Category Archives: Waste reduction

Young people are snubbing the construction industry – but why?

By | Apprenticeships, Builders, Business, Construction, Estimating, Estimators, PlusSpec, Software, Technology, Trades, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 7 Comments

Does the construction industry have a disconnect with GenY?

Many of us wrongly think that the new generation of young adults entering the workforce are afraid of hard work and physical labour. However, statistics show that they’ll go to the gym, jog, and do more sport than we ever did. So if it’s not laziness, or the fear of getting their hands dirty that is disenchanting our younger generation from entering the construction industry, then what is it?

 

Workplaces have changed significantly, yet the construction industry has not. Most of us in the industry still think that technology is a luxury, or that it has no real benefit. There also remains the ‘apprentice’ culture. Even I was guilty of this. In our industry, I think that we tend to bark at newcomers. It’s probably not even intentional – it’s just the way we learned (as well as an opportunity to let out some stress!). However, things have changed. This kind of workplace does not stimulate or encourage the new generation. It’s simply not the way that any other industry teaches new staff, and I believe that this is one of the main reasons why we are seeing a steady decline in new construction employees.

 

Students and apprentices thrive on technology. It is what they are brought up on. And yet, the construction industry, as well as the Educational Institutions (based in construction) are not embracing construction technology as much as they need to. In fact, most apprentices are still learning in the exact same way as our grandfathers did.

 

Education in other industries has been transformed because they understood that the old methods of communication didn’t work. They understood that they needed to embrace technology. However, the Construction Industry is yet to find a solid solution to newer, more innovative ways to teach a declining wave of our industry’s participants.

 

Could the answer come down to training? The prioritization of technology, training and implementation (instead of merely barking orders and blindly following the ‘old ways’) may just be the solution our industry needs. And guess what? It’s an easy fix.

These guys do not realize how much they know about our industry, it's amazing.

These guys do not realize how much they know about our industry, it’s amazing.

I can only assume the rationale for the UK considering to call on the British Army to plug the skills gap in the skills-starved construction industry is that the construction industry in general needs more tech-savvy recruits, who also possess the fundamental skills and background needed for a successful career in construction? We all know that the army are at the forefront of technology, so it makes perfect sense to me that military leavers are an incredible, yet largely untapped resource that could help advance the construction industry and propel it into the future.

The army helping construction design and implementation

They might be tougher yet we all have to learn the fundamentals.

Technology holds the answers to encouraging our current and future generations of construction professionals.

Designing virtually on a computer and communicating construction methodology in a different environment is the answer. I’m convinced of this. I’ve been working with the “new generation”, “our future”, and it made me change the way I do things. I’ve  introduced technology to new employees for some 10 years now, and I find that this enables young people to actually understand construction, as well as why different construction methodologies cost more money and why some projects are more difficult to build than others.  

 

It took my hands-on experience to learn these things, yet to convey this experience to a new employee takes a lot of time, frustration and hard work. For me, the writing was on the wall, and I knew that I needed a better, more intuitive and appropriate system to teach my new employees. I drew a line in the sand and started a technology arm to our design and construction based company. My skills and resources were now being channeled into technology development and computer programming. These skills had to go into an existing platform that was proven to work for the next generation.

 

Plusspec for SketchUp is the result of my continuing work, and my experience has been rewarding and fruitful for the industry. Thousands of students and apprentices are using PlusSpec, and I am proud that it is helping them to better understand and prepare for their careers.  

 

When students/apprentices understand (and see) why they are doing something, they make less errors and gain confidence very quickly. With less error also comes less frustration, and ultimately less barking from the leader. This creates a friendlier and more productive workplace.

 

My generation (I’m 41) is not traditionally good with technology, yet my children adopt and embrace new technology without batting an eyelid. Working to their strengths instead of to their weaknesses is the obvious and easiest choice. If we ask ourselves why we barked at newcomers to the industry, was it due to their inexperience? Would we bark at someone who understood more in the beginning? Well maybe because we are old school, but nowhere near as much! A better, more informed generation of employees enables more efficiency and will encourage more workers to our desperately understaffed industry.  

 

If the UK decides to utilize their armed forces, they will also need training – and they will expect technological solutions, such as PlusSpec. We need to think outside the square and implement better technology today.

