The construction industry is in the midst of a digital transformation driven by the need for greater productivity, true collaboration and more connected and efficient workflows. Tech-driven innovation is now seen by many firms as critical for expanding margins, growing market share, increasing operational efficiency and delivering new services. At the center of this shift is the move to a purpose-driven approach to construction called the Constructible Process, where:
· All phases and professions are CONNECTED
· Models and work-streams are CONTENT-ENABLED
· CONSTRUCTIBLE DATA drives smart workflows
Over the course of the last decade, much emphasis has been placed on improved collaboration between owners, architects, engineers and construction teams. More recently, we’ve seen a growing awareness of the potential for closer collaboration with another key group — material suppliers.
Companies like Kingspan Group, the global leader in the design, development and manufacture of products and solutions for advanced building envelopes, are championing the potential for improved access to information about building materials during the design phase.
Building an Innovative Digital Tool
Efficiency is in Kingspan’s DNA, from manufacturing the most thermally efficient and air-tight insulated panel building envelopes to providing services that support sustainable building techniques. Over 50 years ago, the company started with a simple mission to make buildings better. Today, Kingspan’s drive for innovation and problem solving has led it to explore new ways of leveraging big thinking, like the Constructible Process, for advancing innovation in design and construction.
“When we look at the way buildings are designed and constructed compared to how products are designed and manufactured, we see a big difference,” said Brian Glancy, Head of BIM Strategy at Kingspan. “Products are designed to tiny degrees of accuracy before they are manufactured, which saves time, reduces waste and lowers costs. The approach to a building should be no different and we think a process driven by constructible, content-enabled models and real-time collaboration will lead the industry to increased transparency and tremendous efficiency gains.”
The majority of cladding contractors today work from 2D drawings. The detailing process is slow and requires detailers to draw “dumb line” representations of products on top of 2D steel general arrangement drawings. When using 2D line drawings, it is impossible to see around corners and behind objects to correctly envisage their depths. “This isn’t an efficient or transparent process,” explains Martin Conlon, Kingspan’s BIM Manager. “The numbering and labelling of objects and creation of detailed material lists have too many steps and, as a manual process, increase the potential for errors.”
More traditional 2D Line drawings were leaving out a lot of detail and opening the door for errors.
A long-time power user of Trimble’s BIM software, Tekla Structures, Kingspan created an automated suite of plugins and templates on top of Tekla Structures, called KingCADD Detailer, that provides direct access to Kingspan’s product portfolio via digital constructible content. With this, Kingspan gives detailers the power to detail a data rich constructible model using Kingspan products and issue the full cladding envelope for production and construction. “KingCADD Detailer creates a more accurate model and by our estimates, will do so in half the time it would take using conventional 2D or manual detailing methods,” said Conlon.
Exploring 3D drawings made in Kingspan's own Tekla-based KingCADD Detailer application becomes interactive and makes for a more efficient workflow.
Included in KingCADD Detailer are insulated panels, roof lights, wall lights, flashings, gutters, ancillaries, fixings and sealants. After the products are added to the model and configured, the end user can produce automatic material lists and general arrangement and fabrication drawings. KingCADD Detailer also offers an electronic file transfer function for ordering panels, which will soon be expanded to other products.
KingCADD Detailer captures Kingspan’s methodology and internal product knowledge for what the company hopes to become the convergence of construction and manufacturing. “With this tool, it’s as though we are virtually assisting on every project,” explains Conlon. “Using KingCADD provides our customers with years of knowledge into how we manufacture and install panels on a building without us putting a technical person in the room.”
KingCADD Detailer accelerates workflows and eliminates manual detailing errors. It allows cladding contractors to see how Kingspan products fit into the structural model in 3D, enhancing their understanding of the project and making it easy to detect clashes, errors and mistakes before construction to eliminate re-work, save money and reduce waste. This allows for better collaboration between the cladding contractor and all parties in the building process.
The Road Ahead
What started as a ‘model to manufacture’ vision for making Kingspan content and expertise available to customers for designing to a level of detail that drives efficiency, continues today as the company explores new ways to enable project delivery. “We see countless opportunities to bring more value to the industry, from design to the field and beyond,” said Glancy. “Through technology and new processes, there is a tremendous opportunity for data to give project stakeholders more control, help them collaborate more easily and to deliver projects faster, with greater transparency, more accurately and with higher quality. We know there's a place to offer additional services in the future and our digital team is ready to explore what's possible.”
“Our customers are seeing the benefits of precise constructible content in streamlining modeling, fabrication and even the procurement processes,” said Michael Evans, Director of the Detailing & Fabrication Segment at Trimble. “Working closely with Kingspan over the years has accelerated the value that we can provide to designers, engineers, field teams and even the owners of building projects. We are committed to increasing the role that manufacturers can play in total process improvement in construction.”
Explore the broad range of Kingspan building products.
Tekla software for the construction and structural engineering industry is produced by Trimble, a technology company with a vision of transforming the way the world works.