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Digital Tools in the Built Environment

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

Using digital tools in the built environment is an excellent option for many reasons. For one, both time and money are saved along with a reduction in risks.

Enhanced data can help drive more informed decision making. It makes it much easier to sketch up different solutions and costs. Using digital tools increase efficiency and compliance and offers greater accountability and record keeping. Apart from these, there are others as listed below.

Benefits of Digital Tools

We asked attendees at our Manchester Resibuild summit event whether they felt digital tools could improve safety and 80% felt that digital tools can help improve safety by increasing fire safety.

  1. Easier project management along the project lifecycle.

  2. The ability for architect’s software to talk to manufacturer information.

  3. Easier tracking on projects by various stakeholders.

  4. Tracking sustainability of materials is made easier.

  5. Less coordination is needed amongst multiple stakeholders across the construction stages owing to shared data.

  6. It is an easy source to access products and knowledge at each stage.

  7. It allows seamless integration of structural models with your supplier.

The Government Drive

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been made mandatory for government-funded solutions for a number of reasons.

  • It tests the viability of a plan.

  • It embeds design standards and manufacturing rules.

  • A better design guidance for prefabricated housing projects is provided.

  • Aims to speed up the build process.

The Challenges of Digital

Despite the many benefits and advantages of digital, there are a few challenges involved in the initial stages. The adoption of new technology can be challenging at first. The initial setup and training can be time-intensive, and migration of existing data can take time. Another issue that can be faced is integrating the setup with legacy systems.

Opportunities Presented with Digital Tools

Once past the initial challenges, digital tools have a lot of opportunities to offer.

Buyers can see product concepts virtually

Use Modern Methods of Construction or MMC to its full potential. A great way to showcase the design features is by embracing digital technology like virtual reality, BIM and digital pattern books. Invite others involved in the design and build process to virtually explore your products without having to venture out physically. One of the more advanced tools which does just this is CABS, which simplifies the balcony design process and produces a spectrum of photorealistic outputs, NBS specs and BIM outputs.

Mass customisation of homes by each buyer

Buyers can use BIM to visualise designs to be able to customise their homes as they want. The digital approach to MMC design allows mass customisation and manufacturers can develop a wide range of products using standard components for their buyers. This allows developers and buyers to customise their homes.

Streamline the planning process

Digitising the planning process is a great way to reduce the burden on the planning departments, streamlining the work and speeding up the entire process. Transparency in the design evolution can be achieved by using digital platforms to demonstrate options. Additionally, consent from the production line can be sought through a semi-automatically generated reserved matter application. Examples of this include

Digital tools can aid decision making

Digital tools can be used to support decision making in the building process, particularly for product and site sustainability. This could be done by developing a benchmark assessment tool to assess opportunities for MMC by local authorities and developers rapidly. This would help to rapidly review the benefits of MMC for a site and identify where it can be used. These tools could assess factors such as price, track record, design flexibility and build quality.

Catch up with our past event Digital: An Accelerator to Construction

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