You've successfully subscribed to acelab blog
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to acelab blog
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Billing info update failed.

Construction 4.0: A Framework for Physical and Digital Transformations

Stephanie Strifert

Construction has long been known as an industry reluctant to change, but we are already seeing mass material prefabrication, drone gathered data, and high-tech, responsive sensors dominating the building scene. For those who are skeptical of this digitization, Riley rallies back, “How can it possibly not be the next logical step?”

Figure 2.1 An architecture of the envisioned Smart Built Environment in Construction 4.0

Anil Sawhney, Mike Riley, and Javier Irizarry are editors of Construction 4.0, a framework outlining the paradigm shift of design and construction in tandem with technological advances of the 21st century. Arami Matevosyan, Director of Sustainability & Product Innovation at acelab, had the opportunity to discuss their views on the future of construction and the ways in which they anticipate construction and technology will converge.

Figure 1.8 Industry 4.0 and its key components

Cyber Physical Systems, Internet of Things, Data and Services, and Digital Ecosystems are among the key concepts that connect the physical world to the digital world and vice versa. According to Construction 4.0, it is the bi-directional way these systems interact with each other that provides the feedback loop necessary to develop responsive construction. The goal is not to merely streamline the construction process, but rather establish a method to visualize the lifecycle of an asset and its components.

Figure 1.10 Conceptual illustration of Construction 4.0 framework

Many are familiar with BIM and its uses in constructing three-dimensional models of architecture and building systems. Construction 4.0 takes BIM modeling a step further and elaborates on the integration of augmented reality and digital twins to develop holistic systems integration connected by the golden thread of data. Sawhney mentions this golden thread of data as a central piece of why Construction 4.0 is so pivotal in the future application of design and construction.

Figure 3.2 Construction 4.0 transformation based on platforms and ecosystems

Pairing this concept with sustainability, decentralization, and reduced longitudinal fragmentation, the implementation of technology in construction appears to be significantly more tangible. As Irizarry eloquently posits, technology is becoming an equalizer of companies and the methods in which they construct. Nothing is off limits at this critical juncture.

To learn more about Construction 4.0 and how it will change construction, check out the full interview below as well as the link to the book.

CONSTRUCTION 4.0: An Innovation Platform for the Built Environment

Additional Reading:

Sawhney, Riley, Irizarry & Pérez (2020) “A Proposed Framework for Construction 4.0 Based on a Review of Literature”, in Tom Leathem (editor). Associated Schools of Construction Proceedings of the 56th Annual International Conference, vol 1, pages 301--309

Author Bios:

Anil Sawhney -

Professor Anil Sawhney is the global Programme Lead, Construction, for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.. He is also a Visiting Professor at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK and an adjunct faculty at the University of Southern California. He leads the emerging RICS initiative and strategy on placing and positioning the Institution within the field of commercial management of construction and infrastructure projects globally. Anil is involved in producing the construction and infrastructure sector’s body of knowledge, standards, guidance, practice statements, education, and training. Dr. Sawhney is a Project Management Processional, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveys, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy of the UK.

Mike Riley -

Professor Mike Riley is Pro Vice Chancellor (Interim) of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology and Professor of building surveying at Liverpool John Moores University. Mike is also a Visiting Professor to the University of Malaya and to the RICS School of Built Environment in Delhi and is the recipient of the Government of India, Global Initiative of Academic Networks award in the field of sustainable housing. Mike obtained his first degree from Salford University (Building Surveying), followed by his Master of Science from Heriot-Watt University (Building Services Engineering), and PhD from Liverpool John Moores University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Chartered Environmentalist, Senior of the Higher Education Academy, and Fellow of the Royal Institution of Surveyors Malaysia.

Javier Irizarry -

A pioneer of research on Unmanned Aerial System applications in the built environment, Dr. Irizarry is Director of CONECTech Lab at Georgia Tech. His research focuses on construction information technologies including virtual and augmented reality, HCI issues in mobile applications for AEC information access, reality capture technology, Situation Awareness driven information system design, and Unmanned Aerial Systems application in the AEC domain. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, a Masters in Engineering Management from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, and a PhD in Civil Engineering from Purdue University. Dr. Irizarry is also a registered Professional Engineer as well as a FAA Licensed Drone Pilot.

Join the mission to revolutionize building product sourcing!

  • Click here to schedule a short, personalized demo of our software and see how you can improve the discovery, comparison and spec’ing of building products.
  • Or click here to sign up for acelab's platform!