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OFFSITE FUTURES

EXPLORING THE POTENTIAL OF SMART TECHNOLOGY From robotic bricklayers to augmented reality – the recent Explore Offsite Outlooks event offered delegates insight into the future of construction and the role digital technology will play in offsite manufacture and delivery.

1 Over 100 delegates braved the ‘beast from the east’ to make the trip to BRE Watford to hear from a select group of pioneering speakers, who are at the forefront of creating and delivering smart technology. Smart technology is changing the face of construction and although the construction industry has been slower out of the starting blocks than other sectors – the pace of change and varieties of ways that digital and information technology is changing habits and attitudes is huge. In partnership with BRE, Explore Offsite Outlooks helped construction professionals get to grips with the latest innovations and what impact these are having. Simon Cross, Director of Building Futures Group at BRE started proceedings focusing on the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) smart construction

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mission. John Eynon, Engagement Lead from the BIM Alliance followed by presenting a case study on Mayfield School and demonstrated how BIM played an integral part in delivering the project in just 18 months, including planning. John firmly believes that construction will be an industry driven by data and he likened BIM to a ‘really big goldfish bowl full of data’ saying: “BIM will bring transparency and accountability to the construction process. By imposing rigour and discipline to all that we do, the data contained within BIM, makes us professionally accountable, which eventually I believe, will enhance the quality of projects for our customers and develop a better built environment for ourselves, our children and future generations.”

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Under the heading of ‘Possibilities, Probabilities and Opportunities’, John Adams, Senior Industry Strategy Manager for AutoDesk had the delegates astounded by the futuristic content of his presentation. From robotic bricklayers to fully automated factories and massive modular buildings shipped to site via barges – the videos within his presentation clearly demonstrated what the industrialisation of construction could look like.

To create a better world, fit for the future, John Adams said: “We need to understand what’s coming our way. Imagine 10 billion people will live on earth by 2050 – that’s over 40% growth in our current population! These new demands on the planet will require design solutions. Autodesk is providing the tools and support for the coming era, using design to create positive change and solve epic challenges like climate change, resource scarcity, healthcare, development and education.” The event was not without controversy – with two of the speakers challenging the status quo. In the main, BIM has been portrayed in a positive light but although Andrew Orriss, Sales Director at SIG360, discussed the collaborative benefits, he also touched on a more negative aspect which is starting to emerge – what he termed ‘confrontational BIM’. According to Andrew, some construction professionals are under the misapprehension that if information is shared via BIM, they somehow lose their intellectual property rights. Under the heading of: ‘You are not having my 3D model, it’s my IP’ – he discussed how there is no basis for this and explored the law of unintended consequences. Virtual Reality (VR) has been the subject of much media attention. An artificial, computer-generated simulation of an environment which has transformed the way that architects

Offsite Magazine - Issue 10 (March/April)  

Offsite Magazine contains the latest news, exemplar case studies, comment, interviews and feature articles from leading lights in the indust...

Offsite Magazine - Issue 10 (March/April)  

Offsite Magazine contains the latest news, exemplar case studies, comment, interviews and feature articles from leading lights in the indust...