Article | July 28, 2021
The use of highly sophisticated building models – as a result of BIM – has transformed how we design the built environment. However, although the digital models used by architects and engineers during design enable impressive visualization and documentation of the designer’s intent, the data and considerations required to construct it are often considered separately. We typically use the design model to communicate the final state of the project – not how it is constructed, even though such considerations result in a more accurate estimate on both project time and cost. Of course, different flavors of BIM tools exist that do consider such topics during manufacturing and construction, but how often do we truly consider the impact of the construction process as part of making the right initial design decisions?
Article | May 19, 2021
Creating unique, aesthetically pleasing, and viable architectural designs takes time – but this process can be greatly accelerated with the right tools. Using advanced architectural CAD drafting software, architects can model and visualize any design they can imagine, providing complete freedom.
Article | May 7, 2021
Every five years, in the approach to the Welsh Parliament /Senedd Cymru elections, I put together a Manifesto for ICE Wales Cymru outlining our recommendations for the future with the aim of influencing the new ‘order’ and achieving what we consider to be important goals. This year our report is making three main recommendations in the areas of Resilience, Skills and an Infrastructure Pipeline.
Article | August 4, 2021
In amongst the chatter about how we can 'do' infrastructure better, there's now a growing consensus that we need to improve the way we design our interventions - 'design' in the broader sense of the word, rather than the narrow sense we tend to use as engineers.
My front-end principles for better infrastructure
Over the course of my career, the following front-end principles have served well to ensure we think through, before we rush in where angels fear to tread.
Be clear about the purpose and the expected outcomes, and engage communities in decision-making through an effective communication strategy.
Prioritise the user, aiming to offer services that are modern, effective and affordable.
Seek to improve people's quality of life and support the transition to a more sustainable future, while also facilitating the functioning of the economy, enhancing productivity and accommodating growth (to the extent possible, given other competing objectives).
Extract greatest value from existing infrastructure through timely maintenance, repurposing, renewal and upgrading. Seek to remove constraints and bottlenecks.
Aim to make best use of data, automation, innovation and technology (including for future asset management), recognising the complexity and risks this may introduce.
Recognise, analyse, mitigate and manage technical, environmental and climate risks, and complete any surveys necessary to support this.
Improve governance, with robust, timely and transparent decision-making, supported by strong evidence-based planning, clear prioritisation, and best practice technical design and delivery.
Seek an appropriate funding balance between 'user pays' and general taxation which incentivises behaviours in the best long-term social, economic and environmental interests.
Complete well-evidenced business cases and risk assessments of proposed initiatives before embarking on projects, including financing proposals. Aim to allocate the risks identified to those best able to carry them.
Facilitate collaboration between the government and business to promote delivery of the broader social, economic and environmental benefits.
Clearly, there are many other issues to consider as a project develops, and the above principles may seem obvious to some, and a counsel of perfection to others, but it's surprising how many are overlooked in the rush to build.