Infrastructure Industry Trends Survey 2019

September 4, 2019 Kevin Breslin

For the last several years, IMAGINiT has been running an annual industry survey to gauge the pulse of the industry to better understand what’s working, what’s not working, challenges, concerns, etc.

In this year’s survey we received feedback from 240 individuals and learned the following. . . 

Services Provided:

For the last 4 years running, the industry seems to continue its growth into different facets where land development (incl private development) has grown over 20% since 2015.  We are also seeing a near 20% growth into municipal consulting; however, the big chance has happened with reality capture services where the number of organizations offering these services has more than doubled since 2015!



Based on the growing trends over the last several years, it was no surprise to learn that more than ever, organizations are relying on Autodesk Civil 3D as their primary design tool, with AutoCAD holding its place as well.  Also, after several years in the shadows, Autodesk Infraworks is seeing a strong bump in use as a secondary design tool.  Also, after 10 years, it appears that the long-retired Land Desktop is no longer ranked as a primary or secondary design tool.

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CAD/BIM Management:

This is another topic that has remained mostly static over the last few years, where the number of organizations with a dedicated CAD/BIM manger is still around 50%.  Those same organizations report that most of the time their CAD/BIM managers are in a reactive mode (addressing issues that come up from users) vs being proactive (education, standards development/maintenance, internal education, etc.). 

Another seemingly unchanged situation with CAD/BIM managers is that the allure of billable work is still in play, often keeping those who should be working towards keeping the organization on the path to efficiency and high-levels of productivity, distracted with project work and as such, unable to do the things that are of a greater long-term, strategic value to the organization.


Data Sharing/Collaboration:

Not surprisingly, this is another topic that has continued its rise.

In 2019 when asked “Who do you share data with on projects?”, the majority of the respondents (~84%) noted “With everyone involved (internal and external)”.  In 2015 that number was 62%.


The means and challenges related to Data Sharing/Collaboration have also increased, where in 2019, for the first time, we’re seeing a growing number of organizations currently using or considering cloud-based tools like Autodesk BIM360.

One unchanged aspect of Data Sharing/Collaboration is that PDF is still the preferred file format for sharing (i.e. “printed” files) with external sources.


Once again, it seems that optimism remains strong in the industry where organizations are evaluating their fees every year and over half (51%) are increasing staff/hiring.


Business Challenges:

While optimism remains strong and many organizations are hiring, the challenges related to profitability and the ability to remain competitive are still present.

As we have seen in the last few years, some of the greatest challenges related to technology adoption is time and the cost of the implementation.

While some are able to stay on top of the latest and greatest technologies, in many cases this topic was noted on the subject of CAD/BIM Managers not having the necessary support from management, the necessary time, or the budget to implement (optimize, educate, rollout) a new design technology.  This inability to leverage the best in class technologies in many cases is a self-limiting factor, throttling an organizations ability to achieve greater levels of productivity and a competitive edge within their respective markets.



Free “training” (no surprise) is the leader when it comes to education.  Sources like YouTube are what most rely on to keep up on the latest technology.  While some state this meets their needs, many state that while free and available, the quality, accuracy and applicability of most of the free sources of education are insufficient.  Add the often-excessive time spent searching for the correct, free sources of information, and you have a perfect storm of mediocre, inefficient, incomplete and often unanswered questions leading to poorly educated users.


Generally speaking, business is good for most.  Challenges remain a mix of the usual suspects (time, competition) and a continuously growing percentage of organizations are leveraging power of the tools found not only within Autodesk Civil 3D, but also other tools within the AEC Collection (e.g. Infraworks) as well as a growing adoption of BIM360.

Finding the best education solution is still a challenge, while everyone loves the idea of “free”, the stubborn realities that “you get what you pay for” hold true for many.


As you would likely expect, I’m going to make the obvious and helpful suggestion that for those who are struggling with any of the following challenges:

  • Education
  • Support
  • Standards
  • Implementation
  • Assessment and Recommendation services
  • CAD Management Consulting

Keep in mind that these are ALL things that IMAGINiT does and we are ready, willing and very able to help.

If you or your organization are struggling with any of these issues, or if you have a process, standards, workflow, collaboration, performance, issues that you need help with. . . . . contact us.

This is what we do.

If you are interested to learn more, IMAGINiT recorded a webcast on the topic which can be found here

About the Author

Kevin Breslin

Professional Services Director, Civil <br> Kevin began working in the civil engineering and survey industry in 1985 and has continually built on this foundation to become an expert in civil design and infrastructure data management software. He has been involved in every aspect of the industry from field surveying to transportation systems, as well as managing a CAD design group within a civil engineering firm. <br> Kevin's passion for technology combined with his unique insights to the business processes of engineering firms makes him an accomplished leader for the infrastructure solutions team.

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