It's no secret that the construction industry has struggled to keep up when it comes to adapting new technologies like 3D modelling and simulation. The innovative team behind CadMakers Virtual Construction have found a solution to that problem – by bringing in experts from other industries to help bridge the gap.
CadMakers is a young Canadian company that specializes in virtual design and construction (VDC) that helps contractors build in a smarter way. And according to co-founder and CEO Javier Glatt, they owe part of their success to the strategy of hiring talents from outside the construction industry in order to find new ways of solving old problems.
“One of the things that has happened because of the slower adoption of technology in the construction industry is that there has been a capability gap in the market,” says Glatt, who spoke at the TECHNIA seminar on Digitalization and Lean Construction in Stockholm on September 14.
“It’s hard to have a significant amount of experience in simulation and 3D in construction when it’s fairly new in the industry. So for us it was important to go after the skillsets and the mentality of optimization and model-based definition 3D and pre-fabrication. While there are some people like that in the construction industry, they’re not nearly as prevalent as in some of the other industries, like aerospace and automotive. So we thought, let’s go get those people and bring them into the industry.”
It’s a strategy that has worked spectacularly well. Even though the company was only started in early 2014, they have already worked on more than 60 projects with a combined construction value of over $6 billion. CadMakers takes a holistic approach to optimizing construction work by using 3DEXPERIENCE to create digital models and customized automation tools that are often influenced by the way the automotive or aerospace industries work.
And the AEC industry still has much to learn from other sectors, according to Glatt. One example is when making so-called “as built” plans, documents that must be presented when a building is finished to show the changes made to the original blueprints during the construction phase.
“More often than not, the ‘as built’ is a drawing with mark-ups on top of it. Even written in pen, saying ‘Hey, I put this wall here and here.’ But usually the ‘as built’ plan and the actual built environment are not congruent,” Glatt says. “That becomes problematic later when there’s a renovation or someone needs to change that building. When you build a car you have a very specific fabrication model. You make exactly what’s on the computer. And it’s precise. So the model that you see is the ‘as built’ equivalent, because they built it exactly like the model. That’s a tradition that is very, very rarely done in construction.”
But it’s a tradition that CadMakers is making more commonplace. And for Glatt, there is no better platform for their work than 3DEXPERIENCE from Dassault Systèmes.
“There are definitely things we can do in CATIA that most others can’t do. What we like most about the software is that we can do anything. We’re a company that works on buildings, we work on plants, on piping, on stud walls, on concrete, on timber, and we can do everything at scale,” says Glatt. “We also like that we can do component-based modelling. If you do a simulation in DELMIA you’re taking all the various components that are at specification level and watching them come together: nuts, bolts, screws, right to the finest amount of detail. And it’s done in a time sequence manner, which means you can start doing bottleneck analysis and really evaluate and plan the process far in advance of live construction, which is not a typical way of doing things in the industry.”