CampbellReith at Autodesk University, London

On the19th of June, our Group BIM Manager, Chad Bedard along with colleagues Alison Treadwell and Adam Matadar attended the 2 day Autodesk University at Tobacco Docks in east London. There were a number of informative industry talks about the most recent developments in the industry, as well as several hands-on workshops showing how to use some key bits of Autodesk software as well as some new add-ins created by external developers.

Chad was one of the presenters this year, along with Micheal Earley of Scott Tallon Walker Architects and Lewis Wenman of Bouygues UK. Their presentation, ‘Delivering World Leading Healthcare Using BIM’ was an industry talk about the UCLH Proton Beam Therapy Centre in London.

The theme for this year’s event was “More, Better, Less.” The keynote speech by Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost focused on the pressures on resources in the world today (2 billion more people by 2050, increasing urbanisation, crumbling infrastructure) and how Autodesk is hoping their tools and the developments they are making will ensure that we can create more, make it better so that it lasts longer and is of higher quality, and that this will lead to less waste and less resource being used. A couple of shocking figures that he presented were that 30% of all materials used in construction are discarded, and that 40% of all landfill waste is construction waste.

The primary focus for Autodesk is to help reduce the time and effort between design and construction (or manufacture) and ensure that the design is as efficient as possible to reduce waste. Their tools are allowing this to happen by making it possible for production level information to be produced in the standard design tools. This will cut out the transfer of information between platforms and reduce the number of steps and amount of rework up to production.

They gave a number of demonstrations of this, one that stood out most prominently was an example from Brydon Wood working on Crossrail. Brydon Wood had produced the internal cladding for the passenger tunnels in an adaptive, and repetitive frame that then allowed them to fix the cladding panels in record time. They also used elements of the software to create the complex shapes of the panels where two tunnels join, they called these ‘Tusk’ sections. It would have been extremely challenging and time consuming to create shop drawings of these sections, so instead they simply exported the geometry of the panels to a machine which created the mould out of the coordinate points provided. This has apparently been a huge success and the work site is more akin to a factory than a construction site. They were so efficient, in fact, that they had to get another factory to help produce the panels so that they could keep up with the workmen on site.

This was just one example of many that were given from companies in the construction, design and manufacture industries. Andrew also spoke about the coming automation of construction and how offsite manufacture is increasingly being used to gain efficiencies and ensure quality, and how robots are starting to appear on work sites. Autodesk envisions that many labour intensive tasks such as brick laying, rebar fixing and tying, and setting out will be done by machines in the future, and how there are some machines already doing some of these tasks. This will inevitably lead to efficiencies and cost savings which we desperately need in the construction industry.

Alison, Chad and Adam came away from the event excited for the future and brimming with new ideas. At CampbellReith we value innovation and the development of our staff, and it is by attending and contributing to events such as these that we ensure that we have a dynamic forward looking company that is looking towards what our clients will want in the future, but delivering it with the same quality and reliability the have come to expect from us.