Construction is one industry often faced with several designing and planning stages before the actual structure is implemented. The plan is typically drawn in blueprints to give both engineers and clients some insights into the building. However, with the continuous advancements in technologies today, better designs with more details are now constructed as a helping guide in the structure of the building.
One technological advancement is prototyping. A prototype is somehow similar to a product model that is first design during the testing stage. It gives developers and designers a vision of how the actual product should be and is incredibly helpful.
Today, the benefits of prototyping have led to its adoption in several industries, including construction. Recently, engineers and architects have used prototyping to print models in 3D, which has made it a critical part of construction and design. In this blog, discover why prototyping becomes essential in the construction sector and why you need to adapt it to your operations.
Reasons for Utilizing Prototypes
Every single day, the need for new structures and buildings tends to increase, causing a rapid rise in demand. Hence, construction companies and builders are often faced with the uphill task of meeting all of this. Using 2D drawing will most likely not going to meet the demand. Therefore, more advanced technologies like prototyping are needed.
Moreover, prototyping can be merged with other computerized features like computed aided engineering (CAE), much faster than physical prototyping. This has made it crucial for both construction and designs. Here are some reasons why you should use prototyping on your next projects.
1. Streamlines the Construction Process
The prototype acts as a blueprint. However, it gives a much better visual understanding of how the end product must look. When used in construction, each crew member will know what they are working on, its features, and its operation. It shows how the construction process can be streamlined thru prototyping.
Everyone can be informed of their roles even before they begin working on the projects and when all materials are provided early. Furthermore, with an excellent prototype and specialized project management software, builders and architects can determine possible issues arising during the process. They can then deliver practical solutions to their construction team, so all the operations can run smoothly from beginning to end.
A streamlined process significantly impacts the success of your construction firm as well as its reputation.
2. Helps Transform Requirements to Designs
When clients approach your construction company, some of these clients always have the designs in mind. But they might not be able to describe it precisely or even draw it on paper. This can be a real challenge if your construction company has not yet adopted prototyping and 3D printing. Furthermore, you and your team cannot put the requirements into practice when the construction is ongoing since it will be expensive and possibly damage the entire design.
In contrast, prototyping can incorporate all the user requirements on the model. Several prototypes can be designed until the client is already satisfied with one. The prototype can then be printed out in three-dimensional to show how it will look like after construction.
If it meets the user’s requirements, then the construction will be started and can go on.
3. Gives Room for Early Corrections
The construction industry is not immune to failures. Many requirements are necessary for a building, like drainage, plumbing, stability, and power. Each of the features risks failure, especially if it is not well-constructed and designed. Hence, the testing must be done early to assess the performance of every aspect of the building.
Testing all of these mentioned aspects early enough will allow room to make corrections when they fail. Moreover, various materials can also be tested in prototyping. Hence, the best one can be utilized in the actual construction. It will help builders to avoid corrections and repairs arising during the late stage of the construction.
4. Save You Time and Money
When using prototyping in construction projects, both you and your client will reap and enjoy the cost-saving and time-saving features. Below are the realities you’ll going to face when prototyping isn’t adopted.
· Manual designing takes more labor and time to get it right. And expect that there be many cases of errors that will need some corrections. This can drag the design to months, all of which can result in higher expenses.
· If the construction project takes a much longer time to complete, you’re about to miss other significant market opportunities.
That is why having to implement prototyping is beneficial. When it comes to manual labor, the month’s work can be lessened to a week with less labor force. It saves you money and time. Hence, this particular technology is crucial on the business side of construction.
5. Helps in Funds Acquisition and Budgeting
One of the most crucial aspects of any stakeholder is the cost, especially when the project is already being planned. It can be from the start until completion or at least the cost of each stage of development. Therefore, budgeting and inventory have to be accurate and precise to cover all the needs. When you decide to utilize prototyping for your construction projects, you will know all required, including the finances. You can then budget the project and manage the inventory accordingly not to fall short.
Furthermore, if you need external funding for your projects, you have to be clear with what goals you seek to accomplish and how much money you need. By simply showing a prototype to your clients and the people involved, they will have a much higher chance of believing in your work and giving you additional financial support.
Remember that anyone always wanted to be a part of something that is promising and looks excellent.
6. It encourages the assessment of performance on the materials used
The ideation phase typically involves analysis and consideration of materials suitable for construction. Preliminary specifications might include using a specific material to keep a lower budget. Yet, after creating the prototype, you might decide that the costly alternative material will improve the performance to a certain extent.
You have to know firsthand that prototyping allows you to test structures, materials, and other components. It also allows you to create structures that perform well under load and temperature profiles that may not be proper to use in the final product. Prototyping incredibly provides a better way to test relationships between various aspects of the designs, helping you understand how the stages change over time.
Stereolithography: The Best Technology for Prototyping
The Stereolithography Apparatus-One (SLA-1) has been the only beginning of technological advancement and construction prototyping. The rise of three-dimensional printing proves to be a boon to this methodology and the development and growth of laser cutting. Today’s laser cutters are now equipped with the modular architecture that provides limitless configurations, allowing designers and manufacturers to expand flexibility to get the best possible results.
Here are the advantages of this technology:
- Fine detail and high precision – due to the thickness of every layer applied in SLA-1 (0.05 to 0.10 mm) and fine laser beam, it is possible to acquire prototypes with complex geometric shapes and a very realistic finish.
- Quality of the part – regardless of substitute materials, the parts made with SLA-1 have better functional surface quality.
- Smooth finish – In this technology, the resulting parts have a smoother finish, with the additional option to select between the numbers of resins of various renderings.
- From the smallest to the biggest – with SLA-1, it is possible to make small parts with high definition and more significant features up to 2 meters in size while maintaining high precision.
- Price and deadlines – By selecting the SLA-, you can get the part in about two days since 3D files are enough to launch the printing. Hence, the cost is reasonable because it’s unnecessary to make a mold, as SLA-1 works perfectly by adding materials.
Here are some limitations of Stereolithography:
- Fragility – SLA-1 uses the same materials, which are resins. Therefore, the parts obtained are more fragile compare to the final parts. If the quality of the final finish allows functional prototypes, this technology does not. Hence, enable parts that can be utilized for mechanical testing to be obtained.
- Unit Production – due to the time required to deliver a part, the use of SLA-1 can be only limited to three copies. Hence, it does not make sense for mass production.
As the concept and advancements of prototyping continue to gain traction in the industry, the whole construction sector will likely evolve and become more technology-driven. In fact, there are other technologies apart from prototyping today. More and more construction professionals get to realize they need a specialized project management tool.
Pro Crew Schedule is one great option. It is a feature-rich project management software that helps users build a more operational and collaborative environment. With Pro Crew Schedule, you and your team will be provided with standardization for construction processes, making daily work more efficient and seamless.
The concept of rapid prototyping is becoming the main standard across several industries, especially in construction, where builders, engineers, and creators of all types search for new ways to bring ideas to life and fix problems faster.