 

If you are interested in learning more about Plusspec you can contact my office on (02)9679 2429 during business hours or visit the PlusSpec Website. I am looking forward to a more productive and youth inclusive design and construction industry.

Andrew Dwight Designer Builder

Andrew Dwight: Designer & Builder.  PlusSpec creator.

Tilt panels and prefabricated concrete building components in Design, BIM, Estimating, CAD software

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Builders, Construction, Design, Designers, Estimating, Estimators, manufacturers, modular, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Tradies, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | One Comment

Modular construction comes in many forms. Designing concrete prefabricated panels to suit transportation and load capacity of a crane can be a challenge. There are software packages that do this in a high LOD (level of detail), such as Tekla, which allows the addition of reinforcement and output of working drawings. In many cases this level of detail is not required at design conception and feasibility stages. In these cases software like Plusspec for SketchUp can be a great way to detail and pre-prepare for input into Tekla. The advantages of doing so become evident quickly, especially when it comes efficiency and cost calculation.

 

PlusSpec allows the creation of concrete walls in totality, yet it also has the ability to segment walls to suit manufacturing addition of voids/openings and transportation sizing. One of the many advantages is the output of quantities according to wall segments and connections.

 

The other benefit of PlusSpec is how you can output files. PlusSpec works inside of SketchUp, and for those who know Tekla structure would know that SketchUp files can be imported into Tekla very quickly and efficiently so that the BIM and virtual design and construction life cycle can be completed.

 

For more information visit: www.plusspec.com

The team at RubySketch recently worked closely with Brickwork’s new Pronto Panel system. Check out the construction details on the RubySketch library, which are FREE to download!

PlusSpec and Sketchup VDC BIM detail of pronto panel

We also recently released the Dincel Construction System in the wall tool inside of PlusSpec. So if you love using the Dincel Construction System, there is no better way to design &/or estimate with it!

Dincel Wall Tool

Is there a modular system that you would love to see inside of PlusSpec? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear what you’d like to see!

Check out some photos from a recent visit to a well known manufacturer/vendor:

Brickworks Australbricks now have their full range of bricks available inside of PlusSpec for SketchUp

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | No Comments
We are happy to announce to our Australian users, that Brickworks Australbricks have further partnered with RubySketch, and now have their full range of bricks available inside of PlusSpec.   Every single brick! Can you believe it?   Combined with PlusSpec’s new Material Library search function, Australian users can now set their State (Vic, NSW, WA, QLD, SA, TAS) and only have access to bricks that are actually available in their region. This will ensure that you do not accidentally specify a brick that you can’t actually use!   Austral Bricks Full Product Range   Key benefits of PlusSpec for Brickworks Australbricks Customers: Architects and Designers
  • Ability to design with any Australbricks products, with a true representation of colour and texture.
  • Ability to generate unprecedented feasibility studies and/or material quantities, with no extra work.
  • Communicate more effectively with Clients, Builders and trades: Ensure that everyone understands the design.
Builders
  • Ability to automatically generate a Take-off and Estimate, and to select if you want to calculate the bricks by the m2 of bricks, or by the exact number of bricks.
  • Round up bricks to match the pallet sizes. This will prevent accidentally under-ordering, or over-ordering.
  • Other benefits include: communicating with subcontractors, error reduction and human error when interpreting specifications.
Homeowners
  • PlusSpec enables unprecedented Communication. Clients will know what they will get, before it is built.
  • Don’t like the brick now that you see it? Have another brick specified with the click of a mouse!

Manufacturer Spotlight: Taubmans

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Business, Construction, Design, Designers, IFC, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | No Comments

We would like to thank Taubmans for their latest PlusSpec ‘shout-out’, and for their ongoing support.

 

Australian users will be very happy to hear that the full Taubmans colour range is Coming Soon to PlusSpec!

 

Check out their latest Flyer:

Taubmans Coming Soon to PlusSpec Flyer

Taubmans regularly send out flyers with their paint brushout samples – and every user of the Taubmans Colour Centre requesting paint brushout samples will receive this PlusSpec flyer.

