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How do you see the role of digital technology, both in design and construction? Digital technology is necessary to move forward. Embracing it to enable transformation is one of the key strategies for a sustainable business. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated digital adoption and investment. However, it is important to understand that digital technology is just the means to an end. It is a tool to make our work faster and more accurate. Digital adoption must deliver true value that may be measured beyond productivity. For instance, the choice of technology we adopt for design should suit the creative context and the purpose of the design. It may not reduce headcount or speed up work processes, but we can explore better solutions when adopting BIM and VR technology.


The creative aspects of the built environment professions


will never


be replaced by digital technology. In terms of architecture, design thinking requires human intuition. Decision making and problem solving involves human understanding and experience. Of course, data will provide insights that will inform human decisions but ultimately, the purpose of architecture is to improve lives, and the human touch will always be critical.


In terms of construction, I don’t believe that technology will ever fully replace human labour; though of course in the future, the industry will be less reliant on manual workers. What going digital can do is to make construction more efficient and safer; it will evolve the nature of the work done by humans on construction sites, and the essentials skills of the construction workforce will also evolve.


What are the latest technologies in the built environment sector that we have yet to adopt? We are just touching the tip of the iceberg with regards to the potential of digital twins in real estate. The use is often in the context of facility management. The use of digital twin technology in the design


Infusing greenery into the interior


Image by DPA


We reimagined apartment layouts and redesigned threshold spaces to serve as buffers or swing spaces to balance the needs between work and rest, private and public, and single-use and multiple uses.


process is still limited. Using its capability to design experiences through virtual, simulated environments has immense potential to enhance design quality and delivery efficiency.


With the ongoing implementation of 5G network, the built environment sector will be able to benefit from remote- control construction machinery that provides real-time diagnostics. The construction industries in China and Japan are now studying this for more clear-cut activities like excavation and mining. This will reduce construction risks and in the event of disruptions such as the pandemic, construction works can continue remotely.


How do we prepare our manpower to adapt to changes in the industry? With sweeping disruptions altering the way we practice, upskilling and reskilling have


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