“Future Testing” for Civil Engineering

The ideas presented in earlier posts on Future Testing (excerpted from Replacing Problem-Solving with Future Testing) can be applied to the discipline of engineering.

Future Testing for Engineering Firms

Traditionally, engineering firms review the architect’s conceptual designs and independently develop their engineering drawings. This is a wasteful step, which duplicates work and can misinterpret the architect’s intent. This disconnect between the designs also makes it incredibly difficult to test new ideas or incorporate changes from the architect.

Future Testing bridges the digital gap.

click to tweetTweet: #FutureTesting bridges the gap between architects’ conceptual designs & engineering drawings @3DSAEC https://ctt.ec/yfc93+

It provides the ability for all stakeholders to collaborate on and visualize a virtual mockup of the project from start to completion in digital form, improving speed and building trust that the desired outcomes will be met.

Instead of problem solving and reliance on hindsight, the approach allows engineering firms to anticipate issues or uncover creative opportunities in advance by experiencing the project’s as-built behavior in virtual form. It brings all stakeholders together and supports an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) approach.

Future Testing also allows engineers to analyze designs virtually based on precise 3D models and realistic physics simulations instead of relying on theoretical analysis that can lead to costly, unnecessarily over-designed structures.

Today’s models can even incorporate a systems perspective, going beyond the physical structure to include everything down to sensors and controllers to simulate overall behavior.

Future Testing enables engineers to quickly change plans based on unexpected discoveries or change requests, leveraging techniques like parametric design automation that automate the propagation of changes through the design.

In addition to seeing the design in 3D, Future Testing provides them with the ability to experience the changes in advance, so they know they will end up with an optimal outcome.

These benefits also apply to EPC (Engineer-Procure-Construct) firms in much the same way, allowing them to incorporate construction feedback to improve models.

Future Testing In Action at SMEDI

A great example of an engineering firm leveraging Future Testing approaches is the process utilized by the Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute (SMEDI), when designing the Ganjiang Second Bridge in Jiangxi Province.



The design work for the bridge was led by SMEDI, with engineers from different disciplines collaborating.

SMEDI’s collaborative design process meant that they clearly defined and divided the work involved, coordinated the roles and tasks, and seamlessly managed the entire project.

In the conceptual design stage, designers could quickly create complex curves as skeleton lines and even supports using digital sketch tablets. With the skeleton lines created, the component library was crucial to the success of the project. The components (like piers, beams, columns, etc.) are intelligent, rule-based parametric objects and well-categorized in the library. Designers can select desired components from the library and put them on the skeleton lines and then the components adjust their sizes automatically to fit the skeleton lines and generate the BIM model in a well-coordinated manner. If designers change skeleton lines, it drives all components to update along with it, thus greatly saving modification time.

Indeed, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform helped make it much easier for SMEDI to make changes to the design, which can be very frequent and even at the last minute. In the past, making design changes could sometimes take even longer than the original design stage itself.

click to tweetTweet: “Future Testing” for #CivilEngineering
@3DSAEC https://ctt.ec/2xelL+

Related Resources

Learn all about Future Testing through real world examples from CADMAKERS, SHoP ARCHITECTS, SMEDI, A. ZAHNER COMPANY, and HARDSTONE CONSTRUCTION in the Dassault Systèmes white paper: Replacing Problem-Solving with Future Testing: The New Paradigm Poised to Disrupt the AEC Industry.

Akio Moriwaki

Akio Moriwaki

As head of global marketing for the AEC Industry at Dassault Systèmes, Mr. Moriwaki launches and promotes groundbreaking Industry Solution Experiences including "Optimized Construction," "Façade Design for Fabrication," and "Civil Design for Fabrication." He is a member of buildingSMART.