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Eco homes with intelligent production process


Pretek Precision Homes –



United Kingdom

Eco homes with intelligent production process Formed in 2009 by seven industry professionals from construction, development, architectural, financial and manufacturing backgrounds Pretek has rolled out a new manufacturing system that can lead the change for the future.

“The house building industry is sustainability. We are aiming to one of the biggest users of natubecome market leader in manufacral resources in the UK and buildture of Eco homes in 2011”,   ing sites still often operate in continues Mr. Marshall. ways that are closer to the 19th Wide and demanding century rather than the 21st. We market offer fast assembly engineered A typical order for the company housing to meet the Code for would be the supply of family Sustainable Homes, Codes 4, 5 housing comprising terraced, semiand 6. Independent testing of our Peter Marshall detached and detached dwellings product proves it complies with as well as buildings containing two the stringent requirements of or three apartments up to three storeys high the Code for Sustainable Homes”, guarantees Peter Marshall, CEO, architect and technical and student accommodation. director of Pretek. Pretek is committed to developing long term “Pretek has evaluated and adopted the best relationships with a broad client base in both practices from these markets and adapted the public and private housing sectors. them to efficiently and cost-effectively meet “We aim to satisfy a large part of the UK’s current and future UK building regulations on new homes requirement to a range of clients

in all sectors of the house-building industry. We serve major Housing Associations, A2 Dominion and Twin Valley Homes for example.” Also the geographic area of operation is broad. Pretek builds and delivers affordable and sustainable homes anywhere in the UK.

Forerunner in sustainable building There is already legislation, recommendations and directives on how the environment should be taken into account when building new homes. From 2016, the British Government’s target is for all new homes to be zero carbon, i.e. Code 6. The Code is the national standard for the sustainable design and build of new homes. It aims to reduce the carbon emissions to create homes that are less damaging to the environment both in their construction and   in daily use. “The code will definitely change how new

homes are built in the UK. Our manufacturing facility is being developed to meet or exceed these targets and the technology used ensures the manufacturing of our homes will become a virtually carbon neutral process,” Mr Marshall tells. Pretek aims to be as eco-responsible as possible. “Our homes are designed to last for centuries, will outlive traditional materials if properly maintained and will leave no carbon footprint on the earth if and when the home   is removed.” In its plant in Blackburn, Lancashire,   Pretek produces closed structural timber frame panels. The panels are fully fitted with service conduits, windows, switches, sockets and doors fitted with airtight gaskets which are   all installed in the factory environment. According to Peter the facility is designed to enable Pretek to increase capacity in stages, eventually capable of producing thousands of homes per annum, enabling the company to become a leader in the UK market for ecoresponsible factory-assembled volume house building. The advanced technology production facility means thus that Pretek will be very competitive financially, totally sustainable and we can save money at all stages of the production and supply chain.

“The use of sustainable materials put together off-site is the way forward for energy efficient homes in the UK enabling us to save clients’ time, hugely reduce on-site costs and minimise disruption to neighbourhoods”, Peter Marshall states.

Careful details make quality When making the market review of several different software packages, professionals at Pretek liked the broad range of Vertex to provide customer presentations and generate manufacturing drawings.” We chose Vertex because we appreciate the rigor of the 3D model build up and the quality of the output manufacturing information. The software is an essential part of the ‘drawing office intelligence’ and a key aspect of Pretek design for manufacturing culture”, Mr Marshall says. Also the customers like the 3D model as   an explanation tool and see clearly the quality and engineering benefits of the system to produce accurate production information. ”Working with Vertex demands rigorous attention to detail at an early stage, our customers can see the quality benefits that derive from this approach”, he sums. n

