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Design4Structures is a civil and structural engineering consultant that has been taking a decidedly unique approach to offsite construction, working to take increased responsibility, offer enhanced control and help de-risk projects for customers. At the heart of the offering is digitisation, with a streamlined flow of data throughout. 


With both an engineering and construction modelling division, Design4Structures commonly delivers the full RIBA workflow on its offsite and modular projects, taking responsibility from the design and engineering stages right through to fabrication.


Speaking about the offering, Daniel Leech, CEO at Design4Structures, said: “Where architects and engineers would typically design to RIBA Stage 3 and hand that information over to the supply chain, we felt that taking the workflow from concept all the way through to manufacture and installation was going to solve a lot of the industry’s issues. It was also about us taking more responsibility and accountability for the coordination of the design and, in doing so, ensuring that no stone is left unturned. In return, this all helps to significantly de-risk the project for our client and contractors.


“We all know construction is a massively challenging industry and there are so many different approaches and methods that can be chosen. For me, we need to find little pockets of things we can change to enable true collaboration.”


“We’ve found more traction for this complete workflow offering within the MMC and offsite industry, and I think that’s largely because manufacturing businesses tend to take on the role of principal contractor. They’re going to be manufacturing and installing the modules in the factory and on site, meaning they have a vested interest in the Stage 4 and 5 information being correct.


“From a software perspective, we’ve been Tekla users for 14 years now. For us, Tekla has enabled us to take on much larger projects and, in many ways, opened a new market for us. We have huge confidence in the fact that, if the model is correct and the design works in Tekla, then it will be constructible on site. The open API solution with Tekla has enabled us to develop custom components and parametric modelling tools, as well as macros for our clients’ machinery.


“We’re able to unlock true collaboration, there aren’t caveats on our models - it’s our engineering team that are providing models with our detailing team, as an example. Tekla enables us to transfer this information with confidence; we know that if the information ‘in’ is good, then the information ‘out’ is even better.”


“It’s important that we continue to break down these barriers on an industry-wide level and find ways to collaborate and share information that enable us to come up with better design solutions - solutions that are easy to manufacture down in the factory and easy to install out on site.”


In addition to collaboration, parametric modelling is another area of BIM that stands to significantly benefit the offsite sector, especially modular construction, as John Breeze, Associate at Design4Structures explained: “We can develop parametric tools that, if you have a large scheme and something does change, you can make the change once and it will automatically populate elsewhere in the model. This makes change management far simpler and more streamlined.


“It is also valuable when you consider that modular construction can involve a lot of repeated connections and details. This theme of standardisation not only helps from a detailing and fabrication point of view but also in the factory too. Teams will often be welding or installing repeated connections, making for a quicker and more predictable end-result.”


Watch the video to learn more about Design4Strucure’s unique offering within the offsite space and their use of digital technology: 


Visit the Trimble stand (F16) to find out more about the software for offsite construction.

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