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Architecture

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Do I need a digital architecture portfolio?

Architecture, Innovation, Technology | No Comments

Like most design-based industries, architecture relies on nailing that first impression when it comes to finding work. The entire process depends on creating designs capable of capturing both the essence of an area and the imagination of the client. Not only this, but the application process entails the endless sending of portfolios and hoping to hear something back. The subjective nature of design and the growing number of independent architects can make winning projects more taxing than the design of the building itself. That’s why it’s vital architects take every advantage available to get their designs out there, especially when it involves embracing new technology, particularly the digital architecture portfolio.

Stand out from the crowd

It’s a sad fact that, in the architecture world, exceptional design is no longer a guarantee of landing a project. With so many competing firms vying for a limited number of projects, it’s vital companies hit the right notes on the first pitch. Pitching to prospective clients relies on having an eye for originality, putting across your designs in a unique way while understanding what it is they’re looking for. Digital portfolios can achieve all of these things. But while they have become more common in the past decade, they are still far from being the norm.

Printing out a full portfolio of designs can be time-consuming and costly. The price of printing high definition images on high-quality paper then sending the finished portfolio out to a developer can have a significant impact on your overall ROI. Instead, firms are beginning to realise the value of switching to a digital portfolio, and not merely for the time, cost and effort this saves.

Switching to digital delivery ensures your portfolio is promoted in a much more direct fashion, but also gives adds a reciprocal element to your designs. Thanks to the growth in digital rendering, potential clients can now explore a design in a 3D environment, adding a further level of interactivity.

Digital portfolio for architecture

Quantify your strengths

For architects, there are a few universal truths; you’re only as good as your last project, the right project doesn’t always go to the right designer, and you never stop learning. That last point, in particular, is why any tools that allow you to measure your design skills should be embraced at every opportunity. InSites provide regular updates on your how the client has engaged with your portfolio, breaking their interaction down into measurables like the amount of time spent on each particular design, the number of unique page views and the number of visitors. Knowledge is power, and through the analytics, you can begin to create a plan of action for future discussions with the client.

InSites provide regular updates on your how the client has engaged with your portfolio, breaking their interaction down into measurables like the amount of time spent on each particular design, the number of unique page views and the number of visitors. Knowledge is power, and through the analytics, you can begin to create a plan of action for future discussions with the client.

With a digital portfolio, you can begin to build up a better understanding of what is working and what isn’t through quantified feedback. Good design may be something that can’t be taught, but intelligent marketing certainly can.

Digital portfolio for architecture

Hand-pick your portfolio on the move

Another issue facing architecture firms today is the need to be available to engage with opportunities at a moment’s notice. While most major new project bids will be announced by developers months in advance of the submission date, opportunities can become available with no prior warning and be snapped up even faster.

The strength of using a digital portfolio such as those generated through a Clemmie InSite lies in the metrics it provides, the highly original and interactive method of presenting your designs and the speed with which you create them. In any industry, wasted time means wasted money.

For an architect travelling across continents and attending regular pitches, digital portfolios can be the ideal preface to a face-to-face interview. Not only are they quick and simple to make, but by utilising it alongside web analytics tools, they give the architect a readable breakdown of the client’s key interests around which they can structure their subsequent interactions.

Digital portfolio for Architecture

Avoid non-opportunities

One of the biggest challenges facing the architecture industry today is the futile pursuit of projects that, for one reason or another, will never be attained. Architecture firms can spend thousands in pursuing projects that were only entered into a bid process as a formality. A Clemmie InSite covers the responsibility of several stages of the bidding process. It acts as a precursor to an Expression of Interest (EOI), it puts a digital spin on the traditional portfolio, and it acts as a device for testing the water in the case of new opportunities.

A major Clemmie client (a leading architecture firm with studios based around the globe) went from winning one in every 70 projects to one in every 13 after signing up to Clemmie. Architecture firms across the world spend millions pursuing projects they will never acquire, but a digital portfolio created with a unique URL, when used in conjunction with a web analytics tool, allows them to pursue only the opportunities they stand a real chance of winning.

