Fast-changing digital technology revolutionising architecture

26 Mar 2024

Architecture is undergoing a digital revolution that is changing the way spaces are designed, delivered, and operated.

Brad Sara (11643) is a Principal at Warren and Mahoney where he heads the Digital Services team applying digital processes to architecture.

“As an industry, we waste a lot of time, material, and money, and during the construction of a building. There’s also enormous pressure on our teams and their health can suffer. The best way to minimise all these issues is during the design stages.

“Using digital technology, we can build and even test how a building works, then we can make efficiencies in construction and the way it operates. When this digital building is planned and correctly created, then at its core is all sorts of data that can be analysed and cross referenced for greater insights into the decisions we make, why we made them, the outcomes and so much more,” Brad explains.

Brad is using this digital technology in Warren and Mahoney’s work with Christ Church Cathedral. Digital tools such as autonomous robots carrying laser point cloud scanners are being used to capture incredibly detailed data in areas of the Cathedral that people can’t safely access.

“This data has allowed us to create digital models sooner in the design process to explore the strengthening and stabilisation work as well as the reinstatement,” Brad says.

The project is currently exploring a process of Design for Manufacture (DfMA) where existing stone is scanned, modelled, and then sent to a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine to accurately machine new stone.

Brad says the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operations (AECO) industries have become increasingly more digital over the past 40 years with ever increasing efficiencies in automation, robotics, and data creation.

“Today we are in an accelerated period of digital evolution where data is becoming a commodity, digital delivery is a norm and large disruptive technologies are rapidly emerging that offer revolutionary ways of designing, delivering and operating the spaces we create.”

Brad was attracted to digital services by the challenge and the opportunity.

“There are huge opportunities for efficiency gains. From improved communication and collaboration to better documentation and coordination, increased health and safety, project insights, construction efficiencies, reduced waste management, carbon reductions and a balance of capital and operational expenses – the opportunities are everywhere.”

Brad has worked on many of New Zealand’s largest construction projects as well as several across Australia, the UAE, Asia and the US.

“I work in an ever changing and advancing environment. While the world is becoming ever more digital, it is still for and about people.”

Click here to learn more about Brad's innovative approach.