Kai Yang
Mass Timber Project Manager
CadMakers, Vancouver

The largest mass timber projects in the world include University of British Columbia's Brock Commons and First Tech Credit Union. Building with mass timber provides many opportunities to take a new, Design for Manufacturing and Assembly approach to construction. An integrated design model (Digital Twin) to maintain a digital thread and optimize construction was used to help deliver the UBC Brock Commons project three months ahead of schedule. Recent projects have used generative rules-based engineering design to automate the creation of fabrication models with embedded manufacturing requirements and specifications. Since the detailed fabrication models are produced using algorithms, varying design configurations and connection details can be generated to give precise cost metrics for data driven decision making activities such as optioneering and value engineering. The 3D fabrication models are then used in detailed step by step 4D process simulations to collaboratively practice and validate constructability and communicate the assembly sequence with stakeholders, accounting for an iterative design process as the project evolves.

As mass timber lends itself to prefabrication, it is important to not only be able to directly CNC the Mass Timber components from the model, but also prefabricate the contextual components such as MEP, Facade, and Framing to fully optimize the build process via a Digital Twin. Additional future technologies and endeavors for the mass timber industry can further optimize the design to manufacturing process.