Digital portfolio for Architecture

As a marketing and communication tool, the digital portfolio is the evolution of several other tech innovations of the past decade. Combining the creative interactivity of a website, the personalised touch of an email and the behind the scenes insights of web analytics software, an interactive digital portfolio gives architects the tools to promote their design in the right way, to the right people.

Sustainability in construction

Modern software and sustainable construction: A new era

Architecture, Construction, Sustainability, Technology | No Comments

The modern construction industry is an ever-evolving world. With each new development, firms must shift to accommodate it or falter and stagnate. These advances both dictate and are dictated by the big issues in contemporary society. With global awareness of climate change growing, sustainability is taking centre stage in the design industry. Design elements like sustainable and or recycled construction materials, water reuse and collection features, smart glass, green roofs and smart roofs are all helping structures make better use of natural resources, whilst limiting their impact on the surrounding environment. 

The industry has introduced numerous innovations to combat environmental issues on-site, but designers and industry professionals now realise that sustainable practices need to be incorporated at every possible stage, including the rudimentary design phases and internal communications. As a result, modern software is on the frontline in the fight against climate change in the construction industry.

BIM

Like the move from paper to digital design in the 1980s, BIM represents the next evolutionary step in the construction industry’s development. Building information modelling is revolutionising the way we see buildings; not as a mere structure, but as a static element of our everyday environment. As a result, designers are now considering how they can construct buildings capable of lasting 100 years or more.

Designers can use BIM to test the durability of a building before it’s even constructed, enabling designs to be tweaked to optimise energy saving techniques. It can even study the effect of external factors on a structure, such as its ability to withstand natural disasters or the effect of sunlight on the interior temperature. By being able to study these external elements, the structure can be optimised to provide maximum exposure to energy resources and maximum protection from elements that could increase energy resources.

As urban areas become more developed, designers and construction experts also need to consider the effect new structures will have on the surrounding landscape. Through BIM software, new developments can justify their presence on the skyline while improving the surrounding area through the use of smart sustainable technologies. BIM gives access to accurate design data before a single foundation has been laid, so why have construction firms been so slow to adapt?

With an increasing awareness constructions effect on the natural environment at an all time high, we can’t afford to dither when it comes to taking a more sustainable approach to the construction of buildings. As our building requirements become more complex, BIM becomes an ever-greater necessity. Construction without any attempt to gauge the sustainability and durability of a building is destined to end in wasted energy, materials and manpower.
Sustainability in construction
Building Information Modelling can calculate a building’s energy efficiency before construction begins

3D printing

Despite the wealth of articles bemoaning the sudden ‘miracle-cure’ dialogue surrounding 3D printing, the technology still has a lot to offer the construction industry. The process involves using building data created in BIM software to digitally create a 3D product. Although there has been significant debate in architectural circles as to its real sustainable value, the technology is constantly developing and will only add to efforts to reduce carbon emissions before, during and after construction.

The chief criticism seems to surround the general public’s misconceptions about what 3D printing is best used for. 3D printing’s most practical contribution to sustainability so far has been to print digitally composed models for testing different functionalities. These micro-models allow designers to test buildings against different settings and adjust the design accordingly.

Although there are currently several firms attempting to employ 3D printing to create entire buildings, large-scale 3D printing is not yet at the stage where it can produce durable and ecologically sound structures on a mass scale.
software and sustainable construction
3D printing’s main application today is to create highly accurate models of structures to study their reaction to the effects of different elements 

Virtual and augmented reality

After fading into obscurity following a brief popularity in the early 90s, virtual reality is witnessing a resurgence in the construction industry. With the potential to map out structures using BIM software, clients can now ‘walk’ around their developments before they’ve even been constructed. This gives designers the opportunity to maximise the integration of sustainable features through intelligent adjustments.

Augmented reality, meanwhile, involves blending elements of virtual reality created through applications and projecting them onto the world around you. By overlaying information onto a virtual or actual view of a site, the design process can be streamlined, lowering building costs.

