Long term thinking is at the heart of consultancy and engineering. We design buildings and infrastructure and plan urban developments that take years, and even decades, to come to fruition. We maintain assets constructed years before anyone alive today, was born. And we develop technology that’s expected to deliver value long into the future.
This publication looks at the aims of those who founded ACE, and how the organisation has evolved over the last century. ACE was founded in Victoria Street just as the First World War was changing the world, and the world hasn’t stopped changing since.
That story of constant change is one that this publication aims to reflect. Our perception of the future is shaped by both the past and the present. It’s formed from years of experience and from the changes we see taking place now. But while it would be folly to try and predict what 2113 might look like, we can, and should be, planning for constant change.
Rising populations and growing cities demand new means of managing and renewing the infrastructure on which society relies. The impact of natural disasters will only grow as the number of those living in vulnerable locations rises. And with increasing global wealth comes an ever greater challenge in meeting material needs from finite natural resources.
At the same time the industry itself is changing. The convergence of affordable processing power and advanced computer aided design software means that digital modelling of asset design, construction and operation is now a reality. The need to decarbonise our buildings and infrastructure requires new ways of thinking about how we design, construct and operate our assets. Pressure to improve efficiency, cut costs and deliver projects more quickly will demand greater collaboration across the supply chain. And increased investment in research and innovation will be vital if we’re to drive the progress we need in these areas.
The rising influence and strength of the East will change how we compete across borders and at home. A growing collaborative network of interconnected companies around the world will develop new ways of doing business. And the movement and development of talent will become critical to how projects are delivered and how economies thrive.
Our industry is a key enabler of the economy. It is our industry that drives the creation of the assets that the economy and society depend on. Without power, water, transport, buildings and communications, nothing else can function.
Engineers will be at the heart of meeting challenges in the future as they have been in the past. How we make communities resilient to natural disasters, how we manage and replace our ageing infrastructure, or how we meet our water, food and energy needs without damaging the environment, are matters of engineering. So it’s vital that we take the lead in finding ways in which these challenges can be overcome, and that we do it sustainably.