Pretek in brief n an independent new company set up

by experts from the home building, architectural and manufacturing sectors  n builds and delivers affordable and

sustainable homes anywhere in the   UK for speedy construction on site  n is based in Blackburn, Lancashire  n has established a 20,000m2

manufacturing facility Learn more of Pretek,   visit a webpage




Hermans Hout & Habitat show the way in Bio-Ecological Timber Framing Hermans Hout & Habitat currently serves its customers in two specialist fields: - Bio-ecological timber frames – both   low-energy and fully passive - Lattice construction of oak outbuildings   such as carports, garden and other sheds, and pool houses The company’s personal touch and respect for tradition resonate with its manager’s background. Hermans did not grow up in a family of contractors. “As a veterinarian’s  son, I dealt hands-on with agriculture a great deal in my childhood, and tradition permeated everything in my environment”, Jan Hermans tells. Also the grandson of an entrepreneur in the fruit business, he found that horticulture wasn’t unfamiliar territory either. Respect for tradition, art, and precious elements of Jan Hermans heritage were very important to his parents. This was probably the seed of his interest in historic buildings. Even while still completing his studies, Hermans co-operated to build a traditional half-timber-framed house. Then, once his qualifications were complete, he chose wood construction techniques for his profession. Why wood? “Long before brick was introduced, Flanders (the northern part of Belgium) had a rich tradition of oak timber frames. These traditional building methods should certainly be preserved as evidence of our heritage. I soon realized though that they could not be used “as-is” in modern architectural constructions.” In its focus on an ecological and sustainable building method and on a healthy living environment, H3 was the pioneer in Flanders with its development of “Bio-Ecological Timber Framing.” This was not without its risks, since these building methods were still very unknown at the time. In the beginning, it was truly a fight to make a living while going against established values – the Belgians are said to be born with   “a brick in their stomach.” In the years since, Hermans Hout & Habitat has, through perseverance and talent, achieved an important place in the world of timber

frame construction. With eight employees and its one designer, the company deliberately remains a small one. This allows it to anticipate, much more easily, the demands of a market largely involving eccentric architectural designs from individual customers.

Modern technology responds to various challenges That this is a small company does not, however, mean that there is no place here for modern technology. “From the very beginning, I was aware of the benefits of reliable software for supporting the construction of timber structures. Of my many contacts in the search for a suitable software partner, I found that CAD Serviceburo seemed the best match.

Hermans Hout & Habitat (H3), based in Herentals, Belgium, was founded in 2003 by   Jan Hermans. After earning his architectural engineering degree, he completed his graduate studies in a Monuments and Landscape Management course. With this background, Hermans, now 40, first managed a company mainly active in restoration of monuments, especially historic buildings with a semi-timber (oak) frame.

Manufacturing Interface option. The cutting-lists are now sent directly to a CNC machine. In the brand-new production hall, the walls are still manually mounted on a pneumatic assembly table. H3 has invested in the future. This includes assembly of the walls – the near future will see deployment of a mounting unit with nailing   bridge. Also, the use of the VERTEX software is now so vital to the company that a full-time designer is using it. “This meant an additional cost of course, but the investment paid for itself immediately in efficiency and profitability on the shop floor and in a lower error rate in performance. The risk of error is also greatly reduced, because everything is done in-house: preparation, drawing, prefabrication in the workshop, and on-site assembly”, reminds Hermans. n (Dutch/Flemish site)

As a VERTEX distributor, manager Jos Stals could deliver a reliable service – through his knowledge and that of his staff – this small software company exudes a lot of confidence and, more importantly, can deliver on those promises”, Jan Hermans assures. VERTEX Framer was the perfect starter software for H3. This was largely because the construction drawing module met almost all its expectations, more than the architecture component did. Moreover, the software was affordable, user friendly, and constantly evolving in line with user needs. When it got its start, in 2003, H3 limited itself to the design of prefabricated modules. Via the cutting-lists, the wooden frames were manually cut to order. In 2010, the company bought the Vertex NC




Vertex BD, long established in the market, has developed over the years into quite a visual and versatile building design tool. Its latest version is an even more compact package for sophisticated building design.

A more versatile Verte –“power tool” for the homebuilding industry Vertex BD, introduced as an offshoot from earlier Vertex building design tools in the 1990s, provides more power for modeling and building design in its 17th version. Product Manager Jukka Haho of Vertex lists usability, model parameterization, and PDM integration as the major themes of the latest BD version update. He says, “Version 17 further enhances independent customization of the software tools, reduces the possibility of human error, and provides even better tools to support sales.” The usability and user interface of the libraries, among other things, has been improved. With the new wall library, a user can build a library and edit walls interactively and nearly without limits in a more controlled manner.

