Written by The SiteSolve Team on 14/01/2020

How Digital Design can drive site viability

The opportunities brought to the construction sector by emerging digital design technology are more than a process to improve our traditional workflow – when we all work together, technology can help us unlock land for the community, manage technical risks from the start, and realise the true value of our land.

Our land resource is getting ever more complex. The community need for development is increasing, but available land is getting ever more constrained and complex. Productivity is low, profit margins are squeezed and ultimately, land is often deemed unattractive, or even unviable.

The new London Plan drives a design-led approach to determining site capacity. Using this approach, the target development density is not only a factor of the context of the development, but also of the key site-specific challenges and opportunities which could impact a particular plot. This is an exciting change in mindset; as the available brownfield land gets ever more complex, a constraints-led approach is our only option to maximise land use.

Digital design technology can help drive this. Through smart integrated platforms and data mining, we can have real technical input at our fingertips, when we are making those critical early stage decisions. Through generative design and artificial intelligence, we can explore infinitely more options in the time it used to take us to consider just one. This moves us further, faster, to find the viable solution that unlocks the land by responding to key risks. On top of this, we can have streamlined information available in real time, to assess cost and buildability challenges with real design information rather than assumption.

Working in this way allows us to identify options with maximum potential, and critically, to identify unviable schemes quickly, so we can fail fast and fail cheap. This is a rethink on our traditional design process, which is critical to increase productivity in our industry and give the community the developments we desperately need.