Construction is one industry faced with many planning and designing before the actual structure is put in place. A plan is always drawn in blueprints to give clients and engineers insight into how the building should be. However, with advancements in technology, better designs with more details are being constructed to help guide the structure of a building.
One such technological development is prototyping. A prototype is like a version or a product model that’s first designed during the testing stage. It helps to give developers a vision of how the actual product should be. The advantages of prototyping have led to its adoption in several industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, and software development.
However, prototyping isn’t only limited to the production of small-sized products. Recently, architects and engineers have used prototyping to print models in three-dimensional (3D), which has made it an essential part of design and construction.
Reasons For Using Prototype
Each day, the need for new buildings and structures increases, causing a rise in demand. Therefore, construction companies and engineers are faced with the uphill task of meeting this. Using two-dimensional drawing will likely not meet the demand and more advanced ways such as prototyping will be needed.
Additionally, prototyping can be combined with other computerized features such as CAE computer aided engineering, which is faster than physical prototyping. This has made it essential in design and construction.
Here are some of the reasons why prototyping should be used in construction:
Helps Transform Requirements To Designs
When clients approach a construction company, some of them always have the design in mind. However, they may not be able to describe it correctly or draw it down on paper. This can be a significant challenge if the construction company hasn’t yet adopted prototyping and 3D printing. Moreover, they can’t put the requirement into practice when the construction is ongoing as this would be costly and can damage the whole design.
In contrast, prototyping can integrate all the user requirements in the model. Different prototypes can be designed until the customer is satisfied with one. It can then be printed out in 3D to show how it’ll look like after construction. If it meets the user’s requirement, the construction can go on. However, in cases where the user is dissatisfied with the design, they can change it early.
Streamlines The Construction Process
A prototype acts as a blueprint, but it gives a better visual understanding of how the end product should look. When used in construction, every worker will know what they’re working on, how it should look like in the end, and how it should be to its surroundings.
As a result, the construction process is streamlined. Everyone can be told of their roles before they even start working on the project and all materials will be provided early enough. Moreover, with a good prototype, architects or engineers can identify potential problems arising during the process. They can then provide solutions to their workers, so all the processes can run smoothly from start to finish. A streamlined process positively impacts the success of a construction firm and its reputation.
Gives Room For Early Corrections
The construction industry isn’t immune to failures. Several requirements are needed in a building such as plumbing, drainage, power, and stability. Each of these features risks failure if it isn’t well designed and built. Therefore, testing should be done early enough to assess the performance of each aspect of your building. This also includes other features such as the materials used in construction.
By testing all these aspects early enough, there’s adequate room to make corrections if they fail. Also, different materials can be tested in prototyping, so the best one can be used in actual construction. This helps avoid repairs and corrections arising in the later stage of the construction, which could be costly and harm the intended budget.
Saves Time And Money
When using prototyping in construction, whether as a customer or a contractor, you’ll enjoy the time-saving and cost-saving features. First, manual designing will take more time and more labor power to get it right. There will be cases of errors that’ll need corrections, and this can drag the design to months—all of which results in higher expenses. Second, if a project will take a long time before completion, you’ll miss out on other significant market opportunities.
But when using prototyping, a month’s work in manual labor can be reduced to a week or even days and with less labor force. This helps save a lot of time and money. Therefore, the technology is essential on the business side of construction.
Helps In Budgeting And Funds Acquisition
When a project is being planned, one of the most important aspects every stakeholder needs to know is the cost. It could be from start to completion or at least the cost of every stage of development. Thus, budgeting needs to be precise and accurate to cover all the needs. When you decide to use prototyping for construction, you’ll know all that’s required, including the finances. You can then budget your project accordingly, so you don’t come short and cause stalling.
Moreover, if you look for external funding for your project, you need to be clear with what you seek to achieve and how much money you need. By showing them a prototype, they have a higher chance of believing in your work and giving you financial support. Also, people want to be part of something that looks great; and because you can’t wait for completion to show them how great your project is, you can show them the prototype.
Like in the software and manufacturing industries, prototyping has several benefits in design and construction. There are advantages of adopting it to your construction firm and using it to deliver quality designs to your customers, improving their experience with your company.
Even though prototyping in construction may not be as popular as in other industries, it doesn’t mean it’s not important. With all the ideas mentioned here, it’s something you can’t afford to miss out on.