The FaulknerBrowns Story

Putting quality at the heart
of digital construction

How an architectural practice is embracing the
challenge of BIM to deliver better buildings

FaulknerBrowns, an architectural practice based in the North-East of England, bring over 50 years' experience to bear to 'create buildings where people do better'.

This impressive claim is bourne out through an equally impressive portfolio of often-award-winning buildings that exceed client requirements and challenge preconceptions.

We visited the team to find out more about how the firm is meeting the challenges of digital construction while ensuring that decades of vital experience and expertise is retained.

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Meet the team at FaulknerBrowns

Established in the late sixties, FaulknerBrowns has gained an enviable reputation for designing excellent, innovative buildings that often take creative risks to create impressive spaces.

With a portfolio of work that includes a raft of sports buildings,residences, offices, multi-purpose community facilities and more the team are rightly proud of the work that they do. In 2016, thanks to work on The Core (an incubator office building), Derby Arena and Hebburn Central (a community leisure centre and library), FaulknerBrowns notched up an incredible six award wins in the space of just eight days!

Talking to practice staff, it's clear it's not the recognition that motivates the team, rather, it's going the extra mile for clients, to deliver interesting buildings and ensure value for money.

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Discover the secrets of their success

For the practice team, it's not just about building buildings - it's about taking the time to understand people. Getting under the skin of what a client wants and engaging with those who will be using and maintaining structures is a key part of FaulknerBrown's approach to projects.

Staff are capitalising on the benefits of the digital construction revolution while drawing on a raft of traditional skills, values, and expertise. Crucially they're taking the time to cascade this expertise down to a new generation of employees through a nimble team structure that offers agility and plenty of mentoring opportunities. Using technology to capture shared knowledge is important too and the team at FaulknerBrowns have spent time developing base-level specifications and templates that save time and power better projects.

Quality counts in a BIM world

Client expectations are rising. The team need to deliver more information, more quickly, but to the same exacting standards. In developing their BIM approach FaulknerBrowns have worked hard to ensure their exacting attention to detail is retained.

BIM has front-loaded information requirements on projects but the team have relished the challenge, seeing the information as something that would be necessary anyway and will help deliver better buildings. Each project represents a new opportunity to work on a new aspect of the 'BIM jigsaw'. A recent project for NS&I on the banks of the River Wear - Freeman's Reach - brought together a range of BIM information across the supply chain.

The team have used NBS Building to deliver high-quality specifications in the past and in recent years have begun transitioning to NBS Create. They took time to share their experiences of understanding where this new software tool fits in their digital workflow.

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The digital future is coming

The team at FaulknerBrowns are excited by what the future will bring. BIM has the potential to revolutionise the industry as disciplines come together to work on shared models, information and specifications. The future is built on collaboration, and that collaboration will boost quality and democratise the process of construction, say the team.

Shaing knowledge and approaches is key to ensuring that everyone in the construction industry can benefit from the revolution and the FaulknerBrown's team were keen to pass on some top tips when we dropped by their offices.

If you're a small practice and are thinking about transitioning from NBS Building to NBS Create, theirs is advice well worth heeding.