As head of global marketing for the AEC Industry at Dassault Systèmes, Mr. Moriwaki launches and promotes groundbreaking Industry Solution Experiences including "Optimized Construction," "Façade Design for Fabrication," and "Civil Design for Fabrication." He is a member of buildingSMART.
Spotlight on Desktop Engineering: Helping architects embrace the full, collaborative nature of today’s modeling tools
July 9th, 2015 by Akio Moriwaki
In 1986 it was just becoming apparent how computers could hugely improve engineers’ efficiency in design and analysis.
It was with this realization that Geoffrey M. Haines, BSc(Eng), ACGI, C Eng, MIMechE, FRSA, founded Oxford-based Desktop Engineering Ltd. (DTE), writing engineering software and serving as a reseller for established software houses. Since then, Haines has kept an eye out for ways to improve efficiency across various industries.
Since 1999, DTE has engaged CATIA-based solutions to designers, engineers and building manufacturers.
A few years later, the company began to realize that its customers in the automotive and aerospace industries were light-years ahead of the architecture and construction industry.
Years of training and supporting its customers in the use and application of this software had taught DTE’s experts that there were ways designers and engineers could reap big benefits.
It was this observation that pushed Haines into discussions with early adopting customers, who were exploring with Dassault Systèmes how to bring the architecture industry into a new world of design possibilities.
At the Heart of AEC
Haines’ work has benefitted not only from good timing, but a good location.
The city boasts world-leading architects, engineers and contractors, giving service companies like DTE the opportunity to help connect a variety of members of the architecture, engineering and construction industry.
But DTE’s services aren’t in demand simply because of London’s reputation as a hub for the industry experts — the British government has taken a leading role in promoting digital modeling with its 2011 announcement that the government would require the use of collaborative BIM on state projects by 2016. At this time, the government has committed to BIM Level 2 in an effort to greatly reduce the costs of state-owned projects.
That goal has gone a long way towards opening the conversation on the efficiency benefits of digital modeling in London, and around the world, but Haines notes that the challenge for companies such as his is in pushing the conversation further.
Better Design, Faster
But pushing the conversation on BIM further has its share of challenges. Haines notes that in many cases architects and engineers are unwilling to sacrifice time on a project, due to the observation that more time spent on design can lead to a better end result.
What is often overlooked is that today’s technology can speed the process to a better end result, making everyone happier in the end.
Today, more and more owners are looking to speed along high-quality design, and architects are looking for new solutions to meet that demand.
Across the Board Improvements
DTE is bringing this logical argument to a number of players in the architecture, engineering and construction industry who are realizing that better tools can lead to better — faster, cheaper, more complex and more unique — buildings.
Among DTE’s clients are:
Price & Meyers elegantly showed how digital modeling can make complex geometries come together easily even in large assemblies with its recently completed Slipstream sculpture in Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2.The 78-meter-long swirling design is meant to evoke the motion of a stunt plane swooping and tumbling through the sky.
The engineer’s research involved tracing the swept motion volume of the plane using digital modeling, and ultimately dividing those motions into more than 32,000 unique parts. The modeling information was translated to laser cutting machines that crafted the exterior aluminum panels and a hidden interior structure of continuously undulating plywood.
Haines has seen a number of improvements in the industry, but believes there is further to go. Moving to the cloud, he says, has provided tremendous benefits for customers.
It is by moving beyond simple file sharing to fully integrating the work of all parties from design through fabrication and construction to boost project efficiency while providing the highest quality in design.