology firm Autodesk has advised.

Simon Bromfield, Autodesk’s Africa Lead and Channel Manager said that for players such as contractors to work efficiently, innovation is urgently required.

Speaking Thursday at a one day forum in Nairobi dubbed ‘The Future of Making’ Mr Bromfield said that  digital construction would provide what he called a “paradigm shift” in the way projects are executed from start to finish.

“Contractors are pressured on many sides, operating in a market driven by money and risk. Securing a profitable place in tomorrow’s market will be linked to a contractor’s ability to innovate. We urgently need to focus on the future- the future of making things with technology,” said Mr Bromfield.

Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050.

“Projections show that urbanization, the gradual shift in residence of the human population from rural to urban areas, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population could add another 2.5 billion people to urban areas by 2050, with close to 90% of this increase taking place in Asia and Africa,” noted Mr Bromfield.

To catch up with this massive population in cities, about 3600 more buildings would need to be constructed per day which could prove impossible unless digital construction is fully embraced.

The forum held at Radisson Blu Hotel also sought to look into some of the challenges facing the construction industry such as project complexity, globalization of constructionskills shortage, and access to capital.

The event further explored the relevance of augmented and virtual reality, generative design, AI/Machine learning, smart cities, factory of the future, and climate change solutions, in the future of construction and infrastructure.

But participants also acknowledged that adoption of cloud-enabled technologies present an opportunity for disruption in the way we design and operate buildings and infrastructure.

The Future of making Forum targets Mid-level to Senior Management Executives and stakeholders in architecture, engineering and construction in Nigeria.

The ultimate plan for Autodesk is to help people digitize the construction process and project management, building a unified construction data platform to provide accurate information at the point of decision-making and drive better decisions and more profitable project outcomes.

Some of the countries where Autodesk has active footprint in Africa include Kenya, South Africa, Algeria,Tunisia,Nigeria, Malawi among others.

“We think that East Africa has emerged as one of the most developing regions on the continent and by establishing elaborate footprint in a country like Kenya would help us efficiently serve the region,” noted Mr Bromfield.

Autodesk has also established training centres in countries such as Kenya where they seek to impart knowledge and skills on digital construction. The technology firm has also partnered with universities to further help the youth to embrace technology in construction.


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