 

We recommend that all of our Australian users register to utilise these services from the Taubmans Colour Centre, by clicking on the ‘Register’ link found Here. This is the easiest way to see what your favourite colours look like off the screen, receive other promotional items from Taubmans, and stay up to date with all of their latest news.

This is just the beginning

We’ve been working on a new BIM Paint tool that will change the way you design, estimate and specify paint.

Interior design in combination with design and construction is a huge step forward for our industry.

Find out more here in our latest release.

Supporting our Friend: Builders Profits

By | Business, Construction, Tradies, Waste reduction | No Comments

At PlusSpec, we know how important it is to support friends

Builders Profits Logo_PlusSpec Partner

Our friend Builders Profits has just launched a new Builders Business Academy.

 

If you have a business in the construction industry, and need help growing your business, then this Coaching Academy by Builders Profits will help you get on track fast.

 

Builders Profits are currently offering a 50% discount for signing up to the Academy, so it is definitely worth taking a look.

From the words of Builders Profits:

‘If you are tired of feeing like a slave to your business, working long hard hours, slashing profit margins to compete for jobs and watching your family grow up without you, click the Buy Now Button and take the first step to making the pain of yesterday disappear. 

The Builders Business Academy was created to help as many as possible make the change they want without the hard lessons of trial and error and the lost potential that goes with it… not from text books or theory. 

Life is the best teacher, it doesn’t sugar coat its lessons, but now you have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others, and fast track your success through the use of BBA and its tools, templates and resources that have been created to make it easier for you to make the changes you need to make, so that you can achieve the results you want.

I’m sure you went into business with the aim of securing the financial future for yourself and your family, to provide you with the means to support them in the manner you want, and to enjoy what you do… 

If what you’re currently doing isn’t getting you where you want to be, something needs to change. 

To have change happen you need to take action, if you’re not happy with things as they are, but don’t do anything about it, how can you expect your business to improve? 

The Builders Business Academy won’t stay at this price for long so click here before it’s too late…’

Deborah Singerman Article: Why Architects and Designers are making the switch from Revit to PlusSpec 3D software

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Revit, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | No Comments

PlusSpec for design and construction

Award winning professionals use PlusSpec!

We would like to thank Deborah Singerman for her article on our latest 3D software, PlusSpec 2016. We liked it so much that we thought we would share it on our blog also:

 

Why Architects and Designers are making the switch from Revit to PlusSpec 

By Deborah Singerman

 

Ian Veroni from Dymaxion Design is a perfect example. When Ian Veroni won a copy of PlusSpec at a design conference, he stopped using Revit, and has never looked back.

 

What do you like about PlusSpec?

I previously used Revit from Autodesk as a design tool, but I immediately found PlusSpec to be very intuitive. It integrates with Trimble SketchUp, but takes it to a new level of BIM: it has the ability to construct everything together, assembling components and generating the build information, structure and BOQ for feasibility, simultaneously. It’s a great tool and has enhanced my ability to produce documents quickly, and better communicate my design intent to my clients and builder.

 

Which features do you mainly use?

You are able to bring in industry standard products from manufacturers, such as kitchen cabinetry, doors and windows. I also use the branded products built into the software. I like it that PlusSpec uses real products and manufacturers. I do not use all of them because I can create my own as well. Because of this, I am engaging more and more with building suppliers. The ‘Building Information Modelling’ aspects are very easy to manipulate (so that I can capture the correct information), and I love that I also can see this information visually.

 

This makes designing so much quicker; mind you, this does not take away from the fact that the design process still takes some time. You still have to do the annotations, dimensions, bill of quantities, though you can generate quantities quickly and with little data input from yourself. I am reliant on the builder giving me cost information to input, which will allow me to tell the client the expected quantity of e.g. brickwork, and they get a good sense of that and can say, ‘ok’. I can apply cost per square metre and see if it comes close to realising the budget, and it means that I can give the client a ballpark figure for their budget purposes – and understand cost implications at any given time, so that I design within their budget.

 

PlusSpec’s new tool for truss design is also brilliant: absolutely amazing. It allows you to create trussed roof framing, which helps resolve conflict and clashes in the roof design.

 

How else has PlusSpec helped you?