Utilize your product data profitably!

It is now easier to create architectural design structures with the wall library. The same interface is used for adding to and editing a library, which makes complementing the library easier than before. Now the eave trim structures too have been added to a library, with a similar, well-defined user interface. Consistent appearance has been one of the goals of the user interface development, according to Mr. Haho.

An enormous quantity of data is created during building design, with said data often stored in multiple places and in several versions. Information is also needed for various purposes and in various forms. The Vertex solution for data management challenges is Vertex Design Stream. It can be integrated into the Vertex BD design program – with integration, product documentation can be managed easily, and both the designers and the salespersons always have the latest versions at their disposal, in the format they need. Vertex Design Stream can be purchased and introduced in phases according to business requirements. n

Vertex Design Stream is a versatile product-data management system designed for the house building industry. It can be expanded flexibly according to the customer’s needs!

G4 Advanced 3D Modeling Perfect your design by using G4 Component Design tool

x BD Improvements in parametric modeling The parameterization of a model has been one of the targets of BD development for a long time. Parametric modeling saves considerable time in design and reduces the risk of errors. Calculating tile spacing and fixing a profile end are the new Vertex BD features that improve parameterization. “Tile-spacing calculation should be utilized   for establishing the maximum tile spacing and eave extension. When the roof pitch of a house   model is changed, BD can automatically calculate the tile spacing and eave extension. In addition, fixing a profile end with dimensional constraints is one of the new sought-after   features,” explains Mr. Haho.

Framing design Handling of the views of floor, roof, and new wall elements has been improved. You can now adjust the view size by using the handles at the borders of the view. View scale is now determined interactively. The user can select the scale view-specifically, let the system choose the best default scale, or create a view with a free scale as large as possible.

Small improvements and major impact Product development is based on customers’ wishes. In addition to more extensive targets for development, some special minor customer wishes have been realized. One example in the new BD is the filtering of window and door sheets by room or by floor. “Some customers want to filter windows by floor or according to room type even if they are identical to each other. Developing such a relatively minor feature as part of the system improves the design work significantly,” says Jukka Haho. Vertex BD and Vertex Design Stream (Vertex

G4 Advanced 3D Modeling, available as a Vertex BD extension, can be used to design building components to the last detail. You can use the program to create mock-ups of windows, doors, or furniture, for example, in the library. In addition to the actual building design, you can use G4 Advanced Modeling to model the complementing components, such as railings, balconies, and chimney hats, as part of the data model. In addition to mock-ups, you can use the extension for detailed modeling of components and for preparation of the documents required for manufacture. This is required, for example, in factories in which individual windows and doors are manufactured through in-house production. The software includes easy-touse, intelligent tools for creating detailed 3D product models of components. The parametric, featurebased modeling is straightforward, and the system’s intelligent, context sensitive features are easy to learn. The geometric dimension data a 3D model contains can be used directly in production. n

Seamless interface, from design to production A Vertex data model can be used to provide the required cutting, processing, and assembly data for several types of machines. NC Interface, available as an extension to the Vertex software, generates the necessary control data for various machines on the basis of the modeled data. Data can be generated for the following interfaces, among others: - Hundegger cutting and joinery - Weinmann element production and beam processing - Randek element production - Vertex standard XML (machine-independent) - BTL cutting and joinery - Howick interface for cold-formed steel members, includes cutting and processing data - OptiMaster cutting - Z-laser laser projection In addition to these, Vertex BD has 15 other interfaces for transferring cutting and   processing data for wood and cold-formed steel member structures. n

product-data management system) together cover all the house-building processes from sale and design to manufacturing. The entity is already in extensive use, especially in the Nordic countries. “BD and DS serve the house industry as extensively as possible. In fact,

there are no other products on the market, that accommodate fully the requirements of sales, structural design, and manufacturing,” says Jukka Haho. n




Berks Homes shows that Vertex tools are   perfect for designing new house models –   even for ABC’s Extreme Makeover!

