The superpower underpinning every Modularity project
Amy Van Berkel lifts and spins entire buildings with ease. Walls are shifted with a deft flick of her wrist. Her superpower isn't incredible strength, though, it's 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) software that is the starting point for each successful project delivered by Rendine Constructions' innovative Modularity team for our clients.
Amy, the Design Manager for Modularity, works with Rendine's Business Development Manager and Registered Architect John Baxter to develop a concept based on the client's requirements, then draws extraordinarily accurate three-dimensional renderings that showcase the project in precise detail.
The powerful 3D software allows Amy and John to give free rein to their creativity. It might be an eye-catching external profile or intriguing use of surfacing or colour that ensures every Modularity project is distinctively different and highly individual.
“Modular (construction) is almost like Lego blocks,” Amy says. “But then, what can we do to give it that wow factor, that stamp of individuality, so it doesn't look like it's off the shelf?”
It's this think-outside-the-box mentality that offers something special for clients of Rendine's Modularity system. In modular construction, speed and efficiency have traditionally relegated quality design to an afterthought.
By contrast, our proprietary system prioritises aesthetics from the initial conceptual discussion with our client and through the stages of documentation, fabrication, delivery, installation and handover.
“It's a Rendine expectation that we don't want to be like the other modular manufacturers where what you see is what you get,” Amy says. “That's what makes Rendine stand apart, that we are willing to make changes and not stick to exactly the same model on every project. We have the flexibility to make things unique, while still working within the parameters of modular construction.”
For our clients, the designs not only include detailed structural and finishing data, but they also provide an almost photo-realistic look at the design. This documentation forms the basis to order the components for assembly at the state-of-the-art Modularity factory in Geelong.
“We work closely with the client to nail down to every last detail before they sign off the design and cost, and we begin the fabrication process. They can be fully involved and the process is very transparent - there are no surprises,” John says.
The architectural design software, Revit, enables Amy to digitally model the entire building and look at the project from almost any internal or external angle, adding fixtures or shifting walls to our client's satisfaction with just a few clicks. A companion software product, Tekla, enables structural steel draftsman Nick Van Gemst to model the structural steel backbone for each building. Overlaying this steel model with the architectural models, allows steel and the other building components to be ordered to extraordinarily tight tolerances, ensuring our clients of incredible quality in the finished product.
“We need to make sure all our structural steel is going to line up with our architectural intent and design,” Amy says. “We check it's going to fit on-site and fit our transportation parameters, and that we can get wall frames manufactured and they're going to go together perfectly.
“Because the framework, windows and doors are all being manufactured at the same time, this gives us the confidence they will all fit together when they arrive at the factory.”
The combination of Amy's background in construction and design, John's architectural experience and the powerful 3D software underpins not only free-thinking modular design, but also drives exacting accuracy and efficiency into the process, leading to a better pricing proposition for our client.
A recent example is a sales office designed and constructed by Rendine using the Modularity system for the GenFyansford residential precinct. An eye-catching roofline - dubbed “the ski slope” by Amy - plus thoughtful use of shape, form and colour ensure it is a landmark in its environment, drawing high praise from the client.
“When John joined the team (in 2020) he wasn't familiar with our Rendine Modularity methodologies,” Amy says. “That meant he could think and develop freely, whereas I come from a construction background.
“I take his ideas and finesse them, and we bounce ideas off each other. John now understands how we build, and I have more insight into how he thinks, and that allows us to get a quick turnaround for the client, but without any sacrifice on quality or great design.”