There is no denying that 3D CAD software has revolutionised the construction industry. Its capacity for 3D modelling not only takes the need for lengthy reviews out of design and construction, but it can assemble structures from the ground up, collaboratively, with international participation in many cases. One of the most exciting aspects of 3D CAD software, however, is one that often gets overlooked because it isn’t a ‘show stopper’ like some of the trendy virtual building features. This element is the fabrication cycle, and the way that CAD software can manage every possible component through its sophisticated data system.

3D CAD and Fabrication

When we talk about the fabrication cycle, we’re talking about the behind-the scenes stuff, the process that needs to happen in order for all the materials to be sources, customised, cut and assembled for the main event, being the construction itself. Like any theatre show could not go ahead without the stage hands, lighting guys, sound technicians and costume department, the construction of virtually any building could not go ahead without the vital work done in the fabrication stage. It is here that the raw materials for building are assembled. Fabrication work can include production components, qualitative and quantitative check on materials and specifications, delivery and scheduling and installation checks, among many other tasks.

Holistic Fabrication

It is important that the fabrication process takes place as a holistic operation, being integrated into the project from the very beginning of the design phase. When fabrication is factored in from the beginning, we have the ability to run quality control, record progress, track changes and ensure that materials are ready and quality-checked when they are needed, ensuring projects run smoothly and on time.

The reason good construction software has made such an impact on the fabrication cycle i that it has the ability to incorporate every level of the process in a 4D model, which means that everyone working on the project can access up-to-date, realistic evaluations of costings, time frames and customisations. Changes to design are integrated with fabrication which means that designers can generate a picture of what is needed at the same time as they are generating the design itself.

By tackling design and fabrication requirements in a holistic manner, we not only save time but we aid that all-important free communication between all stages and participants in the project. Communication is one of the most vital tools in terms of efficiency, and a universally understood program that allows for real-time evaluation of the way decisions affect or improve projects means that everyone is aware and up-to-speed when it comes to the planning stages.