Ruth Baker discusses how Ryder Architecture is utilising the latest in BIM and 3D printing technology to help with project delivery.
Ruth also talks about what the future of 3D printing and digital technologies could look like both at Ryder and the industry as a whole.
Let’s take a look at what she had to say…
1. How do Ryder view and approach new software and technologies in the industry?
We have always been pioneers of new digital approaches to design and delivery of architecture. We were an early adopter of BIM – switching to BIM software platform, Revit, almost 10 years ago and partnering with Northumbria University to form our joint venture, BIM Academy, to help research and innovation in new technologies.
We use a range of architectural software including Revit, Navisworks, Solibri and Sefaira to help us design, coordinate and construct our projects. We have also appointed a computer scientist to support in the application of technology to help us design and also automate elements of design.
BIM Academy is at the forefront of the industry with regards BIM software and processes and is constantly feeding this information into Ryder.
2. How is BIM affecting the way that Ryder Architecture do work? Does this aid the 3D printing process?
BIM is driving industry change from 2D CAD drawings to 3D modelling in a virtual environment. This allows industry professionals to push boundaries through the ability to construct complex buildings and allows clients and contractors to visualise the project before it is built.
2D construction drawings have never been the easiest format for the client to read and understand, however, the development of virtual reality viewing tools and 3D printers, allows for relatively quick and easy 3D representation, meaning that clients have a better understanding of design intent. 3D printing is definitely an important part of that.
Model making in the architecture profession used to be an expensive method of representing ideas which meant they were only really created for key project milestones, for example, aiding planning applications. The cost of 3D printing has rapidly reduced in price, meaning architects can now afford to prototype ideas early in the project and create a number of design options in 3D, especially if they are working in a BIM environment.
The new BIM Level 2 mandate has meant that Ryder has begun looking at the information side of BIM and how we incorporate this into our models. We do this from a strong position – already fully grounded in modelling software. In terms of 3D printing, because we already use 3D models to design all of our buildings, we do not have to duplicate work in order to produce models for 3D printing.
3. How do Ryder Architecture currently use 3D printing technology?
The reduction in the cost of the printers themselves means that it has been economical for Ryder to invest in a prototyping 3D printer. We have been impressed with the relative ease in which we can transfer virtual models into the printer software and feel it is a real benefit to our design process. Our Ultimaker Pro 3D printers are easy to use and suitable for rapid prototyping.
4. Do Ryder architecture carry out laser scanning on most of their projects? Do this help with the 3D printing process?
Ryder have worked with point survey clouds and information produced from laser scans. This has been particularly useful on conservation projects where getting accurate modelling information on the historic fabric has been of huge benefit to aid construction. By having 3D information available we are able to better plan important interventions like MEP routes and services and leaving less to manage on the construction site.
5. How does Ryder view the development of 3D printing technology and its use in the AEC industry, now and in the future?
3D printing is already an important part of the design process and can only continue to improve as hardware costs make the technology more accessible to the construction profession.
3D printing has a great advantage over traditional physical modelling methods in terms of accurate representation and being less labour intensive. There are still software improvements that can be made to improve the ease in which models are transferred from BIM software to the printer.
Another exciting development is the use of 3D printing as a construction tool rather than just a design tool. This is already happening but we still have a long way to go as an industry to push the boundaries of how this technology could be used.
6 .What software or digital technologies are Ryder looking to make use of in the future?
There are some really interesting developments which could really change how we view the design, construction and maintenance lifecycle of a building.
Apart from 3D printing, we are particularly excited about the future capacity to incorporate data and drones. Drone technology has the potential to innovate the safety of constructing, inspecting and maintaining buildings physically while data driven ‘Internet of Things’ will allow us to analyse and respond to how our buildings are used and how they environmental perform.
For more information visit the Ryder Architecture website.
Author: Martin Watson
Lead Editor at Construct Digital – As lead editor Martin reports on topics specifically relating to BIM, digital software and physical technologies which are revolutionising the Architecture, Engineering and Construction Industry.