Flip the Script: Ask Planning Questions in This Order for Better Project Outcomes

By Patrick

Architect in field

When architects and planners work with owners, they usually accept a proposed site and think about how to arrange and orient a building on that site.

They develop ideas about what the building should look like in some detail before engaging builders or construction managers in ideas about how the building will be delivered.

Then, if the project cost cannot be brought in line with the budget, another site or an existing building renovation is considered.

AEC teams tend to think first about what to build, then how to build, and finally where else they should think about building.

Perhaps this is the wrong sequence of decision-making and engages the team members in the wrong order.

Tweet: Owners too often rely on recommendations based on experience rather than objective data. #AEC #BIM @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/j72pJ+

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in a better order for better project outcomes”

What happens if we reversed the sequence? Can a where-how-what sequenceconsidering multiple sites, new and existing buildings, and logistical delivery issues before thinking about the appearance of the buildingdeliver a better result?

(In manufacturing, how a product will be made is just as important as what it looks like, therefore delivery issues are considered from early in the design stage.)

The minimum information required for considering alternative locations and options are:

  • the owner’s requirements, or the space program
  • code and zoning constraints that might differ by location
  • construction cost differences and schedule implications by location

To find the best location, we need a data driven decision-making process that updates space program alternatives against multiple locations with multiple code constraints.

Note: This is a process enabled by an interoperable BIM Level 3 system; it is not possible with disparate data across multiple BIM Level 2 point solutions.

where-how-what approach allows the focus to be on the process of delivering the project, not primarily what it could look like.

With sufficient data to determine if a certain location will permit a facility to be delivered more quickly, or managed more efficiently, an owner can make an informed decision to prioritize project value over the appearance of a building.

Owners rely heavily on the recommendations of their design and construction team, but this advice has traditionally been based on experience rather than objective data.

Tweet: #AEC teams might need to reconsider their decision-making sequence. #BIM @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/4GPBJ+

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space program alternatives for multiple location options”

When building owners collaborate with finance teams, they benefit from data clearly presented in models that can be updated instantly to compare different scenarios.

Design and construction delivery decisions, by contrast, are made mostly on faith that the opinion of the planning team is correct. In this sense, owners have not been able to directly participate in a truly rational and objective decision making process.

Construction projects that leverage cloud collaboration, 3D models, and interoperable data can predict implications of choices early in the process, enabling owners to make the right where-how-what decisions to support their long-term objectives.

Tweet: Flip the Script: Ask Planning Questions in This Order for Better Project Outcomes #AEC #BIM @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/lq721+

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Related Resources:

Integrated Planning – An AEC Industry Solution from Dassault Systèmes

CATIA Building Space Planning

Building Space Planning on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform

How Lean Construction Practices Are Decreasing Schedules for Contractors

By Akio

McGraw Hill Construction, the Lean Construction Institute, and Dassault Systèmes teamed up to produce an in-depth report on Lean Construction. Below is an excerpt from that report on the the impact Lean practices are having on contractors in regards to scheduling.

Construction Manager


The Impact on Contractors of Schedule Decreases Due to the Adoption of Lean Practices

Reduced project schedule is one of the top benefits of adopting Lean practices, and saving time in the construction industry also cuts costs on projects and can increase profitability.

However, the savings only accrue to the contractor if the owner has not already factored the reduced amount of time into their expectations of the contractor, especially in the case of a negotiated project, or if the contractor has not deemed it necessary to build those cost savings into their bid in order to win a project in a highly competitive market.

The study results suggest, though, that these options are not mutually exclusive. About two thirds of contractors report that the schedule savings they experience due to their Lean practices do have a positive impact on the profit they experience in their projects, and just about the same percentage of contractors report that they are able to bid projects more competitively due to the schedule savings.

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Clearly, there must be significant overlap of firms who both have schedule reductions feeding their bottom line and schedule reductions absorbed in their efforts to be more competitive.

However, the findings also reveal that the industry is nearly unanimous about the growing expectations of owners that projects can be done in shorter time frames due to the adoption of Lean practices in the industry.

