All too often in construction, complex projects get held up, or costs blow out because of the difficulty of constructing the design. Alan Jeffreys, CTO of ADDA, says 3D modelling tools means that no longer needs to be the case.
As construction designs become more complex and interesting, the buildability of these designs has in turn become more challenging.
For Alan Jeffreys, ADDA CTO, throughout his 30+ years experience in the construction industry, constructability has been and remains one of the biggest hurdles for delivering a project on time and on budget.
“It’s been a long-standing issue in the construction industry that many designs “tick the box” for features, but are not necessarily feasible as a built structure. And often there is no check done around that feasibility before construction gets underway, which leads to change and increased cost for a project.”
“For example many designs might optimise the reinforcement in order to reduce costs and the carbon footprint of the structure, which is a good objective to have. However, its only when the project is underway that it is realised that having the minimum reinforcement creates complexity because it results in multiple bar diameters, non-standard bar lengths or lap locations that don’t suit constructability. This leads to increased rebar production, waste, transportation, handling and placement costs.”
The tendency for project delivery team functions to be siloed means a process improvement step between design, construction and supply is often missed, where the constructability would have been checked.
“This is a reccurring issue that leads to design changes, program delays and increased costs once the project gets underway and the gaps between the design and what’s feasible quickly emerge. This is an industry-wide issue.”
How technology can ensure buildability
One of the key drivers for developing the ADDA Construct 3D software, which creates 3D models of steel reinforcement for a build, was to solve this issue.
ADDA has applied its modeling to ensure the buildability of everything from windfarms to train stations and even nuclear stations.
“As rebar is the first commodity product delivered and installed on site we want to ensure what’s been designed can be supplied and installed safely without delays. Our software has been developed to model the rebar using the design intent, enabling the reinforcement solution to be buildable and taking into account cost, safety, structural integrity, transport and placement.
“We start by capturing what we’ve got from the designer , the bar concrete profiles, bar diameters, spacings and interfaces. We then work with the constructor to assess the pour layouts, access & handling restraints and program and project requirements. From this, a reinforcement solution is created meeting all stakeholder requirements.”
The impact of some of these elements is often underestimated, says Jeffreys, which is why early involvement and collaboration is key, building the structure virtually prior to starting work on site.
Owning the process
Although some projects are adopting a buildability step in the process, joint ownership of this step is key in maximising the benefits to all parties, though safety, learning, maximising efficiencies and reducing costs throughout the total value stream.
“The client, designer, construction company and supplier all have experience with complex builds, so each party brings specialist knowledge. Bringing these specialists together at an early stage using the virtual model and working collaboratively facilitates successful project delivery.
“We now have the technology to add constructability considerations and early stakeholder collaboration to the design, so you end up with an optimised reinforcement solution, less waste, reduced changes and a complete solution that’s more cost effective and safer for everyone involved.”