Bridge from Design to Execution

When we work in an Architecture/Engineering/Design firm, every action we take involves cooperation with another party to execute the work we design, whether they’re a contractor/builder, product prototyper or other product/service provider. As a company, we expend a lot of energy maintaining a connection with the execution half of our design-execute projects in order to transfer sufficient information about the design to the constructor, and keep the design process informed to actual construction conditions. The following are some ideas to help make that connection more transparent, and hopefully allow both parties to expend less energy maintaining the flow of information.

Location Bridging

Physical Location creates the most obvious barrier to close collaboration. Some ways we could reduce the impact of barriers.
  • Virtual Conference rooms – Extended office
    • A dedicated shared conference room – Create a collaboration space in 2 or more locations that have mirror layout and are connected via video and audio feed, so that
  • Remote Site Supervision
    • Wireless internet on Job site
    • Camera/Microphone that mounts on someone’s head/hat/shoulder and allows us to broadcast a walk-through (or record it for future review) so that fewer people need to be physically present to receive a tour and see/evaluate issues and solutions first hand.
    • Remote Pan/zoom camera stations installed onsite to allow for anytime monitoring of predefined areas of interest.
  • On-Demand / Live drawings
    • Printer in the Job Trailer
    • A Printer onsite, allow job trailer to print reissued sheets directly from the web.
    • Tablet PCs for drawing sets and markups for questions – wirelessly connected to live latest plots on the project server – would allow for direct markup and resubmission from job sites.
    • Research the use of digital drawings for construction.
      • GPS and other modern survey equipment tied to a digital model of the building can begin to allow some paperless communication onsite, avoid printing and replacing sheets.
      • Work directly from the model so more information is available.
  • How does something like PlanWell facilitate this, if at all? This looks like it's the next step .
Information Integration
  • BIM Collaboration
    • Add pricing, lead time and schedule information into the project Database.
    • Since the Revit model contains simulations of real-world elements, including their structural abilities, etc. we could also add real cost/lead time data and have them calculated in real-time as design options are investigated.
    • Once this technique is refined, we could reduce the effort to price options and alternatives dramatically.
    • In-Model pricing would help us during the Schematic & DD stages but would a contractor really use it, or trust our calculations?
  • Online Document sharing
    • Online CAD Files
    • Everyone currently uses some system to interoperate/share CAD files w/ consultants, clients, subcontractors. There are things we could do to enhance this communication channel, however.
    • Web-based portal that recognizes individual or company logons and displays all current, and all recently updated files.
    • Automated email/RSS/SMS notifications. (RSS works with outlook, and several other instant-messaging type applications, SMS is a text message on your cell phone.)
    • Logging of downloads, alerts when critical changes aren’t viewed or downloaded.
  • Online Drawings
    • Dedicated website for drawing distribution (PDF or DWF)
    • Ability to automatically alert plan holders of any updates via RSS or Email, or SMS
    • Ability to link drawings to the RFIs, Shop Drawings, and Change Orderss related to them.
    • Online History of changes w/ dates and related documents for each drawing sheet.
    • Always up-to-date stick set online and available from any location.
  • Online Project Management
    • (there are some products on the market for this, but most are too comprehensive and complicated to facilitate a simple information exchange. They require too much training and too much manual management.)
    • Manage RFIs and Change orders and other drawing-related correspondence on the same channel as online drawings.
    • Plan-Holders lists, RFI/Change Order logs would be automatic byproducts. Documented online, and visible from anywhere, follow-through and turnaround times could be monitored and tuned.
Collaborative Culture
  • Same-team approach – The first step
  • early involvement
    • by working together more, sooner, we can increase the data available to customers for decision making earlier in the process, affect design changes more quickly to react to a fully informed construction and usage plan.
    • With a more transparent connection between designer and constructor, this early involvement doesn’t’ necessarily need to reflect more work for both parties; the connection can be made intrinsic to the process, and it can streamline the early development phases of a project to save time and effort and changes later in the process. Combining information and expertise sooner leads to a richer design environment and more informed decision making.
  • Collaborative projects
    • a closer tie to a construction company could provide the opportunity to investigate new product types for the team, including pre-packaged construction projects, resale of management tools that are developed, and even turnkey building products that have the advantage of full architectural design and modular customizability.

No comments: