The built environment, which consists of construction plus real estate, represents almost $6 trillion in U.S. GDP per year. It is the largest industry in the U.S. Compared to industries such as automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing, however, construction lags significantly in productivity growth and R&D spending. Are we falling behind the innovation trajectory of other industries? What are the reasons our industry has struggled to evolve with respect to productivity? Is technology keeping pace in AEC?
While the industry works to tackle these questions and issues, there are many firms experimenting and pushing the envelope in compelling ways. In the realm of structural engineering, innovation is occurring at the grass roots level by professionals who are exhilarated by technology and continually incorporating creative new ideas. The following are seven key areas where innovation in structural engineering is driving evolution.