The parametric components combined with SketchUp’s 3D environment have made it so much easier to communicate with clients. There is not just the 3D model for them to look at but a 3D model that has built component features within it. For instance, with SketchUp you are creating surface finishes and so forth, independently – but with PlusSpec those components and finishes, the brick types, interior wall finishes and so on, are built in. They are all part of the parametric assembly. You can add your component height and generate the design around that, so it is a lot easier to focus on design work and concentrate on actually designing.

 

My clients are now tending to look at the 3D work more and more, and can anticipate the finished product in 3D format to get their design ideas quickly. This means you can engage a client in the design process from the get-go. PlusSpec delivers highly conceptual solutions so the client can visualise their own building, and you can more easily discuss their requirements. In the past they might ask, ‘what is that little bit over there’ but now they can can see it in context immediately and say ‘oh that’s great, I get it’. Or they can let you know if, for instance, they think a fixture is going to be a bit too close to a bathtub or cabinetry as an example.

 

On a day-to-day basis, how do you incorporate PlusSpec into your work?

I previously worked full time at Woolworths Ltd. as national design manager and started my own business a year ago. I moved up to the Hunter Valley a year ago too. I am mainly doing residential work and one of two small commercial projects such as an outbuilding for a winery and a storage facility for a large property which includes an upgrade to an existing building. I live in The Vintage, a golf course (designed by Greg Norman) development with a hotel and residential component, in the heart of the wine region.

 

I deal with engineers, builders and contractors. I am currently going through a design review and council Development Applications. These plans can vary with their comments. Documents then need to change rapidly and PlusSpec helps tremendously with this documentation. I can also pull a lot of data out of the parametric information and apply that to the specification as well.

 

Builders sit here with me and have been astounded by the information I can give them just with a mouse click. It is very useful for them – especially because PlusSpec automatically generates customisable structure, and allows me to show details of the design in 3D.

 

It is very collaborative software. As a designer using the PlusSpec tool with an owner and builder is absolutely huge. It has really helped me with clients; it has taken about 80 per cent of the work I have to do. You can collaborate, which is difficult to do in an industry that does not change quickly. It’s all there.

 

I am passionate about my work, and that passion has been enhanced by PlusSpec.

 

Deborah Singerman’s original article can be found here.

 

About the author:

Deborah Singerman runs her own writing, editing, proofing and project management consultancy, specialising in the urban built environment, design, creativity and community. @deborahsingerma; dsingcbeat@ozemail.com.au

Architects & builders: Communication is key!

