It’s Time to Provide More Than Design Intent for Architectural Projects

By Akio
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No car manufacturer in business would create an engine bay by interpreting a representative 2D drawing—yet it is still acceptable for AEC professionals to work that way.

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a representative 2D drawing. Why should #AEC?

Today’s complex buildings should no longer rely on fragmented communication through 2D drawings or pdfs, said Robert Beson of AR-MA (Architectural Research – Material Applications Pty Ltd.), in a recent presentation at the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum Asia Pacific South 2016.

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Beson suggested that architects today have a responsibility to provide more than just design intent. When relying on 2D drawings, too much is left up to interpretation.

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to provide more than just design intent

“It’s necessary to fully engage with the methods of construction, of manufacturing, assembly, logistics and installation,” Beson says. “We need to understand and engage our supply chain from concept through design.”

Adapting to New Processes

Moving to a collaborative platform based on parts and assemblies makes sense, but requires new skillsets from designers.

Today, every project AR-MA designs is comprehensively modeled in 3D.

Every project uses 3D laser point cloud scanning to verify work as it’s built onsite.

Every project uses 3D laser point cloud scanning to verify work as it’s built onsite.

The shift requires architects to interact in new ways with fabrication and construction professionals.

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ways with fabrication & construction pros 

Take connection brackets, for example. By combining 3D scanning and a just-in-time fabrication pipeline, it’s no longer necessary to design complicated 3-way adjustable brackets. The team can design simple laser cut plates, each of which are slightly different and ultimately improve the tolerances onsite.

The need for 2D drawings can be fully removed by laser cutting or engraving directions for assembly into the materials themselves.

To provide these fabrication-ready solutions, every member of the team at AR-MA writes code.

Every AR-MA team member writes code in order to directly send information to fabrication machinery.

Every AR-MA team member writes code in order to directly send information to fabrication machinery.

“It’s not enough just to model, and put together assemblies and parts, and think through the building process,” Beson says. “It’s crucial to engage with the means of production and be able to communicate with them. Often that means writing code and sending G-codes directly to the CNC machines.”

Comprehensive Modeling for Wynyard Walk’s Unique Components

For Wynyard Walk, a pedestrian walkway recently completed in Sydney, AR-MA was contracted to manage and execute detail design of the stainless cladding. The team had to deliver a fabrication-ready package of over 3,000 perforated stainless panels and lights, more than 50% of which were entirely unique.

Beson notes that it would not have been possible to work from 2D drawings of the mostly unique 3,000 perforated stainless steel panels at the Wynyard Walk pedestrian walkway.

Beson notes that it would not have been possible to work from 2D drawings of the mostly unique 3,000 perforated stainless steel panels at the Wynyard Walk pedestrian walkway.

The designers wanted a parametric model that was flexible enough to respond to ongoing design challenges.

The model had to accommodate an as-built primary structure, a glass reinforced concrete wall cladding, interfaces with the ceiling, and ongoing changes in the panel layout and perforations due to modifications in the façade mullions and setouts.

The contractor found the Façade Design for Fabrication powered by 3DEXPERIENCE platform best fit its needs.

Its integration of design and engineering, part and assembly paradigm, and scalability, among other features, allowed the team to produce a highly detailed and accurate 3D model of the entire project scope.

The integration of design, engineering and fabrication information made the 3DExperience a strong solution for this project.

The integration of design, engineering and fabrication information made the 3DEXPERIENCE a strong solution for this project.

Not only did the comprehensive model prevent problems before they arose, but it allowed designers to minimize the number of part drawings by providing fabrication-ready geometry that was sent directly to the fabricator.

This saved time in the office and factory, and removed any error from misinterpretation of the 2D drawings.

For example, the tremendous time crunch made it necessary to release all fabrication information in batches. Façade Design for Fabrication helped the team to coordinate and track those batch releases, as well as any revisions.

Technical Support of Creativity

Beson pointed out that architecture has long been considered a creative endeavor, but what unifies the team at AR-MA is a belief that architects must unite creativity with technical ability.

“Both are necessary to produce the types of innovative and formative buildings our cities require today,” he says.

