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About the AEC Industry

The architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry is responsible for producing the built environment – the homes we live in, the buildings housing our businesses, hospitals, schools, etc. – in other words, the infrastructure that makes civilized life possible. The AEC industry has a significant impact on the economy as well as the environment.

In response, the last 50 years has seen dramatic changes in the business and technology behind the AEC industry. From the use of computer-aided drafting and design, to systematized workplace efficiency, to research and development of increasingly effective and efficient products, to rigorous development of industry standards and identification of best practices, and to the increasingly widespread adoption of sustainable practices, the industry has become quite sophisticated.

In the past, the state of the industry was largely defined by skilled tradespeople. The focus was not as much on quantity as much as it was quality, and most trades were of a much more artisanal nature.

Now much of the industry is defined by business executives meeting the demand of shareholders, meeting deadlines and production goals, complying with increased regulations, shifting the focus to quantity, often at the expense of quality. Efficiency demands and tightened profit margins drove pay for quality workmanship farther down, and now much of the tradespeople are paid on a piece-meal basis. The education system has in recent years emphasized higher education and “professional” career, while de-emphasizing vocational instruction.

With less skilled tradespeople, the response by the industry has come to require greater automation with less workers at the journeyman level and more workers that are general laborers. With reduced emphasis on quality, errors in construction are commonplace and defects abound. And as society has become more litigious, so to has the AEC Industry.

The Role of Forensic Science in the AEC Industry

Here is a nice summary of Forensic Science from Wikipedia:

Forensic science (often shortened to forensics) is the application of a broad spectrum of sciences to answer questions of interest to a legal system.

The word forensic comes from the Latin adjective forensis, meaning “of or before the forum.” In Roman times, a criminal charge meant presenting the case before a group of public individuals in the forum. Both the person accused of the crime and the accuser would give speeches based on their side of the story. The individual with the best argument and delivery would determine the outcome of the case.

In the AEC industry, forensic science (or forensics) provides a means for answering questions, especially of a legal nature, as to deficiencies in architectural, engineering and construction activities. Thus, the role of forensics in the AEC industry is to apply scholarly and/or scientific methodology and norms to understanding the underlying facts regarding the built environment.

test-001The Role of for AEC Professionals

First launched in 2006, dissects the latest news and information impacting quality and risk management in the built environment. Editor and publisher Brian L. Hill curates content from the most respected sources in the industry to bring you insight for making better informed decisions related to construction and real estate.

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