Vertex BD

helps design new homes for families Berks Homes builds homes for a variety of customers; from families looking for their first home to downsizing empty nesters. The company strives to provide a highly responsive, courteous, and rewarding home building experience for all of their clients, with a special emphasis on customer service, communication, and reliability. – We have an outstanding reputation in the communities around which we build. Our sales have been strong in comparison to our competitors and we’re in a great position to continue growing, says John Wisner, Director of Production Services.

A need for a more effective drafting processes In 2002/2003, Berks Homes was at a turning point. Sales started to increase as the housing market was getting ready to take off, and it was clear that their drafting processes were not sufficient. – We had been using AutoCAD, and had approximately 30+ models drawn, all with 3 different elevations and many options. The problem was we had to put them together as each customer selected their own customized home, based on the options they have selected. There was no easy way to do this in AutoCAD, and it just wasn’t going to be the long term solution for us. We looked into other products such as SoftPlan and Autodesk Revit, says John. SoftPlan wasn’t going to be a fit due to the inability to create multiple elevations within one plan. Revit did not solve options the way we were hoping it would, and the big kicker was it did not mirror or have a mirror command that would flip the house for us. – It just so happened that our IT manager at the time was at the International Builders Show when we started looking again. He happened upon the Argos Systems booth and brought back the information, and a few weeks later had a sales representative in to give us a presentation. Everything Vertex BD offered was exactly what we were looking for and more, it almost sounded too good. We were sold on the spot, John recalls.

Vertex BD took Berks Homes to the next level. – We were able to do exactly what we had envisioned for our company within the Drafting Department, John says. The company is now able to design new models with multiple elevations and options, create master sets for their new designs, have trades bid from the master sets, create customer lot specific job starts, and show customers a 3D model of their home as they customize it

themselves. The company is also saving hours of drafting time while producing high quality field sets.

us produce a home that was going to be built by hundreds of people in   a 7 day period. The build turned out great! John exclaims.

“We’d like you to do drawings for Extreme Makeover – Home Edition”

Vertex BD provides an edge over competition

Berks Homes’ communities feature one and two-story single-family homes and townhomes in a variety of sizes, architectural styles and price Earlier this year, Berks Homes was approached by the local Home ranges. The company offers over 40 models, and features over 2,000 Builders Association to be involved in a top secret home project for   available options to personalize new homes. a family in the area. – With the downturn in the housing market – We were asked to do the drawings you have to be more creative with your for a home that was going to be built for offerings and do whatever it takes to make the ABC’s “Extreme Makeover – Home Edition” customer know we’re the builder for them. We television show. Of course we couldn’t say have been doing more with 3D modeling and no. Over a few week time period, I met with terrain, entering the grade lines into Vertex BD a designer from the show and collaborated and placing a home on a specific lot to give the on the design of the home for a women who customer a true vision of what their home will just lost her husband hours before giving look like on that particular lot, John says. birth to their daughter. The show aired in – Customization and Visualization are two October 2010, John says. key selling points you need to be able to – We used Vertex BD with its 3D give your prospects in today’s market place. modeling capability to show them different Vertex BD has given us that edge over our elevation facades during the design process, Berks Homes’ design for ABC’s competition. n as well as interior layouts. Vertex BD helped Extreme Makeover - Home Edition.




LP products

are now available in Australia Woodtec Australia is the agent for LP Building Products range of SolidStart engineered wood products (EWP) in Australia. They are responsible for the development, support and training of LP Solutions, product placement layout program hosted by Vertex.

Even though Woodtec Australia is still in infancy in the competitive Australian EWP market, their market share continues to grow steadily. The customers they have worked with include Engineered Wood Products Australia in Victoria, ATS Wholesale in New South Wales, Tasmanian Timber Engineering and Hyne Timber. Managing director of Woodtec Australia Wyn Bromiley tells what makes the company successful and what their plans are for the future: “We have partnered with a very experienced and supportive international manufacturer of Engineered Wood Products in LP Building Products, who are committed to the Australian market.” “In the future we continue to support the primary business of selling LP’s engineered wood products in Australia. But we also hope to begin to introduce some of their other   Viewing the model in 3D helps to ensure the detail is correct.