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Leveraging “Design For Manufacturing” for More Sustainable Buildings

By Patrick
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This blog is adapted from an AIA presentation on Technology and Practice presented in partnership with the UNC Charlotte College of Architecture in October 2016.

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for More #Sustainable Buildings

construction

Design for Manufacturing is a process whereby designers consider the impact of manufacturing processes in the way they design buildings.

Large components—whether large concrete panels or whole modular rooms for an apartment building—might be completed within a factory environment and delivered to a jobsite where they are connected to MEP systems.

To be successful in this approach, designers must work with building component manufacturers to understand their capabilities and design a construction approach that accounts for the logistics of getting modules to the jobsite and installed.

By considering how to optimize factory processes and then most efficiently assembling the modular elements in the field, designers can leverage strategies that greatly eliminate construction waste.

With reduced waste, building owners can adjust their budgets and apply significant savings from improved processes to better materials and overall more sustainable buildings.

The Two Paths to Reducing Construction Costs

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Reducing Construction Costs

Construction projects typically see amounts of waste near 30% due to redundant rework and inefficiency. Without this waste, building owners could achieve significant project savings and reinvest in higher quality materials that are less harmful to the environment.

There are two potential approaches to reducing costs in construction:

  • AEC professionals can continually look for cheaper materials and labor to control construction costs. For example, vinyl is a very popular building material, largely because it is inexpensive compared to wood and other solutions. Yet PVC is made from chlorine salt using lots of electricity in a very environmentally unfriendly process.
  • Alternatively, AEC professionals can change their processes. By adopting a Design for Manufacturing approach, fabricators can automate many of the repetitive tasks that have to be done to produce a building. Fewer, albeit more highly skilled, workers can manage building component production in a safe, factory environment.

The latter approach may require a greater upfront investment, but the return on that investment can be recouped through the dramatic reductions in waste. Those savings can, in turn, be applied to investment in more sustainable building solutions.

Reinvesting Savings in Sustainability

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Green projects are projected to grow significantly in the years ahead. At present, buildings consume 70% of all electricity in the United States, reports the U.S. Green Building Council. There are numerous ways to reduce this electric consumption, but most AEC professionals consider building products rather than building processes as a solution.

Designers’ strategies for achieving sustainable design might range from making tighter envelopes that require less heating and cooling, adding solar panels, using smart lighting controls, to numerous other initiatives.

In the UK and some other countries, laws limit buildings’ greenhouse gas emissions. In some parts of the U.S.—namely, California—there are some emissions limitations set by law, but most green building is done in the name of incentives such as LEED or the 2030 Challenge for Sustainability, among other programs.

But for owners and AEC professionals that truly care about green buildings, it is important to also consider a clean AEC process.

A Design for Manufacturing approach to AEC could potentially lead to cleaner processes than traditional onsite construction.

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Design for Fabrication Industry Solution Experience

A Treasure Trove of AEC Insights and Discoveries

By Akio
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To create truly innovative structures, today’s AEC professionals must look first at their creation process. Pushing the boundaries requires new technologies, new strategies and a new mindset.

The truly innovative AEC professionals are looking beyond what’s been done, to what’s being done across other industries.

Here you’ll gain insight from experts on the cutting edge of the industrialization of design and construction. Discover how to apply the efficiency of industrialized manufacturing strategies to any project, and the significant advantages this approach can yield.

If we look beyond traditional AEC methods, we can transform the efficiency with which projects are delivered and operated.

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of #AEC Insights & Discoveries”

In these articles, you will gain valuable insight, including:

  1. The benefits of adopting an industrial, manufacturing-based approach toward building design and construction and the new mentality needed to achieve this industrial approach to AEC.
  2. How early collaboration and a focus on installation during design can reduce requests for information and change orders—and increase operational performance throughout a building’s lifecycle.
  3. Tips for implementing manufacturing processes and improving AEC coordination, and the 5 manufacturing strategies that can help construction projects transfer greater value to their customers.
  4. Insight into using virtual design to fabricate buildings with the same efficiency that the aerospace industry uses digital models to assemble airplanes.
  5. How to industrialize work processes to create work packages that can be built and assembled by non-skilled workers.

Access the content now.

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