Speaker Spotlight: Adam Box

Adam Box, Business Development Manager Vertical Construction

This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Box, from Topcon Positioning Group to tell us a little about him and his upcoming session, “So What Happens Next?…and What Could Happen?” at this year’s BILT Europe in Edinburgh, Scotland!

Who are you – tell us what you really do and help us to get to know you a little bit better (I.e. what got you excited last Wednesday?)

My role is to promote the understanding of Topcon’s technology to help companies deliver construction projects more efficiently and more accurately.  I love the construction industry; it is capable of creating amazing buildings and infrastructure that keeps up alive and working today.  I am also extremely aware of many of the challenges that exist that hamper innovation and restrict change within the industry.  If I can play a small part in moving the sector forward then I will be happy.

What’s interesting to you outside of your work?

Outside of work I have always been interested in pretty much anything that beeps or flashes.  Having been involved in the computer software and solutions industry since the days of DOS 6.2 and the very early days of Windows, it has been great to see the world evolve.  My interests are not just purely technology related though, I do enjoy a number of sports with golf a major part of my life, much to the annoyance of my wife. 

What do you feel is most lacking in our industry currently? And how do you think this can be changed?

The industry is a very slow moving beast. As there are so many pressures facing organizations looking to efficiently deliver on a construction project, it is no real surprise that innovation is adopted slowly.

On a personal level, I am beginning to think that it will be the less ‘traditional’ businesses to enact major changes.  I am very interested in some of the more recent concept of delivering a building on a pay as you go basis.  If a client is no longer buying a building and putting up with all of the problems of the design, delivery and operational aspects, but instead just subscribing to x number of seats for x number of staff to work in a comfortable and managed environment, then you have an opportunity to rip up the traditional delivery process and truly transform the construction workflow.  Companies offering this ‘service’ will approach the building process in a very different way and will radically change the design, delivery and operational process to meet their needs.

The Implementation of BIM is growing in Europe, but is still not universally used or implemented. Why do you think this is, and what can we do to change this?

An easy answer for me – contractual.  Until people are contractually obliged to deliver on specific requirements they will not do it.  At the moment BIM is mainly focused within the design environment, with often very vague contractual requirements when it actually gets to the physical delivery aspect.  I also think that BIM has become far too complex – too many people have been  involved in creating far too many standards and processes that are of almost no interest or relevance to the person who actually pays the bill for the construction project.  I vividly remember the very early days of BIM and its original ideals; this is not what we have today because some have  skewed the concept to suit their own ends.

The Construction and Operations Industry is still emerging in their implementation of BIM. Why do you think this is?

Change is hard and for the construction industry it is also extremely difficult to enact.  There are many people trying really hard to move things in the right direction. Unfortunately there are many more people involved who have a different view on what BIM represents to them and how they can profit from it.

What are some issues that your customers face and how has Topcon managed to help overcome these issues?

Topcon is fundamentally a company delivering the tools to our customers to allow them to get things built.  With a huge heritage in positioning and digital data capture we have hardware and software solutions that companies utilize to deliver some of the biggest construction projects in the world today. More recently we have helped companies resolve the question of, “is it in the right place?” through developing a new workflow to allow construction site engineers to continually collect on site scan data, and be able to review the progress of the actual job against the design model in near real time. We are showcasing this new process and the transformative technology within it at BILT this year.

Tell us a little about your session – what was the motivation behind them and why should delegates attend? Who are you hoping to reach with your sessions and why these people in particular? What are you hoping delegates will gain from attending your sessions?

BILT has a strong focus on the design and planning aspect of the construction process. What I wanted to do is provide people with the opportunity to see a bit more about what happens next, when soil is dug, and physical assembly occurs. I am looking to cover some of the challenges that are faced in this part of the process and how a company can resolve them. 

Technology has played a huge part in the planning and design aspect of construction. It is yet to truly impact the physical delivery aspect – we still have hundreds of people carrying out much the same process as 20 years ago.

I wanted my session to be a little bit of a break from the other amazing sessions, an opportunity to take time to see what happens after the 3D design is in place and how companies turn this into construction activities.

Technology is playing a continually growing part of the final delivery process, I will be covering some of the solutions being utilized and also doing a little bit of future gazing at some emerging processes that I feel will play an increasing part of how we build in the future.

The main reason that I would want people to attend is to understand some of the changes they may need to consider in how they design a building, so they can take advantage of new processes. Very often designs are ‘thrown over the wall’ to contractors to try and work out how to actually build them, this needs to change if we are to move the industry forward to new manufacturing and construction assembly processes.

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