The key difference between augmented and virtual reality lies in augmented reality requiring a physical built environment. Despite this, it has been successfully applied to interior design projects and can give designers a better understanding of the spatial planning element of the design process. In turn, the insights gained from using augmented reality can influence the overall functionality, and even levels of sustainability, of the building’s interior.
Sustainability in construction
Virtual reality allows clients to walk through a building before it’s even been constructed

Cloud storage

The cloud is an innovative technology that stores data on external servers, rather than saving to individual hard drives. The service provider is responsible for software maintenance, enabling firms to stop relying on expensive, inefficient hardware and reduce the amount of office space required. Because data is uploaded to a central cloud for storage, any user with the relevant permissions can access the same data from anywhere in the world. This has particular ramifications for the construction industry.

Being on-site no longer has to mean limited interaction with those in the office. Apps like Google Hangouts, available on most mobile devices, can capture video through instant messaging, allowing visual issues to be identified and discussed on-site.

The entire design and construction process is streamlined, reducing loading times and allowing large files to be shared around the world in a matter of seconds. By being able to create and contribute everywhere, innovation no longer has a time-limit. You might wonder how this particular software and sustainable construction are connected, but cloud storage also reduces the need to print both in and outside of the office, enabling firms to achieve higher standards of sustainability whilst reducing the likelihood of duplicate documents.

software and sustainable construction
The Cloud connects everybody with the same data, in real time, anywhere in the world

In the ongoing struggle to limit the environmental impact of our building projects, every new innovation represents a new opportunity to alter the industry forever. Just as techniques develop over time to meet the needs of the industry, the industry develops to meet the needs of the society in which it’s based. Sustainability is one of the most pressing needs of modern society, and software innovations can help meet this need only when effectively implemented. It’s the responsibility of the entire industry to utilise the technology on offer to build a brighter future for tomorrow.

Google Apps for the global construction industry

How Google is revolutionising the global construction industry

Architecture, Construction, Industry, Technology | No Comments

The global construction industry is in a perpetual state of change. As the global market shifts and traditional practices change, firms too slow to adapt will inevitably be left behind. As technology develops, the industry is taking steps to improve its fragmented structure, inconsistent construction practices, and its lingering dependence on outdated paper-based communication processes. Historically, firms have been slow to make the change. That’s why it’s vital the modern construction firm stays up-to-date with the newest and most effective software and design tools. Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps people connect and work efficiently anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The full potential of Google Apps for the global construction industry is still being explored, but the key aims of the system are:

  • To enable growth through real-time collaborations.
  • To streamline communication through the use of a single document shared between relevant parties.
  • To enhance communication and enable firms to collaborate and communicate from multiple locations.
  • To provide search capabilities for previous email correspondence.

Google Apps offers a range of advantages over the traditional software suite, allowing construction firms to focus on delivering exceptional projects whilst enabling them to keep pace in one of the most competitive sectors on earth.

Mobility

Mobility is a vital attribute in any industry that requires successfully maintaining contact with clients and colleagues. This is particularly true in construction where people have to be onsite but want to continue interacting with people in the office. With the video function of Google Hangouts, you can raise construction issues and show video evidence in real time. This also means visualisations can be transferred quickly and efficiently, meaning issues can be resolved at the time they arise. Construction work can also entail significant travel time between site and office, or overseas. Google Hangouts and the collaborative capabilities of the other Google Apps makes communication and collaboration from anywhere in the world easier and more efficient.

Google Apps for the global construction industry

Collaboration

Construction often requires team leaders and foremen to complete documents in the field. With traditional software, this means carrying excessive amounts of paperwork to the site to keep track of new developments. Google Apps stores all of this information on the Cloud, making it easily accessible to colleagues and relevant authorities. It also makes the transfer of large image files (a daily occurrence in the global construction industry) easier, safer and less time-consuming. Colleagues can place large files on the Drive, meaning there is only one copy and only the appropriate people have access. Because multiple users can edit documents at the same time, ideas can be shared, discussed and decided upon there and then. In this way, Google Apps ensures every stage of the design process is truly collaborative, from design to bid management, all on one integrated platform.

Always up-to-date

Because all files are shared via the Drive, any alterations, edits or additions to a file will happen in real time. The Drive also allows you to receive notifications whenever someone makes an edit. This allows you to keep up to date with all the latest news, opportunities and designs, no matter where you are in the world. If an alteration needs to be made to a floor-plan during the construction process, using Google Apps in conjunction with your design software means everyone with access to the design will see the update in real-time; preventing confusion, mistakes or discrepancies further down the line.
Google Apps for the global construction industry

Multi-device functionality

Google Apps works across a range of devices and browsers, allowing you to keep in contact with colleagues and clients even if your own device is down. Because Google Apps can function on mobile devices, tablets, laptops and PC’s, you can keep your projects on track even if you’re travelling light or don’t have access to traditional computing devices. This means even if your design team uses Apple software and your operations team use Windows-based software, both can access, edit and share the same documents through Google Apps.

