Structural engineering: A peak into the future
07 May 2019
在本文中，提交给结构工程师协会Kenneth Severn奖2018，and which received a commendation,RPS' Michael Minehane asks what structural engineering practice will look like in 10-15 years' time and how can the professional community help with preparations
Figure 3 – Interaction with design model through mixed reality6.
According to ‘The Future of Jobs 2016' report by the World Economic Forum,我们正在进行第四次工业革命，随着3D打印等领域技术的飞速发展，robotics,artificial intelligence and machine learning(1) (Figure 1).
Our architecture,engineering and construction (AEC) industry is experiencing a period of tremendous change,带来了相当大的挑战和机遇。
We truly now live in a digital world where the pace of change is ever increasing and the need to adapt to,and embrace,digital developments is daunting.的确，目前可用的数字工具和工作流程在本世纪初是无法想象的。Climate change and extreme weather events have never posed a greater challenge.
Environmental action plans,including the recently published 25-year environment plan by the UK government(2),在可持续发展方面为我们的未来设定目标，green infrastructure,resource efficiency and reduction of pollution and waste.
Accordingly,the advancements of the fourth industrial revolution present remarkable opportunities to meet these challenges facing our profession.
• The role of the structural engineer
Building information modelling
Early uses of BIM were primarily focused on building type projects,but nowadays extend to cover projects including all types of structures including bridges and williamhill娱乐civil infrastructure (Figure 2).
The UK BIM mandate in 2016 has resulted in a significant uptake in the use of BIM in the UK in a relatively short period of time.The 2017 National BIM Report highlighted that BIM adoption has reached more than 60 per cent in the UK,with a figure of 95 per cent expected by 2023.
It is therefore not surprising that roadmaps for BIM implementation have been prepared in several other countries,with mandates likely within the next five to 10 years,包括德国，Spain,Ireland,Scandinavia,Singapore,迪拜和澳大利亚。
It is expected that in 10-15 years' time,BIM将在全球更广泛的工程界得到授权，协作将成为我们所有人工作和共享信息的一种内在方式，and efficiencies will be exploited across the structural engineering and wider AEC community concerning:
• Reduced capital costs
• Reduced project delivery programme
• Reliable asset information
• Improved stakeholder consultation
• Increased export of services
区块链技术最近在金融领域被证明是革命性的，是比特币和其他加密货币的基础。A blockchain is a decentralised,tamper-proof digital ledger of transactions(4).
Recent studies have highlighted that blockchain can radically transform the built environment in the coming years by forming the platform that allows the internet of things to become a reality,which paves the way for a circular economy(5).
More specific applications for the AEC sector include smart contracts,supply chain management,and smart cities.Blockchain can also be applied to BIM to create truly live BIM models,启用不可变的更改记录，solve intellectual property issues and facilitate decentralised common data environments(5).
Digital tools and immersive technology
Current trends in employing coding,scripting and self-written plug-ins as analysis and design aids,代替传统的电子表格，建议结构工程师需要这些领域的技能，以最大限度地提高这些工具提供的效率。
The interaction between 3D BIM models and gaming technology has led to the development of immersive experiences through virtual,augmented and mixed realities (Figure 3,main image).
The pace of change in these innovations mean that ever increasing adoption across structural engineering projects will be realised within the next decade.Considerable benefits can be leveraged through improved design visualisation,collaboration and stakeholder consultation.
3D printing and robotics
3D printing has emerged as a radical innovation in the manufacturing industry and is already making an impression on the AEC sector.世界上第一座3D印刷人行天桥，comprising micro-reinforced concrete,was opened in Madrid in 2017.
Aerial drones are another form of robotic technology that readily lends itself to construction.无人机已经找到了应用，包括航空视频和远程采集测量数据，当使用传统调查方法的访问很困难或可能不安全时，这尤其有用。
In the future it is anticipated that drone technology will advance enough such that aerial drones can perform visual inspections and potentially aid with physical construction on site(9).
