Current practice in architectural and engineering design involves workflow methods that can have many stages and steps that challenge the efficacy and quality of the design and construction process. Unnecessary costs accrue through design collaboration delays and redesign or rework at any stage which challenges the business model of all participants.
In recent years many papers, both government whitepapers, research document and industry guru’s have voiced concern on the poor productivity within the construction industry.
Comparisons have been made with manufacturing industry where overall productivity has doubled over 20-30 years. So how did that industry achieve such gains and construction didn’t?
Dropbox is used very frequently amongst companies within the construction industry as a mechanism to share information. Its cheap, easy to use and available to synchronise files across many hardware platforms. It is easy to see why it has been taken up by many small, medium and even large organisations to help them manage BIM (Building Information Modeling) information on building projects.
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform from Dassault Systemes has played an important role in winning 2 awards in the Construction industry.
The Institution of Structural Engineers has awarded the 2017 prize for Construction Innovation to the team that designed and built The TallWood House at Brock Commons - an 18-storey mass timber hybrid building at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada.
At 53m high, this student residence building has been recognized as the tallest mass timber hybrid building in the world. It is comprised of 17 storeys of five-ply cross laminated timber (CLT) floor panels, glue laminated timber columns.
Key to proving the construction process was the use of 3DEXPERIENCE to simulate the construction methods, from delivery of prefabricated parts to the work processes involved in assembling the building. CADMakers* used the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to simulate in real time all these interactions and hence improve on methods in a digital world before committing to the real world.
See this video to compare the virtual with the real.
Zaha Hadid Architects used CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE as the platform for the design of the world’s longest asymmetrical single stay bridge in Taiwan – The Danjiang Bridge. The design teams based in 3 locations across 2 continents used CATIA 3DEXPERIENCE On Cloud as the design and collaboration platform.
This greatly improved communication of ideas, management of information and enhanced the collaboration across the teams. The design team at Zaha’s were awarded the 2017 innovation in Collaboration Award from the Computing Construction Awards.
Both these awards show the gains that the construction industry can get from adopting the 3DEXPERIENCE platform as not only a 3D BIM tool but as a collaboration platform on which to store, control and manage all project data – meeting the requirements of BIM Level 3.
*VIRTUAL DESIGN MODELLING: CadMakers Inc
2D or 3D CAD
“Change or die” is the shorted version of Charles Darwin’s famous quote.
A little while ago I was in a meeting with a director of a major developer in London, trying to convince him of using 3D CAD (or BIM) models to help in construction projects and one comment put forcefully to me was
“I’ve built many a building with a pencil, paper and a fax machine so why should I spend money on 3D CAD information?“
I think we have all met these dinosaurs and we know what their future beholds!
Goethe said that “By seeking and blundering we learn “.
Well I am not so sure that I would like to start a career in engineering knowing I was blundering in order to learn. But his point is bluntly put - that what we call knowledge is gained through making mistakes. In other words, engineers push the envelope in design, making things bigger or lighter until they fail and then seeking out what went wrong. In some cases, this leads to fundamental research to capture the laws of nature in formulae. In other cases, it leads to best practice or rules. This is how the aerospace industry has made flying one of the safest modes of transport.
If you think back to your first days in a design office, in a new industry fresh from college, you’ll remember that there was always a designer who’d been there many years. That was the person you sought for help, as they had all the experience of what works and what doesn’t.
It was Oscar Wilde who said “Experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes”, and so why shouldn’t you capture that experience to then avoid making the same mistakes.
I can’t claim originality to this Shakespearean title which has suitable gravity for many companies in the construction industry. It was thought up by Dr Steve Lo of Bath University for a one-day conference I attended organised by the “Future Envelope” community of façade designers and manufacturers.
Drawing from members of the European Façade Networks, the Society of Façade Engineers and Centre for Window Cladding technology, the aim of the conference was to discuss how BIM can help or even hinder the design and construction process of building facades.