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | No Comments
communication-builders-architects-technology-collaberation Design Professionals, Engineers and the Construction Industry need to foster strong relationships. However, I know that this is not often the case.   I have been observing communication breakdown for the last 25 years, and I am still unable to put my finger on the exact reason why this happens time and again. At first, I could only assume that it was due to cultural differences between an ‘office’, and ‘onsite’.   I often hear Design Professionals lament that the Builder has not read the plans correctly – and that Builders are too hasty to criticize. And on the opposite side, I hear Builders conclude that the Design professional has probably never physically built anything, and therefore, that even though they have drawn lines on paper – they do not adequately represent actual construction assemblies.   It is true that Builders are often brash in their verbal communication, and often dismiss the time and detail that has been put into the plans. And this leads to the most common complaint from the Construction Industry: no matter how much experience one may have, 2D plans are difficult to read, and difficult to find information quickly. Big document sets are daunting.   3D CAD and Building Information Modelling (BIM) Software has been seen as the answer to many of the problems faced by the Design and Construction Industries. However, I do not believe that it has solved the communication breakdown at all. The truth is that current BIM software has innumerable complexities and constraints. They are incredibly difficult to learn, cost you a vast sum of money to purchase and up skill staff (which is why the majority of companies do not even provide sufficient training), as well as prolonged periods of unproductiveness. And most importantly, although they allow you to visualise the project in isometric 3D, they are merely a slightly more efficient way to produce 2D drawings.   SketchUp is the first program that has made it easy to visualise and explain detail in an affordable and intuitive fashion. Everyone who uses SketchUp at an intermediate level would agree. Because SketchUp allows you to model in true 3D, it enables the design intent to be easily understood: you look at it on screen, in the same way that you would look at something real. The trouble with SketchUp is that it is often derided for being too simple (missing those much needed parametric, BIM features), and considered as simply a great communication and visualisation software.   Wouldn’t it be great if there was a program that did all of the cumbersome things and automated the process? SketchUp is the ultimate free-form 3D software, yet even SketchUp can be simplified – and that is exactly what PlusSpec for SketchUp has done. I believe that everyone should be able to design complexities without being a computer wiz or spending 9 months learning a software, just to be considered intermediate (which, I understand is the case for programs such as Revit and ArchiCAD).   I believe we could all be collaborating on a model very early in the design phase. I am not just talking about the architect and builder – I am talking about: architect, builder, client, engineer, estimator, interior design, authorities (council), the manufacturers, and even the subs. YES, everyone needs to be included!   I have been in this industry for 25 years and I still shudder when I have been presented with a document set of 50+pages. With technology, we have access to better communication tools, and we have the capacity to use them. And yet we still use 2D. The fact that the Construction Industry is working from 2D documentation onsite is ridiculous. I hear Design Professionals saying that the Construction Industry will not open a 3D model. I hear Engineers saying that 3D software is not viable (unless it is a multi-million dollar job), as it is too difficult and time consuming to model. I hear the Construction Industry say that 3D software is simply too expensive, and that the available software may be good for design, but that it has not been made to suit builders also.   They are all wrong. I held a demonstration last week with one of the country’s largest Design-Build companies, to showcase how PlusSpec for SketchUp is transforming Design and Construction Software. To showcase PlusSpec, the Design Build Company requested that I model one of their projects within their office. However, their concern was that I would make PlusSpec look easy (due to having over 25 years experience), the same way that Kelly Slater makes surfing look easy. I totally agree with them. There is nothing worse than being sold something that has been made to look easier than what it actually is (did someone say Revit, or ArchiCAD?).   To prove its simplicity, I advised them that I would have a 20-year-old intern (who works for me) model their design, instead of me. He has no degree, or certificates – but already had a little amount of SketchUp knowledge. The project that they presented him with was one of the most difficult designs that the company builds. The brief was to view an existing plan set of 6 pages, and then create a model that had all of the design detail, structural detail, pipework, bathroom layouts, site contours & shadows – as well as a 2d documentation set.   I was told that one of their technicians using their current BIM software (which will remain nameless) could do it in 3 days – but minus the structural detail and pipework. Using PlusSpec, my 20-year-old intern did it in half of that – and it included a full structure analysis and pipework integration + a full Material Take-off!   So big deal I hear you say. How does this help communicate and resolve conflict between architect, builder, engineer and the rest of our industry?   This is Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). A VDC model contains and conveys all of the aesthetic and design intent, as well as the structure, details, MEP, white-goods/products – as well as a full BOQ. There is no room for miscommunication of plans, as everything is there at your fingertips and ready to go into construction. The drawing is a master model/plan, so it also means that the time that has been spent creating the model can now be used over and over, and can easily be amended: eg. Changing layouts, materials, products, etc.   PlusSpec for SketchUp is communication at its best. It is the catalyst that will result in reduce waste, higher profitability, better design, and better and built outcomes. PlusSpec is Simple, Powerful, Professional & Affordable. What are you waiting for? GET IT NOW! https://www.plusspec.com/downloads.html

