An open message to Africa’s digital built environment

“I was inspired by a video I watched by US Air Force General for his powerful rebuke against ignorance

You may have heard of the concept of digital construction or even Industry 4.0, which is based on four principles: interconnection, decentralised decision making, information transparency, and digital assistants. Traditional, hierarchical and centralised project delivery methods are a thing of the past. This will also change the skills requirements of current and future industry professionals and already Companies have to deal with these emerging technologies within the built environment.

With growing urbanisation and increasing environmental challenges, smart cities will require energy innovation. There is a crisis in our entire value chain that needs urgent attention. Smart informed people are needed first if we want to become sustainable in the future for construction.

We would all be naive to think that everything is just going get better and work will come soon. We would be naive to think that we shouldn’t discuss this topic of digital construction before we discuss smart cities.

We would also be tone-deaf, not to think about the backdrop of what’s going on in our beloved country South Africa, I’m not talking about SAA, Eskom or the Zondo commission. So just in case you’re unclear on where I stand on this topic, I’m going to leave you with my most important message before I shutdown for our festive season and bid you farewell until the next decade.

If you can’t or have not considered establishing a digital strategy across your business or divisions. Or have not started to maximise digital efficiencies across your current projects, then you need to get out.

If you can’t see the value in allowing software vendors to come in to your business and Introduce Best practice or consider hosting workshops for all your staff on improved technology and information exchange methods or consider up-skilling your resources on new technology methods to develop your core in house capabilities; then you need to get out.

If you have not yet researched your business Alignment with other technology Interfaces and applications such as Block Chain, digital physical integration and sensors; then you need to get out.

And if you still sharpening your pencils and designing on paper or for that matter measuring quantities off paper with a ruler; then you need to get out.

And if you having issues with traditional management  or critics working alongside you and you need my words, then you keep these words, and you use them, and you remember them, and you share them on social media, and you talk about them.

We don’t all need to be experts within our industry or, for that matter question your values. But we need to be enthusiastic and we need to be trained for life, not just trained to make a living. We need to be intellectually prepared to understand the needs of other professionals in our industry while still applying our technological skills

And I’ll tell you the appropriate response for people with traditional ideas or those industry critics who suffer from the fear for the unknown. An appropriate response to these people is to rather strive be enthusiastic than an expert, because what we should have is an industry that is ready to talk and share these ideas and address the issues as one. That’s a better idea.

There are so many industry players out there with great ideas. We are all striving to bring improvement to an Industry going through its hardest challenges to date, yet we also stand on an abyss of opportunity to benefit from the steep learning curve of other transforming countries. I acknowledge my passion & energy to adopt digital benefits are sometimes seen as uncompromising and unmindful to some. It is my wish to bring Africa fully into the Digital arena with lessons learned from other modern countries.

This past year has been particularly frustrating, especially as many of our best & brightest in the Industry have left for greener pastures. The construction world is evolving quickly, and career opportunities have been changing rapidly along with it.

The power of an enthusiastic industry is a much better idea, than individual experts or companies that voice their accomplishments and often have ingrained ideas. The power that comes from all industry players, that we unite from all parts of this country, that we come from all races, we come from all professional backgrounds and gender, the power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful as an industry. From there on we together become enthusiastic and build on lessons learned.

Together we are STRONGER and, if intellectually prepared,  we can apply our technological skills within all construction industry sectors, institutions, agencies, and academia.

I hope that 2020 brings joy and prosperity to you, your family and business.

I hope you have a rejuvenating Seasonal break and look forward to continuing to engage with you in the next

Our office will be closed from the 18th December 2019

…..and will reopen on the 13th January 2020