How Paperless Projects are Fast Becoming the New Normal at Offices and Workplaces Computer models earlier created are now being converted into models of virtual reality and experienced through digital innovation centres

By Aditya Yamsanwar

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Architecture and construction are inherently paper-heavy industries, and it is very easy to imagine stacks of files, papers, sticky notes and reminders inside every architect's office. However, in a changing world for faster communication and its multiple other benefits, more and more companies are going paperless, mainly due to factors like cost savings and increased efficiency. By implementing digital document management software, these businesses can make information more easily accessible from anywhere, fueling faster project completion.

When it All Started?

Architectural site documentation has existed as long as construction itself. The early building plan drawings made use of papyrus and parchment. The construction documentation sets were sporadic, until the invention of modern day paper nearly 220 years ago. The comprehensive architectural documentation process followed today did not appear until the 20th century. The construction reports, familiar today, appeared mid-way through the century. The documentation expanded as time passed, gradually changing to architectural design services. Due to increasing client demands and for the convenience of the contractor, the documents were produced in a particular format and method across the industry. What started as simple building drawings on mud tablets has now turned into papers and files spilling out of filing cabinets.

The drawback might be that paper can get tarnished in a matter of time in cases of flooding or fire. Computers entered the industry and innovators in the construction industry saw a tremendous opportunity to overcome what paper could not help them accomplish. The software of today are efficient, accomplish tasks quickly and data retrieval is a breeze. Not only are software task-specific today, they are no longer dependent on the realms of office use. With smartphones, tablets and high-speed network connectivity, the different types of architectural drawings and their associated documents can be viewed on the go. Efficiency has increased as the technology has simplified.

How Technology is Taking Over?

Mobile technology has transformed the way work gets done today. From bid to completion, mobiles have made accomplishing a lot of tasks, easier. Bidders can bid on contracts on the go; the contractors can use different software to interact with the team, managers can record machinery performance, an efficiency of machines, track delivery of items and order items online. Moreover, high-speed internet connectivity between devices ensures that team members are in constant touch and aware of the revisions in the building drawing sets at all times.

Today in India, we see the lesser use of paper due to ease of communication and faster processes saving time, costs and resources. However, this may lead to no physical database which may also be necessary to cater to other industries such as legal and others which do not go by the digital work due to the easy possibility of foul play. Keeping its cons aside, the paperwork or to say 'digital' work has certainly made processes easier and faster and placed it on a silver platter onto our hands.

Technology Says it All

We are now moving further towards non-necessity of paperwork due to the physical experience one can achieve with the use of Virtual Reality and digital three-dimensional technologies. Computer models earlier created are now being converted into models of virtual reality and experienced through digital innovation centres. We believe this is the latest development in paperless architecture and is moving towards evolving into all modes of changes and modulations to then happen through this approach in digitization.

Various architecture and construction organizations, as well as government authorities, are also developing methods to adopt blockchain technology while this is being already implemented in many sectors of the industry. Blockchain technology has made communication, access to data and sharing much easier without letting it being duplicated and copied and hence led a change in the way the internet is being used and easily solves the problems of manipulation. We are only looking ahead to using these advancements to save the environment and in turn ease processes, generate faster communication and innovate using the best means.

Aditya Yamsanwar

Director, Partner and Strategist, Team ONE Architects

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