The data we collect on how an asset performs, will soon be its most valuable commodity.
This is the view of Ridley founder and CEO, Joshua Ridley in his address to the international delegates of the 2017 Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) conference, held in Sydney this week.

Speaking to the conference theme of Connecting the City, People, Density and Infrastructure, Joshua spoke of the inevitable digitisation of architectural design and construction and what that will mean not only for how we build, but how finished building and infrastructure operations will become smarter and influence the design and construction process.
“Our industry has not kept up with the technological leaps forward that are defining how we live and work, that other industries have had to stay ahead of to survive. That’s changing, and changing quickly.

“One of the most fundamental changes this will bring is to how we design and build. Traditionally, the design process takes the lead on determining how a building should be used. That’s going to flip; very soon, the data we collect through smart-building operations will influence design.

“Before now, common industry logic had it that the building designer determined how an asset should operate. I believe that with the data we’re already collecting, it’s the operations end that will drive the design process,” Joshua said.

One example of where this is happening right now is on Grocon’s The Ribbon project in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, on which Ridley is the Executive Architect and Digital Project Manager. Ridley has experimented with Grocon to develop technology that gives the construction teams real-time access to changing information in a format that makes sense to them.

“One of the biggest challenges in developing and implementing this great technology is time. There is very little time and space to innovate when you are on a tight programme; you tend to revert back to the way you did things before. I believe that as an industry, we no longer have the luxury of slipping back into old habits in an environment where smart building operations is the goal.
“Take the work we’ve been doing to create a digital twin of Global Switch’s Pyrmont data centre, that was meaningful for the operations and wasn’t binned at practical completion. On this project, creation of a highly accurate digital twin was the end-goal, and this was achieved.

“”Our industry has a habit of using digital models as part of a DA and pre-construction design process, and throwing them away when it comes time to break ground. It’s a habit we as an industry will be forced to break as more clients stipulate that the operating model of the finished product needs to inform the entire design and construction process.”
Pointing to the enormous amount of “unstructured data” being created by people and assets in buildings, Joshua argued that building owners and managers need new tools to tap into this hidden value.

“Data is the new commodity for building owners and managers. The better we leverage building data, the better we can plan design, construct and operate space.
“The new tools that will help our clients make the most of their assets, and truly define what it means to have a smart building, are no longer theoretical. Designers, builders and operators of future projects can’t afford not to embrace them.”