SOLIDWORKS Partners with FABLABS and FAB Academies

By Marie
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SOLIDWORKS partners with FAB Foundation to sponsor the global network of FABLABS and FAB Academies.  At FAB10 Conference, Disseny Hub Barcelona, I have been fortunate to work with Sherry Lassiter, director of FAB Foundation and to meet many FABLAB coordinators from around the world.

#FAB10 Barcelona

The FAB Foundation facilitates and supports the growth of the international FABLAB network.


The first FABLAB started at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms under the direction of Neil Gershenfeld.  FABLAB’s mission is “to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything.”

#Fab10 Audience

FABLABs and FAB Academies impact is felt everywhere and shared this week at the FAB10 Conference.  Helping to create new jobs, educating the young and the not so young, developing the entrepreneurial spirit, FABLABs growth rate is exploding – doubling every 18 months.

FAB10 Fashion

SOLIDWORKS 3D Design software will be an integral part of the FABLABs and FAB Academies registered with FAB Foundation.  SOLIDWORKS supports the FAB Foundation’s efforts in 3D design, manufacturing, teaching and learning.

FAB10 Kid's Fest

This post originally appeared on the SOLIDWORKS Education Blog.

Marie PLANCHARD is Director of the Education Community for SOLIDWORKS. You can reach her @mplanchard1.

A Bottom-Up Approach to Lean Construction: Increase Business Opportunities for Subs, Value for Owners

By Akio
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Trade contractors that have thought about going Lean but are still waiting for the “right” project to come along may be missing major opportunities.

It’s true that as Lean first moved from manufacturing into the construction arena, its use was typically driven by a project owner’s desire to keep costs from running over budget and ensure project milestones were reached on time.

Pioneering owners led the formation of integrated teams and required everyone (construction managers, architects, engineers, GCs, and major subcontractors) to apply lean project delivery methodologies

Today, however, even a single project contributor who adopts Lean Construction practices to improve business processes will ultimately deliver increased value to the customer.


Trade contractors that adopt Lean on their own initiative are able to offer highly competitive bids while still providing safe, quality work.

In fact, improved safety is seen by trade contractors as one of the biggest benefits of Lean.

Whether from specifically implementing more ergonomic processes, or generally better managing a safety culture with integrated task hazard analysis, subs report seeing as much as a 15% improvement over industry safety averages.

Often, simply adopting reliable planning and controls will reduce the frequency of executing unplanned work with inherent safety risks.

ROI and Profit

Many subcontractors wait for top-down direction from construction managers or general contractors on “Lean” projects due to the upfront costs of collaborative scheduling and planning requirements.

However, those costs generally are recouped by overall reductions in wasted resources, materials, and time.

In addition, trade contractors that adopt Lean report seeing more consistent, reliable profit on their projects.

Positive Influence

3DS partner CornerCube reports that taking a Lean approach even to a non-Lean project can positively affect the processes and behaviors of non-Lean practitioners, driving overall project efficiency and delivering value to the owner.


According to Lean Construction: Advanced Project Delivery for the AEC Industry, a whitepaper by CornerCube,

Lean Construction can enable subcontractors to have greater control over their work—avoiding change orders and other challenges—by improving communications and collaboration among all parties.

Subcontractors that are adopting the tools related to Lean—including modeling and prefabrication—are earning reputations as “super subs.”

Many owners today are looking for trade contractors already familiar with Lean to serve as a resource early in the project.

One contractor states in the report that owners are looking for super-subs with which they can establish long-term relationships that go beyond the construction window and into the building’s operation.

By going Lean now, trade contractors can become a resource for owners and win a steady backlog for the future.


Further Reading:


The Evolution of AEC Tech: Q-and-A with CornerCube’s Fernando España

By Akio
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Fernando Espana, CEO CornerCube

Fernando España is at the forefront of Lean construction practices in the US and abroad.

With over 30 years in the construction industry, España has extensive experience in the facilitation, definition, design, implementation, monitoring, and optimization of Lean solutions.

He is the president of CornerCube, a Dassault Systèmes partner located in the San Francisco Bay area, which offers Lean construction solutions, 3D technology solutions, and related technical services to the AEC industry.

España recently offered his perspectives with us regarding the current state of the industry, trends in technology, and Lean Thinking. Below is a transcript of a portion of our conversation.

How have you seen AEC technologies evolve, and where are they headed?

Over the past decade or so, the adoption of 3D modeling has been the most widespread. When I started exploring 3D parametric technologies in 1997, it didn’t exist for AEC.

We looked to the manufacturing industry for solutions before the rest of the AEC industry picked up on its value. Now, investing in 3D is a requirement.

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