Space Architects - championing collaboration to get results

Space's digital synergies
are delivering better buildings

How an ambitious architectural practice
is leading construction into new spaces

At its worst construction can be expensive, unpredictable and litigious. A classic case of over-promising and under-delivering. That's something Space Architects are on a mission to change - casting off the baggage-laden job titles and siloed working methods of old and instead delivering digital ways of working that really get results for clients.

With a 60 year history of delivering a great portfolio of buildings the team have been quick to seize on the opportunities of the digital construction revolution - building a network of connected businesses from those original roots in the North East of England.

We met with the company's CEO Rob Charlton to get his take on the past, present and future of construction. We also discussed the potential of digital tools and technologies that were set to revolutionise the industry.


Smart, digital connections make for better project outcomes

Space Architects history dates back to the 1950s - back 'when architects got retainers and scale fees'.

Over time, moving from drawing boards to CAD, it became apparent that the future was information-driven and Space Architects seized the opportunity to have digital conversations freed from the shackles of pre-conceived ideas about construction. Today Space Architects are part of a group that hosts a network of companies who design, build, train, develop, host BIM objects and more.

The team are driven by the desire to 'get things right' and make the most of digital synergies, breaking down the silos of old, to reap the rewards of connected data and collaborative construction. It's those close working relationships that mean that the team are always looking at what's coming and what's next, to deliver better buildings for clients.

Digital tools drive a workflow that delivers a lot for Lidl

Space Architects are playing a key role supporting Lidl's ambitious expansion plans. The challenge here? Getting buildings on the ground quickly, to the highest quality at an excellent price. The team have worked to develop a range of store types for the UK and on into mainland Europe.

The underpinning workflow relies on NBS Create to generate fully-integrated specifications. With standardised cloud-hosted models the team were able to collaborate effectively, cascading changes that could be easily visualised by project participants using a wide range of tools.

Rob's keen to point out that Lidl didn't ask for a digital workflow - they wanted accurate information very, very quickly. In delivering standardised models, hosted in the cloud, the team were able to share and cascade changes that could be easily visualised using a wide range of tools. The result? Better outcomes and a satisfied client.

Changing the industry a project at a time

The team at Space Architects have earned something of a reputation when it comes to digital disruption and innovation. Being 'first to market' isn't always easy, or come with guarantees of success. But it's clear that the ability to innovate to make the industry really deliver for clients, is at the heart of the company’s ambitions.

Rob's team of 'Spacers' are proud of their North-East roots and have benefited from being a part of the region's burgeoning digital construction networks - a little competition is clearly very healthy indeed.

Artificial intelligence and robots are coming

BIM's transformative power has reaped great rewards but the team at Space Architects are already looking to what's next with a dedicated in-house team looking at applied technologies.

Artificial intelligence is high on the agenda - getting computers to make decisions and answer questions. Data is in the team's sights too - the more you know, the more you can drive better outcomes and efficiences for clients. It is data that's driving a new generation of augmented and virtual realities allowing clients to get a real feel for a project before groundworks have even started.

Dismiss the rise of the robots at your peril...the pace of change over the last 10 to 15 years proves that science fiction can quickly become science fact. In just a few decades' time we might even find ‘Robot Rob’ answering our questions...