Recently I came across a company that was a totally vertical entity, developing, designing, constructing and operating high end residential towers… Wait for that to sink in… Nearly every aspect of their process was done in house. This is a highly unusual circumstance in our industry, nye unprecedented, and one that is entirely fascinating from a design technology perspective.
This brought me down the road of a thought experiment. What would a digital workflow look like if the only requirements were that it delivered a building and a digital dataset for facilities maintenance at the end? If there were no technological restraints except that only commercially available tools could be used, these tools being readily available to all parties involved, and that the parties would only need to deliver their core requirements. For example, Code review would only be required to validate that the design met code, and this could be done with digital tools. This gets to the idea of what we’ve termed this year as the “nirvana workflow” and is one of the discussions planned for the Summit. What would this workflow look like? Is it even currently possible? Where would custom programming be required to keep the data flowing between development, concepts, model(s), and maintenance? What aspects of current conventional workflows fall away or become entirely unnecessary? What opportunities for automation are there? Where are areas that AI could step in to enhance it further?
For folks like us, this thought experiment is exciting and perhaps even liberating. The outcomes of such an exercise may identify opportunities to explore further, perhaps on real projects in our firms, introducing what surely must be efficiencies. Think on this idea. Where does it take you? What does your nirvana workflow look like?
Join the discussion at the Design Technology Summit next month and bring a napkin sketch of your nirvana!
I dug up an old workflow diagram of the schematic design phase from 2009 to help get your cogs turning:
Author: Craig Barbieri
Craig Barbieri is a Design Technology leader and has driven the use of technologies to enhance the practice of design and construction for more than 15 years. He is an advocate for maximizing the potential of current and new technologies on projects and in practices.
Craig holds a Masters of Architecture and Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Business from the University of California. He is an associate member of the AIA.