With over thirty years of experience in the architectural industry, George has a wealth of knowledge in his direct, practical approach to resolution and implementation in documenting a wide range of building types. George is deeply immersed in using current technology and provides direction on BIM strategies, management and implementation for effective project communications and delivery.
Q. Tell us about the unique approach you take to helping grow the skills of your team?
A. Growing the skills of a team, in my view, is one of the key components to a successful company. Everyone wants to improve what they do, to value add not only to themselves, but the practice. The approach I take in training is wholistic. Improving workflows may be more about introducing a new or different production tool, rather than advancing knowledge on what is currently in use. More than anything though, as a trainer, I genuinely care for people and want them to succeed. Over a long career in architecture, I have been lucky enough to be involved with training/mentoring many people. Playing a part, however small, in their development, from students through to project leaders and beyond, brings great satisfaction. The key ingredient in growing skills is attitude. Growing people’s skills is a two-way street. They must have the work ethic to take on what they have been taught and reinforce it with commitment. For me, a wholistic view of each individual’s circumstances, together with an understanding of company objectives, and a big dose of the right worth ethic, provides the best approach to improving people’s skills.
Q. What do you enjoy most about architecture?
A. My interest in architecture began during high school Art classes studying Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. During Industrial Art, the use materials in design was also of major interest. What struck me first was that architecture was art, but on a big scale. Architecture can be as broad and varied, and can engage the viewer, just as any great work of art can. To this day, I still enjoy resolving construction detailing and use of materials to achieve the designed form. Continued advances in technology have produced new materials and construction methods, and adapting these to create the built form is challenging, but very much rewarding. Once the built form is complete, walking through and around it, and engaging with it is most satisfying.
Architecture can change the way we live from an individual point of view and as communities. That is a great responsibility for us to take on but very fulfilling when successful.
During my career, I have been fortunate to work on a wide range of projects from smaller ones, such as alterations on a domestic scale, to larger ones, such as large residential towers. They all have the common element of selecting and detailing the appropriate materials to achieve a successful outcome. This needs to be achieved not just for the present, but for the long term. A highly enjoyable larger scale project I was involved with, was a commercial/ retail tower at 60 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. The enjoyment from collaborating on this project was not just the final constructed result, but also from working with a group of outstanding professional team members to achieve a common goal. Twenty years have passed and this building is still as grand and elegant as when it was completed. I get to walk past this building daily and enjoy the feeling of absolute pride in the process and the result.
Q. Since the mid 1980’s you have amassed over 30 years providing BIM services to the construction market, yet we still hear it discussed as an emerging trend. What do you see as the next practical evolution in speeding up efficiency and quality in the construction sector?
A. BIM is a broad term and with further advances in technology, continues to expand. It is now more than just the intelligent model elements, but also the data they provide in improving efficiencies in building design regarding energy, functionality, maintenance, performance and sustainability. The implementation of BIM in any AEC industry requires strong leadership and commitment to be successful. The continued advancements in emerging add-on applications to core BIM software has led to further research and development to examine potential use, and has already led us into better visualisation of the designed form – leading to enhanced collaboration between clients, architects, engineers and builders. Other benefits include better data integrity and quality; more accurate material and cost estimation; clash detection; facilities and asset management.
So, where does the next evolution of speeding up efficiency and quality in the construction sector lie? These are increasing daily, but I believe at the forefront is Generative Design (GD), Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), interfaces such as Oculus and Gestural Modelling and also 3D printing. GD allows advancements in achieving a broader range of solutions in a reduced time frame at improved cost. VR has been high on the architectural agenda, but the next phase will take us into AR. Whereas VR is a simulation of what the real world can be, AR takes the real world and adds to it. The benefits of AR in the initial design development stages are enormous, such as its use of mobile devices with BIM data to assessing the location of building services and on-site viewing of the design in its context. The way we interface with our computer models will change with Oculus moving from a viewer to a production tool and Gestural Modelling allowing users to virtually sculpt digital models with their hands above sensors, allowing improved intuitive design processes. 3D printing will also have profound effects on industrial design, fabrication and manufacture and construction processes. These however, rely on acceptance on the AEC industries to accept progression in technology advancements.
While the implementation of BIM has not been as wide and committed as initially expected, the advancements in technology for software, hardware, interface and peripherals make it irresistible for future growth in the construction sector.