The importance of project outcomes

Jul 24
Digital tower 2

The importance of project outcomes

I have been a digital advocate for many years since I saw the parametric capabilities of Revit around 16 years ago. As an architect who trained on a drawing board, I could see the advantages to what I did on a day to day basis, that this would make what I did easier and would improve my outputs.

Whilst I would always be part of a multi disciplinary team, I had not given any consideration as to how this may impact or benefit others in the design team. “Partnership” was the term in fashion at the time and seems to have since been replaced by the term “collaboration”.

My first realisation of the benefit to the wider team came when working on a schools PFI bid. It became clear that if we invested a little more in our Revit model and shared it with the engineer(s) it would save a lot of time.

I recall discussions in the office around “what’s in it for us” and “should we share our information”, and now if we fast forward 15 years, this seems like a crazy story and an unreasonable stance to take. Back then the idea of federation, CDE or BIM were not commonplace.

The benefit of Collaboration

Collaboration and team working has moved forward hugely which in turn has improved the predictably and quality of information as well as the time required to deliver it.

This early progress was about consultants improving their internal design and information production. From our own perspective, it was ‘selfish’ in the nicest way. This was an investment we made to improve our own efficiencies. It took a long time before our clients appreciated or were even aware of the benefits of 3D information.

Eventually it became a strong differentiator for us and also let us deliver information quicker than the competition.

However, things have moved on. Our clients now understand that we all use 3D models and expect the design team to collaborate and federate their information.

This is now the base line requirement. Those working in 2D already have become exposed and struggle to keep up with those who have invested in BIM.

A wider use of BIM in the industry

Now designers, contractors and subcontractors are all using 3D models for design and delivery, and we need to understand what value this brings to the clients who are paying for our services. No longer is 3D an internal authoring tool. We have moved beyond this and we need to be able to communicate the value such an approach can bring.

There is little value now in telling a client we design in 3D. Everyone does that, and we can produce great visuals, everyone does that too.

What we do tell our clients and those who invest in buildings, is that we understand the importance of outcomes and that we have the skills and abilities to deliver what they need for the project to be a success.

Only outcomes matter

We recently completed a project for a real estate investment trust. The priority outcome for them was increasing shareholder value. Along the way they wanted a fantastic building and also to enjoy the journey.

In this case digital information helped achieve quality and consistency, assisted with planning, and provided an asset deliverable at completion – which will now be used in operation.

Ultimately the building was sold to market before completion, this meant the project was a success, with digital construction playing a significant part, along with many other factors such as leadership and teamwork.

Another example is a discount food retailer who we work with. Their required outcome is to increase sales space square footage across the UK. We have standardised their information by creating only four store types which all link to a uniformed bill of quantities and specification. This year they are the fastest growing food retailer in the UK. Again, digital construction has played its part.

As digital construction and BIM mature we must look beyond the clever technology and authoring platforms and truly understand our clients required outcomes and use the best tools to achieve these to be as efficient as possible.

 

Rob Charlton, CEO, Space Group