Ridley was featured in CIO Magazine today, with our Founder and CEO, Josh Ridley, speaking of the monumental shifts currently occurring in the architecture and construction industry.  An excerpt of the article is included below, you can see the full article here.

 

Construction group Ridley is on a mission to create ‘intelligent built environments’ as it continues to buck the trend and act as a trailblazer in digitising the stereotypical slow-to-adopt, manually-driven construction industry.

“We’re on the dawn of the biggest shift we will ever see in the construction industry,” founder and CEO, Josh Ridley, told CIO Australia. “We can make the impossible possible,” he said, thanks to the power of digitisation and a raft of technological advancements.

“Winston Churchill said in the 1940s that we shape our buildings, and afterwards the building shapes us. I think that truly has new meaning today in the digital age.”

Ridley said the five-year-old company, which has a team of 120 staff working across multiple studio locations and site offices, calls itself the ‘Digital Design and Construction’ company, which aims to deliver ‘intelligent built environments’ by creating digital buildings and digital infrastructure.

“It’s not just about architecture and construction anymore,” Ridley said. “We believe in an intelligent built environment, where design and construction is 100 per cent digital. We are thinking about design, construction and operations for our projects in a way that is completely revolutionary.

“The world of bricks, mortar and paper is becoming smarter, automated and more connected. The balance of power between architect, developer and contractor continues to shift, with the rise of new procurement methods and models of project delivery.”

Ridley said the company is sharing its vision of smarter environments, and showing how its services can enhance the design and delivery process, improve constructability, reduce risk and improve asset management throughout a project’s lifecycle.

“At Ridley, we have the same challenges as others, although we’ve looked at the industry in a different way – we have set ourselves up as the ‘digital design and construction company’. This category, this name, didn’t exist before,” he explained.

“We employ engineers, architects, technologists, lawyers, bankers, a range of people to do something different in the industry. Our belief system is that if we can create an intelligent build environment, we can transform the lives of millions of people.”

He said the company is comprised of a team of architects, engineers, software specialists and thinkers who challenge the preconceptions of how the industry should work, looking to transform the way in which major projects are delivered.

 

Roadblocks

Ridley acknowledged the construction industry has been slow to adopt technical change, is often mired in process, and continually operates under a complex mountain of people.

“The construction industry is a very old and established industry. In fact, it represents about ten trillion dollars and according to a world economic forum report, about eight per cent of GDP, so we’re talking about a pivotal, very influential industry around the world.

“But the industry has been a fairly late adopter of digitisation and change in terms of technology, and there are a number of challenges for an industry like this to change. One challenge is it is highly fragmented and siloed,” he said. The amount of consultants required on any given project in Sydney is around 50, with that number bulging when you add in the subcontractors, lawyers and bankers involved.

“It is incredibly challenging,” he said, explaining the industry suffers from inertia thanks to the status quo mentality and unwillingness to change.

“A big challenge is dealing with the old status quo brain, that says we’ve done it this way before, so why change. The biggest challenge for us is making sure we don’t do change for change’s sake. Make change because it makes a meaningful impact. I find that a challenge – having to continually be that voice for change and not accept the status quo.”

He said the ongoing push towards innovation is another top challenge. “Keep pushing and keep innovating. You need to be in the river, rather than sitting on the sidelines and watching the boats go by. We’re in there, we’re amongst it and we’re wanting to make a difference.”

With escalating population growth impacting cities, and growing calls for greener environments and the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions, he said it’s imperative the industry build smarter buildings, which will rely on predictive analytics, and shift from being considered “dead data” to intelligent buildings with complex structures, systems and technology. No doubt, data is changing the way we understand, design and live in cities.

“We believe in an intelligent built environment that involves both transportation infrastructure and buildings. An environment can be intelligent when the buildings aren’t just static pieces of bricks and mortar, bits of wood and steel, but they are buildings that have data in them and that can be manipulated and analysed.

“We can start to look at how these buildings can be living systems, how these buildings and infrastructure can be intelligent and how we can look at predictive maintenance, rather than reactive maintenance. How can we work with contractors to make the contracting journey the faster and better by using technology such as 3D printing.”

This is an excerpt of an article originally published by Jennifer O’Brien for CIO Magazine. The full article can be read here