Tweet: The industry expects that projects can be done in shorter time frames due to the adoption of #LeanCon @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/R69b4+Tweet: “The industry expects that projects can be
done in shorter time frames due to the adoption of #LeanCon”

This aligns with the previous finding that increasing their firms’ competitiveness rather than direct profits is the larger benefit from Lean.

The in-depth interviews with Lean experts shed further light on this finding. Experts report that, even just five years ago, most owners were not familiar with Lean, but they see a broad change occurring.

Some believe that owner mandates will be the most critical driver of Lean construction in the industry in the future, a shift from what they currently see occurring, other than in one or two sectors like healthcare with engaged owners that have led the industry on Lean adoption.

Tweet: How #LeanCon Practices Are Decreasing Schedules for Contractors @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/12v3E+

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Download the full Lean Construction SmartMarket Report, with our compliments.

Lean Construction SmartMarket Report

Related Resources

Dassault Systéms’ Lean Construction 3DEXPERIENCE® Solution

Lean Construction Institute

McGraw Hill Construction

Facade Design and Fabrication: The Expensive Disconnection

By Patrick

Facade design

Most BIM (Building Information Modeling) technologies today disconnect the production of permit drawings from the processes for fabrication and installation. When owners include subcontractors in preconstruction services (as they often do with general contractors) they have the ability to coordinate these activities and reduce errors.

What is needed then is a data backbone to connect the building design to the fabrication detailing and installation sequences. It is common practice to have architects design a facade, independently from the manufacturer who fabricates the facade, and also independently from the general contractor and subcontractors who install the facade system.

Construction projects have included waste levels of more than 25%, and a major portion of that waste is related to the building envelope and facade. Waste consists of redundant document production, unused stored materials, idling workers, rework of installations, and other factors.

Tweet: A major portion of construction project waste is related to the building envelope and façade #LeanCon @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/3_aQU+

Tweet: “A major portion of construction project waste
is related to the building envelope and façade”

Owners and general contractors need to understand how much waste is connected to facade design engineering and planning processes.

New Contract Structure

The Design-Bid-Build relationship is the traditional contract model. Unfortunately, it makes it difficult for owners to drive project efficiency because of a lack of transparency in business processes and cost management systems.

In these circumstances, no one can take ownership of cost management over the entire life of a construction project. The Design-Build-Operate relationship is one answer to this issue.

In this form of agreement owners have the ability to coordinate the work of general contractors, subcontractors, building product manufacturers, operation and maintenance companies, and other stakeholders, in order to find a better way to deliver projects.

This approach makes building construction more like large scale product manufacturing, which historically has had much less waste.

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more like large scale product manufacturing”

Information Exchange Problems

When facade design engineers make fabrication documents, information exchange is a critical issue. If a building has a complex facade shape, it is important to seamlessly generate accurate 3D geometry and to produce specific 2D drawings for CNC cutting machines.

Current BIM software has limited capability to produce 3D geometry appropriate to fabrication. Therefore it makes sense for architects to access libraries of parts used by a manufacturer rather than creating similar information from scratch.

It is hard for facade design engineers to adapt to frequent design changes and reproduce facade production documents on the fly, unless they are directly connected to the architect’s model.

Installation Planning

Installation is, of course, an important perspective from which to improve productivity. If the unique types and shapes of facade panels grow in number and variety, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage onsite installation.

If delivery sequence and installation processes of panels are not managed well onsite, it is hard to understand which panels should be installed in which positions. This could result in a large waste of time and resources.

To compound this problem neither manufacturers nor architects include cranes, scaffolds, and other installation equipment in the documents. This third data source must also be included to optimize the delivery process.

In summary, we need new contracts, new processes, and new tools to address the massive amount of waste in building construction. The separate processes of design, fabrication detailing, and installation planning need to be combined into a single environment to properly understand costs and risks in building projects. A promising solution for such an environment is on the cloud.

Tweet: Façade Design and Fabrication: The Expensive Disconnection #LeanCon @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/wrjsU+

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Related Resources

Watch an 8-minute demo of Dassault Systèmes’ technology platform dedicated to Façade Design for Fabrication, Integrated Planning and Façade Detailing

Façade Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience

Industrialized and Collaborative Construction

#CATIAcloud



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