Vision Task Force Foretells How Projects Will Be Built in 2021

The Vision Task Force of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ buildingSMART Alliance has aunched, a new website that offers a glimpse into the not-too-distant future of the building industry.

The Alliance is the developer of the nation’s BIM standard, the National BIM Standard - United States (NBIMS-US). Its NBIMS-US Planning Committee formed the NBIMS-US 2021 Vision Task Force (VTF) last year to focus on defining, forecasting and, in some cases, guessing at the future of the building industry to gain insight into what the NBIMS-US will need to be able to support that future.

“The initial effort of the 2021 Vision Task Force was to ask subject matter experts from every part of our industry to provide short essays about the nature of their role, profession or industry as it will be in 8-10 years – a timeframe we believe it is possible to reasonably predict,” explained Chris Moor, chair of the NBIMS-US Project Committee and VTF, and AISC’s director of industry initiatives.

The VTF collected nearly 40 of these essays, and then spent considerable time researching additional sources about the future of the industry.

“We then wove this knowledge together into a single, compelling and tangible vision of how a construction project may be built in the future, including the technologies and processes that would be in common use,” said Moor. “We delivered this vision in both novel and newspaper article formats to capture the imaginations of different audiences.”

The website offers the reader the opportunity to download a story delivered via a choice of two literary vehicles—a short novel and a fictional newspaper article—through which to explore the design, construction and opening day of a fictional children’s care center in Springfield, U.S., and to meet the key players of the team that created the project.

Major findings among the VTF’s essays and other research used to develop the story fall into six broad categories: Sustainability; Facility Management and Operations; Data, Interoperability and Integration; Building Codes, Specifications and Standards; Technology; and Processes, Efficiency and Collaboration. All of the categories are expanded on in the summary within the publications.

But while these categories identify some of the anticipated progress of the industry during the next decade, what was more revealing was just how the industry might get there.

“Everything we discovered points to an industry looking for solutions; looking for a better way. And it’s up to the owners, the government and everyone who wants our industry to succeed to embrace the challenge of finding those solutions,” added Moor. “We have to find a way to get there. We need mandates, investment, a cultural shift and a brand new educational platform to help the industry become more efficient.”

To learn more about the buildingSMART Alliance, visit

You can also meet George Jetson, the steel fabricator of the future, in Moor’s article “Tomorrowland” from the October 2013 issue of MSC.