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Andrew Watts
Andrew Watts
Andrew Watts FICE FIED FIET FRSA RIBA, CEO of international building engineers, Newtecnic, is a building engineer and architect who specialises in the engineering design of facades and their interface with structural and environmental design. Andrew is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil … More »

Building with Numbers

June 13th, 2018 by Andrew Watts

How the construction industry is reducing cost, risk and waste – with math

Andrew Watts, CEO of international building engineers, Newtecnic, looks at new research and practices that deliver construction industry innovation from concept to fabrication and operation.

Because industry players perceive it as increasing risk, the construction industry is notoriously resistant to change through technology adoption. The idea of following tried and tested solutions is almost universal because ‘if it worked before it will work again’.

This attitude has restricted industry progress producing waste of up to 50% on many projects. And, negative environmental impacts, caused by easily correctable inefficiencies persist as long as the building stands.

Riskier Business?

Industry players and stakeholders are mistaken in the belief that new methods and technologies present increased risk. In fact, the opposite is true because by using technology it is possible to reduce risk while creating more imaginatively conceived buildings at lower cost that use less energy, are more durable, look better and are interesting to inhabit. They also take less time to make and on completion appear effortless. This seemingly impossible list of advantages has been proven across the world where, in partnerships with developers, architects and engineers, collaboration over data reveals absolute truths about buildings.

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Empower Your Design Process with 3D Modeling

February 26th, 2018 by Dr. Biplab Sarkar

Today, architects are challenged to meet compressed project schedules with tight budgets. Depending on your perspective, they are either fortunate or a bit cursed by the number of software products available to them as they face these challenges. With continual advances in technology, it can be intimidating to keep up with the latest developments and navigate what’s best for you and your team. How can architects adopt new workflows and meet those challenges — all without sacrificing their creative processes?

One of the most straightforward ways to improve your design process change is to incorporate 3D modeling. 3D modeling facilitates a streamlined design process while allowing designers to express their creative visions, rather than solely producing documentation. Because 3D workflows utilize intelligent, parametric objects, as well as expressive free-form modeling, they can be used for design exploration, as well as documentation.

Make the Most of 3D Modeling

Most of the 3D architectural models will consist of either solids, NURBS surfaces, NURBS curves, meshes, subdivision surfaces, and more. Not only is it important to support these different types of 3D, but its equally as important to have the ability to create one form of 3D model from another. This supports the design process and helps architects explore one form against the other to study different design schemes.

Unfortunately, many design and modeling software don’t offer all the different types of 3D objects that are required to efficiently represent an architectural project. To get the biggest return from your design software investment, it’s best to look for a program, like Vectorworks Architect, that provides a comprehensive solution by allowing all of these types in one single platform.

What can be accomplished with 3D modeling.

In Vectorworks, solids are accurately represented by the B-rep or boundary representation. Modifications on solids can be performed to create shells, edge fillets/chamfers, sections, additions, subtractions, and intersections, among others.

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Building Virtual Houses, Bridging the Gap between Millennials and Home Buying

January 1st, 2018 by Chantale Pitts

We are in an era obsessed with technology. My neighbors wait hours in line for the latest and greatest smart phones, their idea of modern day camping. My father-in-law is giddy when he gets a glimpse at this year’s high end automobile model. He doesn’t look that excited when we all arrive for Thanksgiving. This is an era where, strangely enough, we also see masses of people walking around in search of Pokémon™. There go those millennials tripping over the sidewalk again. Technology, augmented and virtual reality are now a part of life. With technology moving so fast, how can we embrace the newest VR technology in the home building sector and use it to capture the elusive millennial market?

Emotional Connections…
Virtual reality is an immersive experience that gives you a dry run at reality. Using VR hardware, both Oculus™ and HTC Vive™ have gear that includes a helmet, you are transported to a virtual space. Each of the two systems include sensors that track your movement as you make your ay through an environment and make the space feel like it surrounds you. This sense, that you are part of that environment, is what appeals to the home building sector…making that emotional connection with the home buyer while they are walking through their new home, before they even break ground.
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Analytical-Physical Modeling and Interoperability Propels BIM Advancements

November 17th, 2017 by Raoul Karp

Structural Engineering for the Physical World

Advances in Building Information Modeling (BIM)
As BIM becomes pervasive in all types of engineering projects, structural engineers are adjusting their workflows and software tools to adapt to the challenges and opportunities that this technology brings. But what should structural engineers keep doing, and what should they do differently? And, most importantly, what outcomes and benefits can they expect if they are able to take full advantage of a structural BIM workflow? This white paper examines approaches to structural modeling that can yield significant benefits to structural engineering teams. New technologies, such as Bentley Systems’ STAAD CONNECT Edition structural analysis and design application, implements these approaches. As a result, engineers can maintain model quality while responding to changes and consider more design alternatives in a timely fashion.