“The power and versatility of the Vertex program, and the tremendous support of Juho and Ari at Vertex Australia, are helping us to grow our business in the current climate.” Managing Director Wyn Bromiley

Alan Nicholls from EWP Australia in Victoria explaining the layout produced from LP Solutions (Vertex) to the site carpenters. Managing Director Wyn Bromiley third from right.

associated products such as LP-TopNotch   flooring and LP-TechShield radiant barrier roof sheathing – both of which could potentially be included in and specified through the Vertex program.” During his 20 years in truss and frame/ timber industry Mr Bromiley has worked with several CAD packages before Vertex. He tells what initially attracted him to Vertex product   offering: “Vertex supports the North American software package used by LP Building Products and it was simply flexible enough to then be able to convert to metric to support us in Australia.”

“I have experience with several other CAD packages, but the automated connection details, which generate the floor system according to the construction method the builder prefers, are brilliant. Also then being able to view and check the job in the 3D view screen.” Mr Bromiley continues to tell about the improvements in productivity: “The quality and fast turnaround of quotes and layout, which Vertex enables, is essential to delivering a high level of service to our customers and, just as important, to our customer’s customers.” “A lot of the support issues have disap-

peared with virtually seamless conversion of CAD drawings and ease of use,” he adds. Vertex has also helped Woodtec Australia to give better service to their customers: “We are able to adapt to the different needs of our customers through the different products they stock, through the different construction methods found in Australia. For example the larger timber sub-floors market down south,” Mr Bromiley says. “One of our distributors manufactures their own proprietary beams and we have had these included in the program which is   a huge benefit to them and it will help us sell more of our own product along the way,” he concludes. n

What is LP Building Products? LP Building Products is a leading manufacturer of high quality building materials. Builders and homeowners   use LP Building products primarily in new construction, repair and remodeling, and manufactured housing. Products are sold through distributors, dealers, professional lumberyards, and retail home centers. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, LP has been named one of the safest companies in America and operates production facilities in the   U.S., Canada and South America. n The number layouts, including material lists and connection details, makes installation easy.




Bringing steel and construction in any weather, to any distance Established in 1997, B&J Building Consultants and Steel Supplies are renowned as the leading specialist steel and alloy fabricator in North West Australia.

Based in Broome the company provides   solutions to all steel and construction needs throughout the Kimberley and Pilbara regions. Establishment of the largest drafting office in North West Australia has given the company a strong competitive advantage as the designers  have unparalleled experience of the region and, if required, they can attend the site and confirm any specification.

B&J’s Managing Partner Paul Watling says “Our expertise lies in the design and fabrication of low rise structural steel and framing in cyclonic regions and we’re proud of the reputation we have for high quality and our renowned ability to get the job done”. He says the weather is not the only obstacle   B&J faces: the long distance is also a challenge. “Technology and the internet have made the

world a smaller place but we’re still thousands of kilometers from the nearest capital city and days away from the major steel suppliers. Our expertise at coordinating the logistics of this   situation and in dealing with the un-expected is what really sets us apart,” Mr Watling says. B&J’s quality and reliable customer service have been recognised with awards and commendations from the Master Builders

“Our experience of working in the region, understanding the difficulties builders face, and the extreme weather conditions that do occur, is a key skill set that our customers really appreciate when the going gets tough.”


Managing Partner Paul Watling

Association, State and Federal Training and Apprenticeship awards.

Improved customer feedback thanks to Vertex programs B&J’s design drafting manager Chris Pulman has 14 years background in design and project management with a continued focus on off-site production and innovative solutions. Currently   he supervises and schedules design works, organises engineering liaise with clients and site crews and works on continuous improvement with regards to QA and product development. Mr Pulman says Vertex has improved B&J’s productivity in many ways.