Cost-saving in the global construction industry

Even with all the innovations Google Apps provides for the construction industry, Google Apps for business can still save, on average, 50% of IT costs compared to firms using Microsoft 365. Add this to the time and effort saved by using Google Apps in comparison to traditional proprietary software and the savings are even greater. Firms can make further savings by eliminating the need for call-outs for hardware engineering issues, with all data now stored in the Cloud and available 24-7. Google Apps is such an effective cost-saver, it can free up your IT team to focus on hardware issues and on developing your company’s technological capabilities further.Google Apps for the global construction industry

Unlimited Cloud storage

The very nature of the global construction industry means firms regularly share documents, tenders, images, renders and other communications. All of this sharing inevitably eats into a company’s internal storage system, forcing staff to prioritise information and delete potentially valuable communications. Google Apps comes with unlimited Cloud storage, freeing companies up to focus on finding new opportunities, maintaining regular client communication and ensuring every project is completed on time and on-budget. Because Gmail allows you to navigate all your documents and emails with intelligent filters, information can be found with minimum time and effort, further streamlining internal and external processes.

Security in the global construction industry

Security is a major issue for any firm. It’s vital every firm can be confident that all data and communications are protected. Features like the sync & sharing controls alert workers when they try to share a file with someone outside the registered company database, ensuring data can’t be leaked outside the company accidently. Likewise, Google’s encryption feature ensures all work is regularly backed up and encrypted, even whilst travelling.
With app and domain whitelisting, all communications, domains, emails and IP addresses associated with the company are visible and always allowed to the appropriate people. Because each email is registered to a range of devices, any suspicious activity (for instance signing in from a new device) will result in a company admin acquiring a suspicious login notification, further strengthening the systems security. In addition to these features, Google Apps also allows network administrators to delete data from lost or stolen devices, protecting data from falling into the wrong hands. Add in Google’s world-class security, dedicated to protecting all data on the cloud, and you have one of the most secure networks in the world.
Google Apps for the global construction industry

Increased accountability and verifiable input

An often neglected but infinitely useful feature of the Google Apps, the sign-in system means all data input can be traced back to the individual user. In turn, this allows management to receive performance reports which can be immediately audited, as well as providing an extra level of accountability to tasks. The software logs what time people open files, what they’ve done and who was online at the time. It also keeps a record of all work previously kept on the file. This has the added benefit of allowing staff to recover previous work in the ‘Edit History’ section if necessary. Google Apps also gives IT managers increased control over the system, streamlining company operations and consolidating responsibility to a specific authority.

Google Apps isn’t just a viable alternative to traditional software suites like Microsoft, it’s the next logical step for the global construction industry as a whole. It’s only by adapting and keeping pace with the latest advances in technology that firms can hope to stay afloat in an ever evolving market.

Cloud collaboration for the construction industry

A new era in design culture: Cloud Collaboration for the Construction Industry

Architecture, Collaboration, Construction, Google Apps, Technology | No Comments

Every now and again, technology throws up an innovation capable of reinventing whole industries. Each sector benefits from technological change to a different degree, and some have been faster to take advantage of these breakthroughs than others have. The design industry has benefitted hugely from the advances in Cloud storage, but firms have been slow to realise its potential for streamlining operations.

What is the Cloud?

The Cloud is an innovative technology that stores individual and company information on servers, rather than saving to individual hard drives. By uploading data to a central “cloud” for storage, it’s accessible from anywhere in the world with internet connection. The service provider is responsible for software maintenance, enabling all users to access the same document, meaning everybody is on the same wavelength, an essential element to the collaboration process.

The technology has made the sharing and co-authoring of files easier and safer than ever before, but it’s also inspiring a new era of collaboration, an era where people at opposite ends of the planet can now upload, comment and collaborate on documents together in real-time. By sharing new ideas, concepts and theories in a digital space, processes become more democratic, and designs take on a new dimension.

