[August 2019] Digital transformation

By John S. Anderson, Director, Civil & Structural Engineering and Byron Cormack, C&S BIM Manager, Meinhardt Thailand


Digital transformation within AEC. When did it happen? The 70s. Slide rule to Calculator?

The 80s. Drawing board to Digitizers? The 90s. Paper to Printers The 2000s. Electronic distribution and sharing 2010 onward. Building Information Modelling, Virtual Reality, Holograms and Construction 3D printing.

Whenever it occurred, it has all compounded to form the AEC industry of today.

Challenges and changes?

Radical transformation would always prove difficult and costly but with many moving parts within companies, industries, suppliers within the AEC industry, incremental change will and is happening across the globe at differing rates.
Some may argue that it is disruptive, but is it really any different to the norm of constant improvement within an organisation year on year? Working collaboratively, learning and sharing with partners and clients in a productive way to get that competitive edge, faster turn arounds and be more profitable?

The largest challenge typically is that of the mindset, fear of the unknown. Fear of change. The challenge is to drive change across the business by challenging oneself and staff. This requires constant re-education of staff to introduce them to the new technologies.


There are many benefits when it comes to “Big Data” or “Digital Engineering” within an organisation.

From a developer/government perspective the range of benefits can be:

– Linked asset registers – Real time performance monitoring

– Sales and marketing visuals

From a Contractors perspective:

– Construction and temporary works planning

– Health, safety and public liability mitigation

– BOQ and costing

From an Architect or Engineers perspective:

– Verifying spatial concepts so as to push new boundaries with respect to design

– Better coordination and accuracy

– Clear accountability

Future of digitalisation within the construction industry?
As every industry grows and becomes more digital, new ideas will emerge, linkages formed and new industries created. Some positions will fall by the wayside. New types of employment opportunities will however emerge. Where will it all end up?

In the short term, there is a growing list of new services offered that can be offered by AEC consultants and contractors. The role of the digital engineer is emerging.
Alternative partnerships will be created – with cross between the generation of engineers and developers and other industries willing to embrace change.

Long term, Robotic printed buildings on Mars from inhaled space dust… Buildings that can repair themselves.

john anderson

John S. Anderson
Director, Civil & Structural Engineering
John Anderson is originally from South Australia. He has lived in Thailand since 1995.
He has more than 27 years’ experience working as a Professional Engineer on projects in Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Australia. John is one of Meinhardt’s engineering team leaders and is responsible for engineering design, design management and coordination of a number of their largest projects including the “River”, “Millennium Residence”, “Sukhothai Residences” and the “Vietcom Bank Tower” and in Myanmar “Illustra Condominium”, “Yoma Central and Dagon City”. John has expertise in the design of high-rise buildings, steel structures and in earthquake design. John is currently a Director in Meinhardt’s 400-person strong Bangkok office and in addition is also the Managing Director of Meinhardt’s 55-person Myanmar operation.
Outside of Professional Engineering, John has played an active role in the Australian business community in both Yangon and in Bangkok. He is currently a past President of the Australian Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) and is a Director of AustCham Myanmar.


Byron Cormack
Civil and Structural BIM Manager
Byron Cormack is originally from Brisbane, Australia. Byron is a Structural design draftsman with over 20 years’ experience within the engineering field and holds two main areas of expertise.
– Structural Engineering in building and property sector. (Health, Education, Residential and Commercial)
– Structural Engineering in the Infrastructure sector. (Transport, Water, Industrial and Mining)
These two areas of expertise have given him a board range of design, drafting, checking and project management skills across the engineering environment. He has worked in lead positions in Building and Infrastructure projects in a variety of locales for multinational and EPCM companies.



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