It’s apparent that Le Corbusier has a great love of automobiles—as can be evidenced by photos of him posing alongside a car before his architectural designs. The Franco-Swiss architect believes, in fact, that efficient and economical construction in homes could mirror the creative and modern design of the automotive body. While cars have advanced a great deal since the 1930s, residential architecture has been slower to adapt.

Yet motivated by a concern for sustainability, the proliferation of non-renewable fossil resources, and efficiency, paired with quickening demand to construct new buildings and more accessible infrastructure, the building industry has been incorporating fresh technologies, including some adapted from other industries. And renewable materials like wood have been pinpointed as a perfect building material—particularly when incorporating groundbreaking mass timber products like CLT and glulam, design methods and processes such as BIM and DfMA, tools for visualisation like VDC, and manufacturing tools like CNC.

Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) is a design method that highlights both efficient manufacture of product parts and the simple assembly of the resulting product. It blends a pair of methodologies; Design for Manufacture and Design for Assembly. That is, from the beginning phases stages of creation, decisions are based on the avoidance of issues during construction and enhancing efficiency.

This is a tactic utilised in a variety of businesses, and in building it is especially adaptable for mass timber incorporating products such as cross-laminated timber (CLT) or glue-laminated timber (glulam). This is due to the fact that, when designing and constructing with mass timber, the construction is more an assemblage of parts, and differs from the design and building of more conventional construction. Mass timber panels, beams and columns are manufactured off the site and taken to the construction site, prefabricated with stops and holes in place to accommodate the predefined installations, such as MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing). For the process to work, it is important to organise the project from beginning until the end, to avoid delays and problems at the jobsite.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) facilitates this process. BIM references technologies, processes, and policies that permit stakeholders to design, build, and operate an installation virtually, founding a dependable basis for decisions through the life of a building, from conception to demolition. For any project to succeed, all involved must know BIM. This way you can visualise and simulate all components of a design, supplying comprehension of the assembly and likelihood of modeled solutions. It also facilitates a shared comprehension of the design solution by way of the 3D model, which can empower team cooperation and rids of the risk of frequent mistakes in the understanding of 2D drawings. And the model can be exported to other programs for structural and thermal analysis, and can process files for machining work by Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines.

An organisational chart for the project, with those in charge for each area receiving and returning with their contributions, ensure the seamless flow of the project, inspiring smoother manufacturing and building. Once the architect has completed the design, structural and installation engineers should step in to pre-launch their parts. The project then goes back to the architect for additional details. In every design phase, the whole design team is contributing, from those who make the parts or those overseeing assembly; these disciplines must be planned and specified from the start. Using BIM throughout the design stage cuts down on the time needed to morph design drawings into manufacturing drawings and enhances coordination between the design team and exterior manufacturing facilities, important to project success.

The 18-story Brock Commons Tallwood House, situated at the University of British Columbia (UBC), is an example of BIM at work. In this project, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) facilitated the analysis of design and building between teams in this project. BIM also defines the characteristics of each building component (attached to a database), with the creation of a virtual project prototype that can test and simulate its performance. VDC is a subset of BIM focused primarily on the geometric 3D image of an installation. The VDC model made possible the planning and communication in different parts of the design, pre-construction, and construction stages, as it supplied a comprehensive, truthful, and detailed model of the construction project.

In the instance of this project, as described here, a VDC model was developed from the inception of the design, featuring all building facets from the structure to the internal finishes to the mechanical and electrical systems. All processes, details and services were featured in the model. This model supported decision-making during the project, and permitted modelers to cooperate with the design team, blending iterations and design updates, letting the team know of any issues that must be resolved, and guaranteeing that the model really represented the project.

Source: ArchDaily