Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New tech to revolutionise construction

New tech to revolutionise construction

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
STEPP Design and Construction CEO Nhem Sovandy poses at his offices. supplied

New tech to revolutionise construction

Born in Phnom Penh as the second of three children, Nhem Sovandy studied civil engineering and has a passion for new technology. Always a good student, he embraced self-learning quite easily as well.

Civil engineering was not his first choice of a major. Sovandy always thought of pursuing a degree in information technology, but sometimes father knows best. Taking his dad’s advice, he pursued civil engineering, earning a degree in 2011 from Norton University.Yet, he still found a way to pursue his passion.

“While in college, I spent so much time researching and learning on my own about new technology, reading articles online, in magazines and e-books,” Sovandy, CEO of STEPP Design and Construction, told The Post.

His self-studies paid off.

“I wrote and published tutorials on software in the Khmer language and sold about 30 books to fellow students while in university,” Sovanday says. There was a good demand for such materials as the explanation and descriptions were in Khmer, making it easy to grasp.

“Reading about different IT topics helped me to understand how technology is utilised in architecture, engineering and construction in other countries,” Sovanday says. For example, he learned that the application Autodesk Revit is very smart and intuitive. It’s capable to handling project visualisation in 3D, and helps architects to explain a project’s concept to clients in ways unheard of two decades ago.

After graduation, Sovandy landed a couple jobs, one of which was for Gold 42 Tower. This project inspired him to apply new technology in high-rise construction.

As a result of his hard work and determination, Sovandy was offered an opportunity to train and live in Japan. There, his knowledge continued to grow, and he could merge his education and passion.

“In Japan, I learned about the concept of a ‘smart city’,” he says. Smart cities use technology and data collection to help manage resources and assets in an efficient manner.

“I was trained to use BIM [Building Information Modeling] to design future smart cities,” Sovandy said, referring to the modern process that enables construction experts to work and collaborate with each other. “So when I returned to Cambodia, I made developing a smart city a major goal.”

This was when Sovandy started STEPP Design and Construction, with “STEPP” standing for “Smart Technology and Establishment of Phnom Penh”.

He hopes his company can help Cambodia’s building industry to use specific strategies to create smart cities and speed up construction, reduce errors and lower costs.

As of right now, most building firms still apply old construction processes which are very costly and riddled with human error, Sovandy said. “At STEPP Design and Construction, we offer a training program that helps to spread information and knowledge,” he says.

Design Training Center (DTC) was set up to offer educational opportunities for young Cambodians interested in architecture, construction and engineering (ACE) fields.

DTC offers various programs such as AutoDesk Revit, BIM, and other software and equipment such as Oculus Rift, Virtual Reality, and programming languages like Unity and Unreal Engines. DTC also offers courses in BIM for university students and the public.

“If the government can offer incentives to students studying technology and AEC to learn about BIM, they will use this to create a new architectural vision and change the face of Cambodia,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm

  • Manet touches down in Beijing for high-level meetings

    Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Beijing on September 14 for his first official visit to China, where he is slated to attend the 20th China-ASEAN Expo and meet other leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Upon his arrival, Manet laid a wreath at the Monument