Stramit Colorbond Steel Roofing now available inside of PlusSpec for SketchUp

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, PlusSpec Updates, Sketchup, Sketchup for Construction & Estimating, Software, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | No Comments
We are happy to announce to our Australian users, that Stramit Building Products have partnered with RubySketch, and now have their Stramit and ColorBond roofing range available inside of RubySketch and PlusSpec for SketchUp.   John Bull, Stramit’s Marketing Manager, recognizes the value of PlusSpec for the industry. “PlusSpec is the solution the industry has been waiting for. Now anyone can specify our products, while completely reducing error.”   Key benefits of PlusSpec for Stramit Customers: Architects and Designers
  • Ability to design with real Stramit products, with a true representation of colour and texture.
  • Stramit products and the ColorBond® range  can now be designed virtually in 3D, just as it would be constructed on site. This enables 3D details to be easily created to clarify complex conditions, and to better understand products specification, procedures and requirements.
  • Ability to generate unprecedented feasibility studies and/or material quantities, with no extra work.
PlusSpec_Stramit Colorbond Roofing Builders
  • Ability to create a 3D roof with Stramit products in seconds (including the structure), with simply a few clicks of a mouse.
  • Ability to automatically estimate the size of building products required, including: roofing, guttering, fascia, valley iron, and down pipes, with all the correct ordering codes.
  • Other benefits include: communicating with subcontractors, error reduction and human error when interpreting specifications.
PlusSpec_Stramit Colorbond Roofing Homeowners
  • PlusSpec enables unprecedented Communication. Clients will know what they will get, before it is built.
  • Stramit customers will be able to see what the Stramit products look like and be able to walk around their home in virtual 3D (unlike 2D plans).
PlusSpec_Stramit Colorbond Roofing   Check out the full article by the BDAV (Page 33).   About Stramit Stramit Building Products is a major Australian manufacturer of roll-formed steel building products, including roof and wall cladding, guttering, fascia, purlins, flooring and structural formwork. These products, along with complementary products and services, are delivered through a nationwide network of manufacturing and distribution centres, strategically located to ensure coverage of major metropolitan and regional markets.  

Design & Construction efficiency reduces waste and makes industry more profitable

By | Architects, Architecture, BIM, Construction, Design, Designers, manufacturers, PlusSpec, Sketchup, Uncategorized, VDC, Waste reduction | 5 Comments

Improving  construction efficiency.

After 24 years in the design and construction industry, I sit back and look at how much money is thrown away due to waste.  There are many things that contribute to waste, and I have observed it first hand in large companies, as well as in my own custom design & construct company.  Sadly, I believe that we waste 30% on every project and construction efficiency from the start is where we all could improve.  

Waste is more than what we throw in the bin.

Where are we wasting money, and where could we improve construction efficiency? Firstly, it is important to look at where waste create is created. Many assume that waste is simply due to design process inefficiencies, or over-orders. In fact, most of us conclude that the rubbish that is thrown in the bin on site is the largest percentage of waste. However, it’s simply not true. In my experience, over/under-ordering & incorrect order-waste, accounts for merely 5% waste for volume builders & 10% waste for custom home builders. Although the percentage is small, this waste is still not acceptable and can easily be halved with the right technology.    

Too many plans.

I believe  a large percentage of waste (10% to 15%) is due to communication, documentation and time management inefficiencies.  A set of plans with 40 or more pages is waste,  it wastes design & drafting time,  estimators time, the builders time, and the engineers time. Moreover, it dramatically increases the chance of error. So why do we do it? Unfortunately, our industry does not adapt to change or embrace technology. We (the design, construction  & manufacturing industries) are all guilty of doing it the same way over and over again. The mentality is: if it kind of works, why change it? And without a feasible, hassle-free solution, most would tend to agree. However, I will never be okay with waste – we have the capacity and technology to evolve for the better. Now is the time to look at the possibilities, and change our industry. I believe that 3D Virtual Design and Construction, BIM models, is the answer to construction efficiency. 3D VDC model for construction efficiency and communictaion of structural intent.

 

Waste is included as contingency. Why?

Before I discuss how we can reduce this waste with Virtual Design and Construction & BIM , there’s a large percentage of waste that’s yet to be discussed. A large portion of waste is derived from the way that we perform a Bill of Materials. Smaller builders can spend 40 hours (or more) of unpaid work to undertake a BOQ. Once the take off is compiled and a final figure is reached, it’s presented in the form of a preliminary quote or price. The price is either accepted or rejected, and for the lucky tenderer, the job proceeds to a contract. However, an average project has up to 3 to 5 builders tendering on the job, for free.  That is approximately 200 hours of unpaid work. Now that is some major waste.. Moreover, if the successful tenderer gets a contract signed and proceeds to construction, all of the information that was compiled for the quotation must now be added to a project management application, and also an accounting program. Believe it or not, this is not a click of a button, and in the majority of cases, a builder will spend another 40 to 400 hours to finish this work. Is anyone seeing my point here? This is direct waste, it cannot be recouped, construction efficiency it’s not. It’s also worth noting, the client essentially pays for this wasted time, as it’s add as  contingency into their margin, to cover some of their losses. This is a global problem, and it’s costing our industry trillions of dollars.   It is true, the design Industry and  Construction Industry are beginning to embrace Building Information Modelling (BIM). In fact, some governments across the world have now  mandated BIM on public infrastructure. However, large construction project case-studies have shown that BIM has resulted in less than a 5% saving.  

