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Digital “twinning” doubles value-for money while halving the costs to environment


When we at utecture talk about Digital twins, we're not speaking about characters in the Marvel universe.

Instead, we’re talking about the digital simulation of real-world objects has been around for years in science fiction, with CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/manufacture) since the 60s in Renault experiments. In 2002, the University of Michigan’s Michael Grieves formally introduced the term at a manufacturing conference.

Digital twins are software models that represent the attributes and operating behaviour of physical assets and processes. They support better decision making by simulating how assets behave, given certain inputs. A digital representation of an object or process stores and structures information in a way engineers and operators can understand. Digital twinning is now being applied to planning cities, saving money and reducing their carbon footprint. Tesla has successfully used digital twinning to revolutionise the design and manufacture of electric cars.

The transformation potential for many fields is immense.

A digital twin however is more than simply a prototype: its ability to capture knowledge and enable continuous learning provides a further benefit. When manufacturers see real-time data on how their products are operating, they can apply AI to optimise what they’re doing to get dramatically improved results.

At utecture, since our inception, charting a groundbreaking path to digital “twinning” for residential construction has been a key goal.

We’ve advanced the concept in residential and commercial construction so that homebuyers can also be involved in a building’s progress. utecture’s groundbreaking cloudbased platform enables clients and stakeholders (architects, quantity surveyors, suppliers, builders) to visualise and digitally participate in a project from inception to completion.

For utecture, all construction projects (whether large or small) are pieces of data. utecture creates a digital twin by assembling, automating and modelling a building project’s data, showcasing exactly how a final plan will look and function. It documents the materials required, how much the project will cost and, crucially, how long it will take to complete.

While there are other digital preconstruction design tools on the market, most only model a project’s aesthetics. utecture’s platform offers not only visualisation and project management but the capability to price a building design while bringing together various expertise and estimates, in real time.

Essentially, via digital twinning, building plans become shared data projects. utecture’s is an end-to-end system that joins and renders transparent all the disparate elements that typically make preconstruction unwieldy and inefficient. According to utecture’s Gavin Tonnet, because so much cost underestimation and time-wasting occurs in the pre-construction phase, streamlining this rigid, deterministic part of the building process will drive the biggest improvements in the industry.

uecture’s virtual pre-construction tool is not only the way of the future – it greens the building industry. A recent Monash University study found that utecture compresses a typical twelve-week design process to a task done in under an hour; saving more than 65% of the cost; halving the time to proceed to construction phase and reducing the amount of carbon required by over 90%, compared to current practices.

Through digital twinning, utecture’s nimble, responsive technology can revolutionise the way clients make decisions about designing and building a home – cutting carbon consumption, and improving home ownership’s affordability and availability to more people.