Stage 2 - Design

Programming and Design Integration and Automation

Great tools like Autodesk’s Revit, dRofus Data Management - and a variety of estimating and scheduling applications - provide only a shadow of their potential. They operate within their silos without effective connection to a system to give them context. Our Systems Approach integrates planning, programming, design, estimating, and scheduling. Detailed data from the plethora of information resources are rolled up into and placed in the context of the overall system including the system purpose (functions and departments) and other attributes that drive outcomes.

The CATALYST-based platform transitions preconstruction from a one-off, manually-based, process to one that is highly automated – accomplishing key milestones in days what normally takes months. This matrix compares our current fragmented and siloed conventional approaches to the Systems Approach – moving construction from its old industrial management era to the digital age.

Figure 1 – Conventional vs. Systems Approach

The CATALYST-based platform applies the Toyota 5S strategy - loosely translated: Sort, Set in Order or Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain – to eliminate most of the project-specific clutter/noise.

CATALYST-based templates and data structures for dRofus, Revit, and other applications make the transition easy and fun. All that’s required is willing planners, architects, and builders. Figure 2 shows the primary data/technology system for the first pilot project on a rehabilitation hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Figure 2 – Example Primary Technology System (iTwoCostX example)

The Figure 3 snapshot illustrates CATALYST-based dRofus and Revit templates and data standards from the owner’s business case (Patient Room function) to building elements (Wall Finishes and Flooring). Custom buildings are produced from mostly standardized rooms and elements that are pre-programmed, pre-designed and pre-spec’d, and pre-priced.

Figure 3 – CATALYST-based templates and data standards in Revit and dRofus

Furthermore, with the detailed program, design, and cost data properly structured and in compliance with well-defined standards, most projects can become part of a global data/knowledge system. This is essential to impartial model predictions and analysis. Impartial analysis enables objective measurement – which is vital to process improvement. We will never be able to measure improvement without an objective measurement system. A Systems Approach to preconstruction makes objective measurement possible – for implementation in the construction phase.

Success with the SYSTEMS APPROACH depends on upper management's to commitment to innovation based on W. E. Deming's management philosophy that is grounded in systems theory. This essay: Reinventing Means Rethinking Construction describes how the Deming system can be applied to construction.