R&D – Research and Development
Our goal is to promote the change of the paradigm in the building sector, placing high importance on changing business conventions and models together with the extensive use of innovative solutions and opportunities of IT. For this, a building environment operating on new principles must be created, centered on cooperation between parties, where processes are viewed across the entire lifetime – from the birth of the idea to its disposal.
The innovation and development activities of Novarc aims at rendering best complex architectural and engineering services for life cycle clients along with creation and management of the BIM model, digital process management and the use of cloud technologies. We address the latest requirements set for the buildings and structures such as energy efficiency, environmental sustainability (LEED, BREEAM) etc. We do all this in close cooperation with the state, universities and our partners.
The BIG ROOM concept
An inherent part of innovative project management is the Big Room concept. The Big Room is a co-location space that physically brings together architects, engineers, owners and builders to work together. Along with many benefits, it aims to fight the most painful problem of construction projects – information fragmentation – using the concept to improve collaboration through greater team integration.
The frequency, duration and location of co-located work sessions in the project schedule may vary. For example, a four-hour knotworking session a week may be suitable for a smaller project and a permanent sharing of co-locative Big Room in the case of complex and large projects. Therefore, the requirement for and conduct of co-locative work depends on the nature of the particular project and the exchange of information between the parties involved. The objectives outlined in the implementation plan of the co-location will ensure a higher efficiency and a pleasant work environment.
Possible ways of implementing Big Room work are:
Permanent co-location – permanent or longer period of co-locative work carried out within a prolonged period;
Recurrent co-location – regular and intensive knotworking of the participants in a shorter and specific time to address pre-planned issues;
Variable co-location – combination of regular short meetings and virtual cooperation.
Such integration methods enable the team to deliver a higher performing building projects in time and on budget. Teams are able to design a building with systems that complement and support each other and the goals of the project. Co-location also makes it easier to ask team members for the latest information, reducing the time wasted looking for up-to-date information, or working with outdated information.
BIM as a tool and collaborative platform
As the initial creators of the BIM information model of a building and also the managers of the information model at the start of the life cycle of the building, we bring here the best solutions, functions, various simulations and analyses of options, and the use of various interfaces. This results in an output on a new technological level – a virtual building that is thereafter used in the next stages of the life cycle. The concept is based on „Digital Twin“ approach where the building is first constructed virtually, followed by real construction on site, while the model is developed at later stages of the life cycle. As a result, minimum resources are spent within the construction phase coming down to significant savings over life span. This works best within early-phase partnership relations between architect-engineer and contractor, with part of the on-site work actually done in the designer’s office.
Life cycle concept
The life cycle of a building is its full life span, an integrated indivisible system extending from an idea to demolition. In collaboration with the owner/developer of the building and his partners, the architects and engineers produce a virtual building that brings added value to all parties involved.
This results in
- higher efficiency of resource usage, shorter construction period, less waste (for client, contractor),
- higher profit, higher chances on secondary market, longer life span of a building (for owner/developer),
- lower operation costs (for estate manager),
- better user experience (for end user),
- smaller ecological footprint (for environment in general).
New VDCM products for the life cycle of a building
The VDCM (Virtual Design Construction and Facility Management) concept addresses further development of the BIM information model for the benefit of the life cycle. Different digital solutions such as simulations for testing and enhancing the functionality of a building, applications for budgeting and planning of delivery are used in construction and real estate sector. VR/AR based sales applications have already become a reality.
LEAN process management and IPD
Low added value is the biggest problem in the building sector. The implementation of new collaboration methods and IT features is hampered by fragmentation, lack of common vision and current legislation. The application of LEAN process management and forms of result-oriented cooperation (such as IPD, Alliance) enables to significantly increase the efficiency of the building sector. In partnership with the owner/developer of the building the whole design process is reviewed and all impacts assessed. As a result an initial task for further action is developed. In following phases IPD addressing common goals is applied.
The building sector will face a lot of changes in upcoming years. Due to the establishment of new energy consumption requirements by the EU Commission, starting 2019 all buildings of the public sector and starting 2021 most of new and renovated buildings have to meet near-zero-energy requirements. In order to meet these requirements, we work with universities to develop respective technical solutions. The keywords here are “Smart building”, modern engineering systems and comfortable interior climate, placement and orientation of the building, quality of perimeter structures, green energy sources
Technological innovation and development of competence
Technological innovation aims at process enhancing and automation as well as support for boosting the competence of architects and engineers. In collaboration with our partners we enhance the IT solutions applied in our field, e.g. different templates, applications for checking the BIM model, structured databases and classificators of details and solutions. We work on different solutions for CDE (Common Data Environment) in order to create a collaboration platform providing real time project information and documentation, in-team exchange of information and task management. It is compatible with external digital solutions like the e-construction platform currently under development and also the Estonian X-Road. In respect of development of our core competences we contribute to raising the qualification along with enhancing planning activities by applying the LPS (Last Planner System).
Cooperation with universities and other organizations
We involve representatives of universities in our R&D. In cooperation, we find new methods of process management and innovative technical solutions. Upon increase of innovation in the building sector, young people will take increased interest in the profession, which in turn will bring more competent architects and engineers to the sector.
We participate in the activities of the digital construction cluster founded in 2015, aiming at boosting innovation in the construction sector. We are active in a number of professional associations and task groups (EAACEC, BIM Academy, buildingSMART etc.).
Directing legislation and creation of normative documents
As part of several work groups created by the state, we are developing norms and acts of law that support digital building, as well as the principles of value-based public procurements. The goal is developing a new modern building strategy.