Category Archives: Technology

Mosaic App Articles and Blogs on the role of Technology

5 ways mobile technology is changing the way architects work

A recent study carried out by RIBA showed that 87% of architects agree that digital technology is transforming the way that they work. 79% state that adopting digital technologies leads to improved project efficiencies and 35% of architects use at least one form of mixed, augmented or virtual reality, with many planning to expand their use of immersive technology and use other variants soon.

Mobile Technology is beyond impressive now though and it is designed to be used on the move, or remotely.  Most smartphones now have microprocessors which enable increased computing power in a small device.

How is mobile technology progressing how architects work?

  1. Building Information Modelling. BIM was created in 1987 when ArchiCAD became regarded by some as the first implementation of BIM.  It was the first CAD product on a PC that could create both 2D and 3D geometry and was the first commercial BIM product for personal use. The 2016 central government target which then required level 2 BIM to be employed for its projects upped the game.  Luckily mobile technology was catching up to make this much easier for those wanting to get ahead of the game.  Years before this, mobile-friendly programs were being developed and now the majority of BIM software packages either already have or are due to have a mobile-friendly version.  Those worried that the enforcement of technology would mean running between being on-site and getting in front of their PCs can be reassured.
  2. Apps. Much of the time there are specific tasks such as health and safety that are important enough to be able to access at all times.  This is probably why there are so many established and up and coming apps on the market designed for niche tasks such as these.  In addition, they can fill in areas where architects feel less comfortable such as CDM regulations, providing useful frameworks to follow when acting as principal designer.
  3. Artificial Intelligence. A good example of this might be parametric design; a design system that enables architects to play with parameters to create different types of outputs and create forms and structures that would not have otherwise been possible.  Still in its infancy compared to other technology, using AI on the move will be essential to be able to function to the best of its ability.
  4. Virtual Reality. The possibilities for this area, in particular, are endless.  Being able to take a virtual tour of a finished project enables problems to be identified at the concept stage instead of at the end where rectifying the issues might be costly and time-consuming.
  5. Communication. A very basic functionality of mobile technology that we all sometimes take for granted.  It’s only in the last few decades that making and taking phone calls anywhere is possible and now we can add video calls, multi-person video conferences and of course mobile email to the mix.  This is what mobile phones were originally designed for, and essential for any successful architect.
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The slow death of spreadsheets in Principal Design

There was a time when the mighty shared spreadsheet took over from paper forms, and all was good. Colour coded GANT diagrams, emailed from person to person to update, initially seemed like a great idea to keep any construction project on the straight and narrow.

But teams have got bigger as architects, contractors, principal designers, project managers and investors all want to be kept up to date and getting a giant spreadsheet with ‘Version 19’ saved into the title to make sure everyone has the most current version wasn’t uncommon, and the project is only a third of the way through!  Confusion reigns.

Cloud-based spreadsheets!  Fantastic, we can all see the most recent version!  But the design and construction industry has got more complicated in the meantime.  CDM legislation has put a greater emphasis on health and safety, Building Information Modelling introduces an additional layer to design and the shared spreadsheet is now so big that it’s in danger of taking over even the biggest screen.  All individuals are being given information in one place and in fact, is it essential everyone has all information or is it just overload?

The fact is that a lot of information really doesn’t always need to be in one place, however CDM is one such area.  The role of principal designer was created to ensure that there is a single individual wholly responsible for the health and safety of a project and as long as the outcomes are communicated in summary, a giant spreadsheet will only further confuse.

Farewell to spreadsheets in construction?

It is for this reason that specialist tools are taking over from the mighty spreadsheets.  Not only do these tools mean that information is collated away from the overall plan, making it easier to find quickly and efficiently, but it means that it is in a format that can easily demonstrate that legislation is being followed and more importantly, that everyone on site is safe from injury, or worse.

The human cost of getting CDM wrong means it really isn’t worth leaving it to chance with a blunt tool as generic as a spreadsheet.  Spreadsheets are more suited to budgets, accounts and Christmas party menu choices.  Cloud-based and app-based tech do not just record but also guide principal designers in recording information and save, rather than use up, time.