Do you see any trends facing the design profession or the industry as a whole?

Kevin Langwell, Senior VPKevin Langwell, Senior VP
Terracon Consultants Inc.
Olathe, Kan.

Commoditization [of design fees] continues to be a problem. Until we, as an engineering profession, refuse to let our services be “given away” in a race-to-the-bottom pricing game, clients will continue to view us that way.

B. Narayanan, CEOB. Narayanan, CEO 
Carollo Engineers Inc.

Walnut Creek, Calif.

The facilities we build are intended to operate for several decades, and their functionality is directly correlated to the quality of their designs. When design becomes a commodity, quality is inevitably compromised.

Jonathan Friedan, PrincipalJonathan Friedan, Principal

Low fossil-fuel prices … lessen the financial incentive [for owners] to keep innovating. Sustainability is more grounded in codes today, which is a good thing, as sustainability has temporarily faded in priority for many owners.

Philip M. Davis, Senior VPPhilip M. Davis, Senior VP 
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Due to immediate demand, younger, talented designers may be diverted to production mode. Midcareer designers are often placed in the role of mentor on top of fast-paced design time lines, creating the potential for burnout.

Scott Stewart, CEOScott Stewart, CEO 
IBI Group
Irvine, Calif.

We are seeing a blurring of the lines between client, designer-engineer-architect, builderdeveloper and end user. Driven by technology, fi rms we once considered clients or vendors can increasingly be seen as partners.

Do you see any existing or new technologies that are helping to change the design process?

Tom Mitchell, CEOTom Mitchell, CEO 
Bergmann Associates
Rochester, N.Y.

The integrated use of [drones], scanning, GIS and 5D technologies has moved from mere service enhancement to an offering that is an invaluable design tool, business development asset and a true differentiator.

Virginia Grebbien, Chief of StaffVirginia Grebbien, Chief of Staff
Pasadena, Calif.

Laser-scanning technology has decreased in cost significantly and is now at a level where it is practical to use for progress scans to verify value in the field and provide feedback to the design team of field conditions.

Rick Domyslawski, Exec. VPRick Domyslawski, Exec. VP 
Day & Zimmermann


When 3D laser-scanning technology is coupled with advancements in 3D modeling software, the cost savings can be tremendous. We had a scan done for a facility in the U.K., and, as a result, we did all the design work from the U.S.

Joseph Viscuso, Senior VPJoseph Viscuso, Senior VP


Pennoni has developed and launched a proprietary web-based, active energy management platform that enables end users of all sizes to better manage their energy budget and optimize their energy use.

Glenn Bell, CEOGlenn Bell, CEO 
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Waltham, Mass.

Technology is commoditizing parts of design work that lend themselves to machines. Engineers will leave to machines the things machines are best at and, instead, focus on creativity, innovation, collaboration, and leadership.

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