How a Content-enabled Focus Improves Pre- and Post-building Phases

March 21, 2019

“Models and workflows are content-enabled.”

As one of the three core components of The Constructible Process, we’ve already discussed how the estimating, fabrication, and erection stages of an efficient building project revolve around constructible content. But, The Constructible Process also connects pre- and post-building phases: from the architect’s initial concept to the owner’s and facility manager’s ongoing management and optimization of the completed building.

So, how does this content-enabled focus impact these additional phases of the project?

How the architect benefits

An architect’s main goal is to bring the owner’s vision to life. This requires a careful balance of form and function, and it’s as much an art as it is a science.

The architect works closely with the owner to develop a design concept that looks and feels right. But, more importantly, the architect needs to take thousands of practical details into account to ensure the resulting design can be completed on schedule, within budget, and that the resulting structure will fully accomplish its purpose.

Lastly, the architect needs to effectively communicate that dual-purpose design to the professionals in later building phases who will be bringing the concept to life.

In the creation of the initial conceptual designs, there’s little or no need for the architect to be concerned with the individual measurements and other metadata contained in a library of managed constructible content. That’s the realm of the detailers and engineers that are going to focus on the steel, concrete, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing models required to take the original concept through fabrication, erection, and beyond.

However, once the estimators, detailers, fabricators, and contractors begin working with the resulting models, it’s often helpful, if not necessary, to consult with the architect as issues crop up and changes become necessary. And that’s where the intrinsic value of constructible content truly shines: “it means the same thing to everyone who has access to it. It’s not open to interpretation, so there’s no confusion as to what it is, what it’s for, where it goes, and how it needs to be installed.”

So, without ever losing the invaluable data contained within every element of the constructible models the detailers have created, an architect can review the plans, consult with the owner, and make fully-informed recommendations. This way he can ensure the original design concept is faithfully maintained while adjusting to real-world constraints. This could involve design problems that could not be foreseen at the architectural stage, or in-the-moment adaptations based on the kinds of scheduling or supply complications that will always plague large construction projects.

In either case, the project is able to move forward smoothly and efficiently without sacrificing the form or function of the architect’s initial design. This wouldn’t be possible without a content-enabled focus.

How the owner benefits

As described above, the owner has an initial vision for the project, and is going to work closely with the architect to establish a design that accomplishes that vision. However, as also noted above, there’s a lot of practical detailing that goes into bringing that concept to life. Issues are always going to arise throughout the building workflow that impact the schedule and budget of a project.

It’s safe to say that most owners aren’t working with an unlimited budget or timeline. So, every complication or needed adjustment matters. The earlier in the construction workflow these issues can be identified and rectified, the faster the job can be completed and the more likely it is to remain within budget.

At the same time, where an owner has some leeway in the timeline and budget for a project, he is going to appreciate the opportunity to make decisions around needed changes in line with their own priorities, and not forces that are outside their control.

The entire Constructible Process — including its reliance on constructible content — helps keep that level of control in the owner’s hands to an extent that wasn’t possible just a few years ago. As adjustments become necessary, no matter in which stage of the project they appear, a content-enabled focus and thoroughly connected workflow allows the owner to make informed decisions. This way, the owner keeps the project moving smoothly and efficiently while maintaining the overall vision from start to finish.

And, the benefits carry on even long after the construction phases are completed.

How the facility manager benefits

While the facility manager was likely not involved at all in the planning or construction of the building, the content-enabled models used in its construction can be an invaluable source of information. This valuable information can make a number of the facility manager’s responsibilities far easier and the outcomes more successful:

  • Ongoing maintenance of all the building’s internal systems is informed and organized with help from highly-detailed models that have been updated to as-built specifications.
  • Repairs and replacements to building components are easier, faster, and less expensive because all the necessary data — from part numbers to measurements to the supplier’s phone number — are embedded right in the model.
  • Future remodels, upgrades, and reconfigurations can be more effectively planned and carried out by relying on as-built models and data from constructible content.
  • Optimization of energy, space usage, and other factors can be studied and experimented with via the models first to avoid costly trial and error.

In all these ways and more, the facility manager is able to rely on the content-enabled models produced during the planning and construction phases to save time and money throughout years of use. And, of course, this benefits the owner in numerous ways:

  • Money saved on necessary maintenance
  • Money saved on energy usage
  • Money and time saved on remodeling or tenant improvements
  • Enhanced long-term appreciation of the building’s value (including the value that goes along with passing the 3D models along to the new owner when the building is sold)

Truly, the content-enabled focus — a core element in The Constructible Process — has numerous benefits for owners, architects, and facility managers before and after the planning and construction process. That’s why the Constructible Process is the future of construction. Its value extends to incorporate every aspect of a building’s life cycle, improving each phase and the lives of every professional working on it.

For more information about The Constructible Process and how it can benefit your future projects, download our free ebook: How the Constructible Process Will Transform 2020.

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