Technological advances in virtualisation, visualisation and communication are becoming increasingly important within the field of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC). Although the field has benefited from machine guidance and 3D for several decades, new technologies such as building information modelling (BIM), the internet of things (IoT) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are rapidly expanding the capabilities of the field. The saturation and adoption of BIM throughout the different disciplines of AEC open up new and exciting possibilities. The challenge for BIM to completely saturate the field is the coordination, interoperability and interchangeability of information from BIM models and information between stakeholders. This becomes especially important when mixing in IoT and connected reality, where data exchange is crucial for the utility of the products. The same is true for the utility of UAVs. As UAVs are increasingly being used for photogrammetry and scanning of the environment to obtain data on the context of a site and to enable the development of a BIM, a number of important challenges arise: the accuracy of measurements, the size of data sets, and the interoperability and exchange of data.
A typical example of such an interoperability challenge is to track the progress at a building site with the help of a BIM design model and connected IoT sensors and regular scanning by UAVs, thus providing regular and automated progress reports for site management. BIM can also support digital production in terms of 3D printing or other automated production processes. Other important research challenges within the field include the development of automated BIM modelling with the help of GIS applications and UAVs supporting input; developments in visualisation and interaction with large and complex BIM models; digitalisation and automation of construction processes (e.g., planning, production and design); and the use of new interfaces like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive VR for viewing complex BIM and VR models.