AEC is an acronym that stands for Architecture, Engineering and Construction. Architecture and engineering have some similarity here and there, and all these two are related to construction. It would almost be impossible to talk of one without the other. But why the distinction in the first place?
Construction is the man’s and animal activity of putting up materials in an organized manner, either using hand or equipment. The process of construction consumes a lot of resources including money and time. But when errors occur, all these resources do go to waste due to structural collapse, non-functionality issues and many other deficiencies. Structural collapse is the absolute loss of everything, hence the need to meticulously study the process of arranging the materials together into one firm and sound structure. Once complete, it’s important to ensure proper functioning in key aspects of the building like plumbing, electrical, HVAC and so on. This is the emergence, advancement and importance of engineering. Engineering is the use of scientific knowledge and data to implement a working solution. Engineering, and not science, is what really makes our buildings function and work as they do.
Construction and engineering is much older than architecture. Architecture, even though most people tend to believe that it’s an ancient noble profession, it actually isn’t that ancient. Architecture, as we know it today, is a result of the synthesis of the early builders’ engagement in construction and some wonderful aspects of engineering. These people were actually called “master builders.” We still do have builders, home builders, developers, builders and co-creators groups today, people that actually are not “architects” who engage in the design and construction of mostly residential and light commercial buildings in various levels.
Architecture is the response to understand the planning and design of buildings, just as the engineers studied and understood how to build civil structures like bridges, dams and roads. Architecture has to acknowledge some of the scientific backgrounds embedded in engineering that makes buildings work and also have an artistic twist: that is, be appealing or attractive to people, its users or owners. Architecture is thus both a science and an art. Architecture, therefore, is the science and art of planning and design of buildings or structures.
Nowadays, certain structures like commercial buildings and buildings above 3 or 4 story will require, by law in some localities, that they are planned, designed and sometimes supervised by an architect or an engineer or a “qualified person.” Nowadays, Architect and Engineer are legal titles, protected by law in most English speaking countries, and one need to be licensed or registered before they call themselves one or the other.
Nevertheless, the relationship and linkage between Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) is very strong and still seems inseparable. The distinction or deviation is largely a creation from academic and professional circles. Actually, to many people, all these names mean one and the same thing. It’s actually, in most circumstance, difficult to talk of one without the other. That is why we have AEC.
Why is the acronym AEC Important?
AEC is the professional reference code of all the activities that are related to Architecture, Engineering and Construction. It doesn’t just sound cool, but it’s a quick code identity of people engaged in the build environment industry.
Banking institutions, in most established countries, group their business portfolio related to building and construction under a file name AEC.
Insurance institution, in most established countries, group their policies, identity or professional and property or general insurance policy related to building and construction under a file name AEC.
Government tax systems, in most established countries, group their tax brackets related to building and construction under a file named AEC.
Business registration, licenses and professional certificates, in most established countries, are categorized in groups and classes, and those related to building and construction are under a file name AEC.
Employment and job boards group their jobs in clusters, and those relating to building and construction are under the file name AEC.
And so on and so on.
Therefore, if you are a construction professional or practitioner, then AEC is your label, it’s your identity; that is what people think you are.
The moment you leave your country, to a strange land, AEC is your ticket.