Innovation in material use
第二代欧洲规范，which will be with us in the early 2020s,will extend to cover extradosed bridges,strengthening structures with fibre reinforced polymers,steel to concrete connections,纤维增强混凝土和再生集料的使用。
New eurocodes are also in preparation for the design of membrane structures and structural glass.These developments will undeniably promote increased use of these materials and forms into the future.
The role of the structural engineer
We are fortunate to be practicing at a time of unparalleled change and exciting developments.Advances in technology,digital workflows and analysis techniques should not be viewed as a threat to our profession in terms of potentially making the structural engineer more obsolete.
Alternatively,it should be used as an opportunity to free up our time to engage more meaningfully in the most important aspects of our role,包括：
• Collaborate effectively with other disciplines and stakeholders
• Exercise conceptual creativity and imagination
• Innovate in structural form and material use
•充分考虑最终用户的触觉，elegant structures that are appealing and invite use
• Provide asset stewardship to maximise the remaining service life of our existing infrastructure
有变短的趋势，pressured design programmes,数字化发展正受到欢迎，enabling the maximum of our time to be expended on these most impactful facets of our contribution as structural engineers to the built environment.
The nature and significant pace of digital developments require an urgency for adaptive action among our professional community to keep abreast of our changing work environment.
Key recommended measures for our professional community to help prepare us for the coming 10-15 years,and to drive the fourth industrial revolution for our profession,包括：
1）Promotion of open knowledge sharing.Open knowledge sharing through disseminating innovations,successes and lessons learnt across the wider structural engineering community is critical to our collective development as a profession.促进一个开放的论坛需要一种与保留新知识以建立竞争优势这一更为常见的孤立方法相背离的做法。
2.) Improved collaborative working.Increased adoption of BIM will naturally lead to increased collaborative working.引入关于协作业务关系的新指南（10）也将改善与组织合作的机会，share knowledge,资源，costs and risks.
3）Developing a culture of lifelong learning.在2017年机构总裁就职演说中，Ian Firth,highlighted the need for ‘whole-of-career learning and CPD' in response to technological developments(11).现在越来越清楚的是，简单地改革现有的教育系统，使当今的学生能够更好地满足未来的技能要求——尽管这项任务是值得的、艰巨的——并不能最终满足我们当前的需要1。Accordingly,developing a culture of lifelong learning,upskilling where required,有针对性的CPD将最好地服务于我们更广泛的行业，以接受数字结构工程时代的进步。
Author: Michael Minehane,BEng (Hons) MEng DipHE CEng MIEI MACI,高级工程师，桥梁和运输，RPS.这篇文章，提交给结构工程师协会Kenneth Severn奖2018，得到嘉奖。该奖项是该机构一年一度的青年工程师论文竞赛，每年，the question is set by the incoming president.
1）World Economic Forum.（2016）“就业和技能的未来——就业，Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution',日内瓦，Switzerland,157 pp.
2.)HM Government (UK).（2018）“绿色未来：我们改善环境的25年计划”，DEFRA，London,151页
4）Asharaf,S.and Adarsh,S.（2017）“使用区块链技术和智能合约的分散计算：新兴研究和机遇”，IGI Global,Pennsylvania,137 pp.
5） Arup.（2017年）“区块链技术——比特币背后的发明如何为构建的环境建立信任网络”，阿勒普London,71 pp.
6）工程新闻记录。(2016) AECOM and Trimble Use Mixed-Reality Technology for Engineering and Construction,[Online] Available at https://www.enr.com/blogs/12-california-views/post/39681-aecom-and-trimble-use-mixed-reality-technology-for-engineering-and-construction (Accessed 28 January 2018)
8.) MX3D。（2018）MX3D Bridge[在线]，网址：http://mx3d.com/projects/bridge/（访问日期：2018年1月28日）
10.) International Standards Organisation (ISO).(2017) Collaborative business relationship management systems,ISO,日内瓦，Switzerland.
11） Firth,I.(2017) ‘President's Inaugural Address: Going for gold in a changing world',The Structural Engineer,95 (2),pp.16-24.