Joining the Digital Revolution
A UK engineering firm redefines project efficiency and communication with digital workflows.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” simply doesn’t apply to engineers. As a rule, they always look for better ways to get the job done. Case in point: the highly skilled employees of Hilson Moran, a UK multidisciplinary engineering consulting firm, continually seek to improve the firm’s project communication and process efficiency. This resolve for innovation explains why, with 40 years of experience within the built environment, the firm has recently undertaken a complete overhaul of its workflows by converting their traditional paper-based processes into digital solutions. “There is no doubt the digital revolution has now arrived in the construction industry, and it is starting to make a real impact,” observes Hilson Moran’s Director Vince Ugarow.
Why go digital after 40 years? It’s all in the workflows.
Ugarow credits digital workflows for streamlining their processes and enabling more nimble navigation through drawings during client meetings and interactions. He explains, “In tender meetings, we can refer to our drawings so much faster, and they are much better to look at than the old paper drawings.” This value extends to project partners as well, with PDFs proving to be instrumental in improving design communication on the jobsite.
A popular digital workflow that has significantly improved for Hilson Moran is design review. “Before, you would get sent the drawing—say from an architect or a client—and you would print it out, make your markup in your sketches on the drawing, and then scan that back onto the system which, depending on the quality of the scan, might not necessarily show all the details that you want. Then, if you needed to make changes again, you would print off the scanned version, draw on that, and then scan that back into the system, which would reduce the quality of the drawing, ” says Mechanical Design Engineer Stephen Atemie. The whole firm now prefers the paperless way. “It saves a lot of time and actually maintains the quality.”
Finance Director Roger Waters-Duke has seen the positive side of leveraging digital solutions for engineering consulting. “When I first joined Hilson Moran ten years ago, there were drawing boards everywhere,” he says with a laugh. “Everybody still did everything on large printers, and our printers were slow. Therefore, it took a lot of time to print out drawings, mark them up and then scan them and return them to an architect. By taking this workflow digital, we are now able to streamline that process.”
Waters-Duke remains optimistic about how much further digital solutions will take the company. “We are looking to use this technology to allow us to collaborate between our UK, Abu Dhabi and Qatar offices for much more seamless collaboration.”