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Hey, BIM! Got a Better Acronym?

September 24th, 2017 by Shane Kling

Three years ago, I sought to change the acronym P&ID (Piping and Instrumentation Diagram [or Drawing]) to Piping and Instrumentation DATA (Not Drawings)Up Next: Building Information Management (BIM). For the full-version of this article, navigate to the EiCAD Blog

Why, you might ask, must we change the meaning of BIM? Answer: Because most Owner-Operators are unaware of what ‘BIM’ means when it comes up in conversation.

I still remember the first conversation I had with my longtime, friend and colleague, Ian Matthew – once Autodesk’s lead Plant expert – who they replaced him with, I have no idea…

Ian said to me while driving to the Valero Benicia Refinery in 2012: “BIM is the future. BIM will change how the world, including oil and gas, chemical, and other industries operate!”
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How Your A&E Firm Can Win the War for Talent

June 2nd, 2016 by Megan Miller

In A&E, your people are not only your greatest asset, but also your competitive advantage in the marketplace. But, does your firm have what it takes to attract and retain the best and brightest in the industry?

The annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry report can help. Clarity is an informative snapshot of today’s A&E landscape, with more than 250 participating firms of every shape and size throughout the United States and Canada.

This year, the 37th Deltek Clarity A&E Industry report features a focus on talent management and highlights several challenges faced by A&E firms. One red flag? Employee turnover continues to increase at firms of all types and sizes, with this year’s rate at 13.3%.

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Fact or Gut? Checking In On Your Decision Making

April 29th, 2016 by Megan Miller

There are many professions that require fact-based decision-making rather than a gut feeling.

Think about it for a minute. Would you go to a doctor who sent you into surgery but didn’t bother to first run tests to confirm the diagnosis? Do you want a pilot who guesses the best place or time to land? Or a mechanic who takes apart your car before first identifying the problem?

All three of these professions rely on facts to make decisions about how to move forward – and Architecture & Engineering (A&E) firms should as well.

Yet, A&E leaders often make quick decisions based on intuition. If you do the same, you could be putting your business at risk. Decisions based on a gut feeling are simply not viable in today’s competitive and highly data-driven marketplace.

Here are three quick questions to help determine whether your plans are based on fact versus gut.
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Six Steps To Move Project Management From Good To Great

March 31st, 2016 by Megan Miller

Why be good when you can be great?

Many of you have probably read or heard of the book “Good to Great” by James C. Collins. In it, Collins says, “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”

That discipline is what separates good firms from great firms – and why it is absolutely critical that you not only set strategic goals, but establish a plan to stay on track and reach your target.

The AEC industry’s project focus makes it a natural environment for implementing strategic changes to boost what your firm is capable of delivering. Given that, here are six steps to move your AEC firm’s project management from good enough to great.

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Three Questions Your A&E Firm Should Ask To Boost Client Relationships

February 29th, 2016 by Megan Miller

Next to your own staff, your clients are the most important assets to your business. Often, A&E firms find themselves dependent on a small number of clients for the bulk of their business.

In fact, the average A&E firm has 37% of its revenue tied up in just three clients. Losing a top client can be a huge blow to any firm, as we all know. Yet, according to the Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Report, finding enough time to nurture client relationships is a top business development challenge.

So, how can you be sure your client management hits the mark – and offers you opportunity to expand your client base?

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Improve Your Goal-Setting Game! Using Effective Benchmarking & KPIs to Reach Project Success

February 5th, 2016 by Megan Miller

The process of setting and meeting goals is the engine that drives all project-based businesses, and AEC firms are no different. But setting goals can be difficult – and it can be easy to lose energy and focus with even the most clear and actionable of goals.

Within the AEC industry, firms often set themselves up to fail by setting goals that are unrealistic or vague. You may have a goal, but no actionable plan to make it happen. Or, you may have created a goal that simply isn’t feasible.

So, how do you know what goals are realistic? In a word: benchmarking.

Turn to a trusted resource like the Deltek Clarity Report, compiled from responses to the Annual Deltek A&E Clarity Survey, to help benchmark your firm against the competition and drill down on key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, thanks to Deltek’s 2015 Clarity Report, we know that the average win rate is 47.6% and high-performing AEC firms are reaching 50%. Metrics such as these will help you determine what average firms are doing, what high-performing firms are doing and where you measure up.

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