Autodesk Informed Design is the latest technology unveiling from US-based Autodesk, Inc. The new cloud-based solution deliberately connects design and make (manufacturing) workflows in an effort to cut the waste and inefficiencies in traditional construction.
AEC/O Is Unsustainable
With rising global populations and increased urbanization, the entire AEC/O industry must confront rising pressures that the traditional design and construction sectors are struggling to address. Nearly 100,000 new affordable homes need to be built every day to house an estimated 3 billion people by 2030, according to data from the World Economic Forum.
Moreover, the global construction industry is cited as one of the most wasteful, with environmentally negative impacts on the planet. Ryan McMahon, director and general manager Informed Design at Autodesk, said:
The way the AEC/O industry works today is not sustainable or scalable. For the industry to keep pace, it needs to build more, faster, and more sustainably. The answer is industrialized construction.
Autodesk Informed Design is a new component of Autodesk’s Design and Make Platform environment. The solution says, Autodesk is to enable “architects to design with certainty and validate their plans in real-time.”
Autodesk Informed Design
Informed Design, in total, allows architects to work with pre-defined building products that are customizable and yet enable architects to validate their design targets. Industrial construction in principle differs from traditional construction in that there are various parts of the workflow that combat material waste, gain energy efficiencies, and shorten overall project times via parallelization of processes between on-site and off-site construction phases. Another major aspect of industrialized construction is the direct linkage between design and manufacturing, often referred to as DfMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly).
Autodesk Informed Design has two major components—Informed Design for Inventor and Informed Design for Revit.
Building product manufacturers can use Informed Design for Inventor to not only design their manufactured components but place product specs, rules, and constraints in their product models, while Informed Design for Revit can help architects discover such product models and customize and place them into their designs operating within the rules and constraints embedded in the product models.
Unlike today, architects and engineers are not ever fully aware of a product’s full limitations or customizability. In order to obtain that information, AE professionals must contact product manufacturer customer reps who then often must reach engineering professionals within their manufacturing organizations to relay questions and obtain answers.
With Autodesk Informed Design for Revit, architects who are utilizing this new system will have those answers—or most of them—embedded in the object models themselves.
To address this, Informed Design for Revit includes:
- Template Discovery — explore building product templates to seamlessly incorporate manufacturing-level detail into your design files
- Customization — tailor building products to align with your building’s requirements, enabling compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications
- Certainty — confirm design decisions are accurate and manufacturable to reduce project risks and prevent errors.
So those are the main aspects on the architect or AE engineer’s side of the workflow. At the manufacturing level, Informed Design for Inventor includes:
- Seamless Collaboration — collaborate with designers by creating parametric models of your building products and confirm that only compliant versions are used
- BIM Model Creation — define BIM content to meet requirements and make sure they are compatible with industry standards
- Streamline Product Documentation — simplify the generation of product documents at scale and generate the necessary outputs for fabrication
Green Canopy NODE, a construction technology company tackling the housing crisis with a focus on addressing the environment—and an early access user of Informed Design said, “Autodesk Informed Design has shown that there’s a way to bring customized details, good aesthetics, and quality engineering into a product that can be mass-produced.”
Adding, “Designing with constraints doesn’t curb my creativity,” notes Benjamin Hall, senior product manager, Green Canopy NODE, “it gives me choices I know will work. And that is good for the planet, the building’s inhabitants and for the building industry.”
Architosh Analysis and Commentary
Understanding manufacturing constraints is one of the hardest challenges architects face in their creativity in building design. This kind of knowledge only exists on the manufacturer’s floor. What Autodesk is doing here can provide a huge aid to the building industry if enough product manufacturers create new models utilizing Autodesk Inventor versus other Inventor competitors, such as SolidWorks and others. Architects on the Revit BIM platform will certainly be attracted to the many benefits of Informed Design for Revit, especially if their practices are highly focused on sustainability and/or working in industrialized construction workflows.