We need more than just BIM.

I believe, if BIM is to truly change our Industry for the better, it needs to be combined with Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and EstimatingImagine if Builders could quote directly from a comprehensive 3D Virtual Design and Construction model? This would be the ultimate in construction efficiency and a huge advantage to industry as a whole.  construction efficiency startes with a 3D model with structural timber Steel, HVAC, and trusses for 3D BIM & VDC

The technology is available.

We already have the technology to create a 3D model (in various iterations). However, for some silly reason, we return to antiquated practices by spending endless hours converting it into 2D, just to print it as a huge plan set. This is where the waste percentage rises again & construction efficiency suffers. The tail-end contractors may not have seen the 3D model or understood the project’s complexities. And in many cases, even the engineers will not see it in 3D. In my opinion, Project Stakeholders, as well as the trades should be able to analyse the 3D model at any time (especially on site). I believe that this would lead to far less errors, waste and increase construction efficiency by up to 30%.  

More than Just a 3D model.

I’ve trouble understanding why 3D models are used as nothing more than a new way to create 2D plans! I can only assume the designer has IP, or liability concerns. If there is a problem, and if the latter is indeed the reason, this leads me to Integrated Project Delivery: ‘IPD’  (stay tuned for our upcoming IPD article). Essentially IPD is where the Designer, Engineer, Client and Builder, all assess the 3D model and collaborate on the best outcome. The main thing to be taken from this is that the liability is now spread over the participants, and not wholly and solely placed on the designer.  It also gives contractors the ability to be up front and charge for all work done instead of adding it as contingency in their margins. Most importantly, 3D  allows project stakeholders to truly understand the design intent, and easily accommodate for specific complexities. Virtual Design and Construction VDC saves waste and improves construction efficiency

BIM by itself is not enough.

If our Industry is to reduce waste, we need to incorporate construction efficiency via 3D Virtual Design and Construction, BIM & Estimation, in a Design and Construction Delivery Model:  
  1. Designer preliminary design 3D. (Paid)
  2. Designer uploads model to cloud & sets permissions for access. (Paid)
  3. Client agrees/ comments on design.
  4. Engineer has a preliminary preview and comments. (Paid)
  5. Tendering builders & or Sub Contractors have a preliminary preview and comments. (Paid)
  6. Designer compiles and replies to tagged comments, which have been saved in the draft 3D model. (Paid)
  7. Client agrees on aesthetic changes due to feedback (if any).
  8. Engineer adds in structural detail. (Paid)
  9. Builder & or Sub Contractors A,B,C etc. receive model and perform 1click quantity take off’s, and associate prices. Comments if required. (Paid)
  10. Builder agrees model is complete, or comments. (Paid)
  11. Builder submits tender price.
  12. Authorities are informed of development application and also view model: shadows and neighbouring properties notification. Basic model is shared and approval is given, or objections are sent to designer.
  13. Designer & client choose winning tender.
  14. Builder adds 1 click take off to accounting software.
  15. Builder builds from model, and a small 2D set (if required).
When a Design and Construction Delivery Model, such as the above, is implemented on all size projects, the industry will see huge cost savings and massive reductions in waste (of all kinds).

 

The Results.

As we get more technologically advanced,  time will being freed up and not chewed up in retrofits and last minute plan re-issues.  2D document delivery is ‘old hat’. It’s time to embrace the future by actually utilising the 3D model at every stage of a project.   On a closing note, here is the icing on the cake: When a project is delivered in such a way that it has all of the information saved in the 3D model, ongoing facility maintenance and alterations will no longer require redraws (as-builts) or structural adequacy reports. These are the number one contributing factors when it comes waste in the renovate extension sector of our industry.   A 3D model has the capacity to be the communicator of past and present design and construction information. It is the vault in which all  information can be stored & found efficiently, at any point in time.   I have spent the last 9 years of my life creating a solution for  construction efficiency. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.   All the best for 2016. Andrew Dwight,  🙂
Top