“I first came across Vertex in the UK in 1994. At the time Vertex was, and probably still is, revolutionary for light steel and timber design. Users do not have to draw complex details then have to add surfaces and render. All items can be edited in place and be seen instantly. This has reduced all sorts of potential errors.” Design Drafting Manager Chris Pulman

“The benefits are not limited to the design office. Since the switchover, the factory has benefitted greatly from the clear fabrication drawings and precise cutting list information. The site installers have seen an improvement in the quality of the drawings and 3D detailing they are supplied, and we now have the ability to assist accounts and stock control with accurate bill of materials information,” he says. Mr Pulman continues: “Since its implementation the time taken to design a typical dwelling 472 Barrgana Road Broome, Dom Della Constructions.

From left: Gary Bartlett, Leonardo Lingad, Ashley Mesch and Chris Pulman.

has been reduced by over 50% and design issues have been reduced by around 90%”. The switch to Vertex BD has also been very well recognised among the B&J’s customers. “A major customer has recently given excellent feedback on our frames since introducing  Vertex, the quality of our product is now unsurpassed in the region, we were the market  leader for this area previously and now Vertex  helps us maintain this position and improve upon it,” he says. n




Optimera – satisfied customer since 2003

Optimera Norway is one of the leading companies in construction and pre-cuts in Norway. The company has their own elements factory called Modul as well as several roof production sites around Norway. Optimera came first across with Vertex in 2003. Magne Prestegård was in responsibility for procuring Vertex while working with construction and construction programs. “Back in 2003 we needed a program for designing cutting lists and presenting

constructions. So we contacted several companies who sold programs that did this, including DSS, Multicad, Archicad and Vertex.   At the time I knew that Block Watne used both DSS and Vertex, and therefore found it natural to consider both of those programs”, Magne says. Optimera decided to choose Vertex because of the possibility it offered for adapting cutting lists for their production, and of the other possibilities they saw in the rest of the program.

Building materials supplier Optimera Norway’s and Vertex’ joint history started eight years ago.

Optimera aims to be a full service supplier Nowadays Prestegård is a manager of Technical Servicers, Construction and Production in South-western and Western Norway. He is also the manager for Optimera Technical Services, which is a project within Optimera for developing company’s service performance in Norway. Optimera work mostly for developers, builders’ merchant chains, construction companies and building contractors. The company holds a

supplier Optimera hold a significant market position in Denmark and Sweden as well as Estonia and Latvia in sales of building materials and timber. The company has 160 outlets and more than 3000 employees. Optimera have been part of the Saint-Gobain group since 2005.

Vertex programmes help to cut costs and save time

Magne Prestegård has worked with construction programs for many years. He says Optimera has kept position and wins new market shares by conducting business in a responsible and competent matter.

very strong position in the market within their operating areas. “We act as a full-service supplier and aim to help our customers with relevant services. We want to be more than just a supplier of materials. We want to be a good business partner, with good competence in all stages and a fullservice supplier to our customers. Good logistics is a keyword in our everyday operations”, says Magne. In addition to Norway, building materials

“Thanks to Vertex, we save money in the production and time in transferring machining   files directly to the saw. With Vertex programmes, we also have the possibility to make good presentations and assembly drawings. We also use another programme supplied by Construction Software Center, which handles this very well as well”,   Magne says. Presentation of details and assembly  drawings are the most important things for Optimera customers.The programmes must  be so developed that they can work in the most rational manner possible. “Vertex gives us the opportunity to construct all types of buildings, and provides good presentations and the possibility to transfer files to our computer saw. However, I also would like to see an option for defining other building materials and for using the program for quantity calculations”, Magne wishes. n

Vertex Systems Oy provides highly efficient software products for technical design and data management, as well as expert services. Vertex software boosts customer’s business by improving the capacity of designing, sales and production. Vertex Systems was founded  in 1977 and it has exported over 8000 software licencies  to 35 countries.

Customer magazine of Vertex Systems Oy  Vertex Systems Oy

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Tel. +358 3 313 411.

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 Editor in chief: Kai Ojalammi  Editorial staff:

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Vision 2011 eng  

Журнал Vertex Global Vision 2011

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