Create everywhere

As communication technologies continue to develop, employees no longer need to be physically present in the office. Instead, access to reliable internet and a functioning device is all that’s required to hit deadlines and maintain a competitive output. In the construction industry, being on-site no longer means being out-of-reach, and travel-time doesn’t have to mean downtime.

Thankfully, enterprise collaboration is enjoying a newfound interest as firms begin to realise the potential Cloud technology has for the modern business. With increased competition, a growing demand for instant output and the consumerization of IT, firms are beginning to realise that the future of the industry doesn’t lie in the hard drives of yesterday.

By being able to create and contribute everywhere, collaboration no longer has a time limit. Delays in the design process, caused by disparate sleeping times and other engagements, narrow to minimum levels whilst deadlines no longer define when employees can make it into the office.

Cloud collaboration for the construction industry

Unlimited storage

There is no end to inventiveness, so it stands to reason there should be no limit to where you store ideas. Unlike traditional computer hardware, the Cloud comes with the option of unlimited storage. This means designers don’t have to keep deleting as they go, enabling an uninterrupted creative process and nurturing an environment where original thought isn’t limited to the size of a hard drive.

Reduced costs

Whilst reduced expenditure may seem like an insignificant element in collaboration, every aspect of a firm’s functionality has a knock-on effect, particularly outgoing costs. By switching to a Cloud-based storage system, more user-friendly, portable devices can replace out-dated hardware. In turn, this reduces the amount of energy required to power office devices, further lowering costs.

Likewise, replacing the out-dated software suites such as Microsoft Office 365 in favour of a more mobile and innovative solution, such as Google Apps for Work, can save significantly on outgoing charges. This saving extends to enabling a greater mobility, with staff no longer tied to hardware in the office.

Cloud collaboration for the construction industry

Collaborate in real-time, all the time

Great ideas don’t stick to a working schedule. That’s why it’s important you have a means of recording and sharing your ideas, whenever they come to you. In the same way, needlessly convoluted communication system shouldn’t hinder collaboration. It is essential employees can pass information between each other in as efficient a manner possible, and that’s where the Cloud comes in.

Constantly sending documents back and forth between collaborators hinders the process of organic creation. It also increases the risk of losing work by continually creating near-duplicates of documents, meaning the odds of sending the wrong document between staff increases with each new communication. Because slight changes can make all the difference, it’s essential everyone is working from the same document. This can be difficult for designers working on the move, particularly if they’re relying on other people’s devices to meet deadlines.

By saving all work to the Cloud, it is constantly accessible from any device, providing they have an internet connection. Software like Google Apps enables users to collaborate in real-time. The process of editing a spreadsheet, adding dates to a calendar or uploading files to a directory is streamlined. Designers using cloud collaboration continue to share ideas, concepts and designs even when based on the other side of the world.

Cloud collaboration for the construction industry

Never lose work again

There’s not much worse than spending hours working on a document, spreadsheet or slide presentation only to lose it the following day. With local storage based software suites, this can be a result of several things. It could be a result of a hardware malfunction in the device on which the data was stored; it could be a result of losing the data on a pen drive or external storage device; it could even be the result of having to create duplicate copies of the same document, resulting in deletion of the most up-to-date file.

For whatever reason it happens, losing work seriously hampers any kind of collaborative effort. The Cloud protects your data and when used in conjunction with software like Google Docs, saves all work as you go.

The edit history function on Google’s office software also allows employees to go back through and see the edits made to a document. This is vital to the collaboration process. Understanding how a colleague has reached a design concept can make the difference between discarding or implementing an innovative approach.

Still to make the switch?

Firms still working from local servers and operating using local storage may have a number of reasons for not making the jump to cloud collaboration. Concern about switching from traditional technologies is inevitable. The majority of workers are used to communicating and collaborating either in person or via their email. However, this system is now hopelessly outdated for the competitive world of construction and project design.

In response, Google engineered a number of solutions, including integrating email alerts into collaboration software. By combining all the elements of previous design and communication software into one App package, Google has brought the Cloud to a more accessible level, meaning even the most technophobic employees can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Cloud.