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Chasing the paperless office: how the engineering workplace is changing

An event for students and young engineers will explore whether the engineering sector could adapt to working in an environment that is entirely paper-free
05 October 2015

A London South Bank University (LSBU) and CIBSE Young Engineers Network (YEN) event will consider how traditional engineering workflow processes can successfully be adapted to the paperless environment.

Enter the current workplace of a typical engineer and you will see that it is dominated by paper print-outs of drawings and documents, revised by hand and then circulated to clients and colleagues. Yet many established engineers recall computers first entering the workplace and the initial herald of the ‘paperless office’. These engineers may remember transitioning from making hand-made drawings to using computer-aided-design, and switching from a postal intray to an email inbox. But for most engineers, the promise of the truly paperless office has not quite yet been realised in full.

Students and young engineers should therefore anticipate a number of changes in the way in which their role may be conducted in future, and LSBU and YEN have brought together some leading thinkers from the industry to explore how a paper-free environment in engineering can be made possible.

The Paperless Office7 October, 6-9pm, will highlight potential changes to industry working practices to students and young engineers, encouraging them to help decide on best practice and ultimately to adapt to keep pace with industry workflows.

Speakers include David Mather, Senior Mechanical Engineer at JDP, Dwight Wilson, BIM Engineer at Imtech Engineering Services and Nick Blenkarn, Managing Director of Seeable 3D Modelling. Students will learn about the environmental impact of paper use in the office, before seeing how a common engineering workflow – marking up drawings for a client – can be adapted with a digital solution. The event will also highlight the impracticability of printing copies of 3D-printed models, becoming ever-more widespread as Business Information Modelling (BIM) technology takes hold, presenting students with a new digital alternative.

Aaron Gillich, Research Fellow in LSBU's School of The Built Environment and Architecture, comments: “At LSBU we are committed to ensuring that our students graduate ready for the world of work. The pace of technological advancement in recent years means that new tools are constantly available to the engineering sector.  How to incorporate these tools to working practices is an ongoing challenge. This event is just one example of how we are helping our students to keep apace with change and to gain awareness of best working practices in the industry.”

The Paperless Office will be held in LSBU’s flagship Centre for Efficient and Renewable Energy in Buildings (CEREB), a venue that is designed to investigate and research the low carbon technology that we need for a sustainable future. The event will be held on Wednesday, 7 October, 6-9pm, CEREB, K2 Building, LSBU, Keyworth Street, SE1 0AA, London. Reserve a place online.