Analysis

2019 predictions part 4: James Bowles on DfMA

14 January 2019 | By James Bowles

The founder and director of 4D modelling specialist Freeform is determined to learn more about designing for manufacture this year.

What is your New Year’s resolution?

Copy and paste from last year – more reading books, less reading on my phone. I have some books on manufacturing already on the go that look at lean, process, methods and supply networks.

What is your most important lesson learnt from 2018? 

That there’s little point selling good ideas to businesses that simply aren’t ready. It’s better to focus on those that are ready and work with them, everyone will catch up eventually and there’s only so many hours in a day.

What innovative technology are you most excited to find out more about in 2019, and why?

Not so much a technology, but I’m excited about learning more about manufacturing processes. The industry and government drive towards greater DfMA/modular/offsite means there will be supply challenges ahead.

We’re working on a few projects where the offsite processes are arguably more critical than what happens onsite, so we are extending our 4D models to cover these processes and improve planning and tracking. Offsite assembly is very different to onsite construction and it's a steep learning curve.

What individual or company is going to be “one to watch” this year and why?

I’m really excited to see the next development cycle from Bentley/Synchro. There’s huge potential to improve the delivery of infrastructure projects and closer information flow between Bentley’s solutions and Synchro will be really valuable. The Synchro development pipeline looks very interesting.

Which construction technology do you want to see make the leap into mainstream adoption this year?

I’d like to see a wider adoption of real 5D cost modelling on projects. 4D time modelling is now mainstream on large projects, joining it up with cost will lead to improved project control, visibility and prediction.

What industry event are you looking forward to attending and why?

Digital Construction Week 2019 will be the key event for us with a really good mix of industry leaders, enthusiasm and smart new companies.