With technology charging full speed ahead, industrialized construction being advanced as a solution to housing shortages, and augmented design making inroads on projects, many professionals involved at the early stages of projects may be uneasy with their position in the industry upheaval. However, the changes taking place actually serve to enable design professionals to concentrate on doing what they most likely got into the industry to do – be creative and bring value to the overall project by focusing on outcome-based design.
Three trends are enabling more meaningful and productive collaboration:
1. DfMA (design for manufacture and assembly)
A technology-driven DfMA approach to construction enables design professionals to influence a project from the very beginning. DfMA combines construction certainty with traditional design end-products.
When architect, owner and manufacturer collaborate on a project involving DfMA, they can focus on outcome-based design and performance analysis, ultimately ensuring higher client satisfaction. In DfMA, architects design with fabrication, assembly and operation in mind, so the building meets the owner’s use targets and cost requirements; designs can reduce project costs, risk and schedule duration.
Although prefabrication processes have been around for half a century, serious commitment and real investment on the part of modular manufacturers has really taken off in the past several years. Simply moving the initial construction work off the jobsite to more controlled construction factories brings tangible benefits. When building modules and multi-trade assemblies are used on a project, the owner(s) can realize a return on investment through dependable budgets, reduced waste, safer work environment, economizing on materials, and meeting schedules.
2. Generative design
The generative design process lets teams define their desired project outcomes in the beginning phase, setting the criteria that must be achieved to produce a successful project – including building codes, local conditions, owner specifications, and others. Machine automation, through artificial “intelligence” (AI), then computes a myriad of options for achieving those outcomes. The result can even be imported into Revit for further workflows. By comparing these options and choosing the one(s) that are the best fit, teams can make faster, informed decisions that can impact the entire project lifecycle. The process frees them to be creative without spending time developing multiple design iterations manually.
Here again, generative design can result in higher client satisfaction with less time required for back-and-forth interaction when producing initial conceptual designs. The earlier you introduce changes into a design, the more robust the project workflow.
Although generative design technology has been in use since the 1990s, it is just gaining acceptance in the AEC industry after growing in use in manufacturing. As mainstream software emerges to harness the necessary data, design professionals are using generative design more regularly for outcome-based design.
3. Digital project workflows for collaboration
Digital project workflows bring stakeholders together in designing and executing a project, spreading the insights, responsibility and rewards across the board. With digital collaboration, multiple disciplines are able to participate and contribute to outcome-based design: making the project the best it can be – on the first try.
Through multidisciplinary collaboration, risk and insurance rates can be diminished; rework and costs can be reduced; materials and money can be saved.
These benefits are realized by employing collaborative software like Autodesk Construction Cloud and BIM 360, which supports digital project workflows for teams located anywhere in the world. Organizing and managing project data in real-time, with a common data environment, provides the ideal environment for better planning, designing, sharing, coordination, data insights, and operation of the building’s facilities after handoff at completion.
Outcome-based workflows are transforming design. They give designers creative freedom. They help teams make informed decisions. They enable new ways to make construction faster, safer and more efficient. They enable collaboration that delivers the best product possible. Technology helps accelerate this transformation and bring more value to the projects that result.