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Expert Insight

Tech to the aid: Raguram Jayaram, Bentley Systems

In our environment, buildings occupy a vital space and are our protective layer to socialise and interact with our surroundings. Designing and constructing a building involves participation from various specialties and poses a variety of challenges that need to be addressed and resolved. With tighter building codes, environmental regulations, and complexities in building design and function, designers are always on the lookout for modern technologies that assist with successful project delivery.

For the past few decades, a multitude of digital capabilities have been developed to help designers and construction professionals deliver better buildings. However, in spite of that, construction industry labour productivity has grown to an average of 1% over the past two decades, according to a recent report by McKinsey Global Institute, which is much less when compared to other industries. The lack of a comprehensive solution that promotes interoperability among stakeholders is also one of the key reasons attributed to this performance.

While adoption of new processes, such as BS 1192, is being envisaged in various parts of the globe to improve construction industry productivity, it is still vital to have a solution that enables and promotes digital collaboration and coordination among the stakeholders to improve efficiency. Bentley Systems Inc provides advanced collaborative digital technologies and solutions for accelerating the project delivery and improving the asset performance of built assets.

The technology solution playbook for building design includes interoperable applications that enable seamless exchanges of information for better accuracy, decision making, and information management — from design inception to construction delivery — for effective facility management and operation handover. To get started with building design, users are always challenged with accessing the latest information about a site or the existing buildings and landscape in which the building or buildings need to be built. Often, information received in the form of drawings are outdated and pose challenges to the teams to make informed decisions.

With Bentley’s ContextCapture technology, our users can automatically create an accurate geo-coordinated 3D model of the site and surroundings, merely from photographs captured using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or other mediums. The scale of reality meshes range from a site for a single building to an entire metropolitan city. These reality meshes are the new digital realm that allow users to analyse and apply their ideas to explore design iterations and make informed decisions t early design stages.

Bentley’s AECOsim Building Designer provides feature-rich parametric capabilities to capture the design intent of the users to iterate multiple design options and analyse its performance with due considerations for the surroundings, including weather conditions.

The application also supports federated workflow among stakeholders and enables users to extract outputs in the form of drawings, quantity and schedule take offs, 3D PDFs, and much more. It also interfaces directly with industry-leading lighting design applications to support lighting design according to codes and the latest manufacturer content.

Mechanical fittings designed using AECOsim Building Designer can be directly exported to industry standard CNC file formats for direct prototyping and manufacturing. It also includes built-in standards of electrical symbols and laying out fire detection systems, ensuring fire hazard safety regulations. AECOsim Building Designer also provides a bi-directional interface with applications like STAAD.Pro and RAM Structural Systems for structural analysis, reducing the risk of coordination errors compared to manual processes.

Structural performance testing can be performed on a desktop computer or cloud-based optioneering environments to derive the best possible structural design solution that optimises cost without compromising the design code and validation. Such validated design can be further shared with applications like ProStructures, which provide industry standard capabilities to develop complex steel connection details and accurate bar bending schedules for reinforcements.

Bentley’s building design applications are certified to support information exchange using open file formats such as IFC. Bentley has also developed innovative file formats such as iModels and 3D PDFs that enable information exchange with stakeholders who are using non-Bentley applications. It is also important to consider the aspect that often such information needs to be collaborated with stakeholders from other disciplines, such as roads and utility providers for electrical and communication services. Bentley also provides solution technologies for roads and utilities industries and building design information can be seamlessly integrated and shared with these disciplines as well.

Often, building projects face construction delays due to changes initiated by clients because of poor design communication. Bentley’s building design technologies are based on a 3D environment and are seamlessly visualised using Bentley LumenRT. With a click of a button, users can visualise their designs in real-time, immersive environments, simulating the lighting and weather conditions, and applying animations for traffic flows and people movement.

Such 3D visualisation enables users to interact with the design and make informed decisions for design approvals and construction outcomes. It is very important that all this information is coordinated among stakeholders during the design phase and is accessible to construction teams. Bentley’s ProjectWise design integration systems provides users with a common data environment to collaborate and share information among dispersed teams throughout the globe. It also supports information management on the cloud and makes it accessible to the right teams at the right time for construction delivery and monitoring. Project dashboards can be created that allow users to perform health checks on the project delivery status. Having the capability to manage information on the cloud also provides accessibility of secure information from a wide variety of devices.

Managing all the information from a single source of truth also enables better handover of information to the facilities team for the safe operation of the built assets. Large-built assets, such as airports and hospitals, require a great deal of as-built information for periodic renovations and revisions, and Bentley Facility Planner and AssetWise solutions are integrated to host and manage this information for predictability analysis and operational functions, thus improving the performance of the built asset.

The business of designing, constructing, and operating a built asset throughout its lifecycle requires careful planning, execution, and management of the digital information to ensure the safety of its occupants and minimise its adverse effect on the surroundings and environment. As a building design technology provider, Bentley’s vision for ‘going digital’ is well aligned to provide and promote an integrated solution that is poised to improve the productivity of the construction business.

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