How technology enables Space Group to do things better

Space Group development at Kings Cross

Space Group are celebrating 60 years of success thanks to their commitment to new technologies, innovation and connectivity.

2017 sees the industry submerged in the digital age, no longer are plans drawn by hand, when a computer filled a whole room and documents were printed and stored in filing cabinets. Mobile devises, and the cloud now rules operations.

Having seen the construction industry battle through the industrial revolution, numerous recessions and seen off stiff competition for iconic projects – the Space Group as we know it today lives on and is flourishing as result of a commitment to doing things better, applying different thinking and doing some pretty clever stuff!

Big business is the driving force for progress in our culture, but even in this technology-driven age, it can’t be achieved without good people. The Space Group firmly believe the future rests on individuals.

Because while corporations are limited by their culture, structure, and rules, they are ultimately composed of individuals. How those individuals act determines the character and impact of the company and that’s why Space Group has stood the test of time over the past 60 years.

The people at Space Group have enabled them to grow over the past six decades and transform from a traditional architecture practice into a synthesis of design and technology, collaborating across their teams of architects, designers, coders, technicians and inventors.

Their people are driving their technology. Looking back to when they first introduced digital construction software in 2000 and the early days of venturing into Building Information Modelling (BIM), they moved away from 2D drawings to 3D models. They even had some exceptionally talented individuals create their designs in watercolour, before converting into a digital concept – how times have changed.

In 1957 Arnold Waring and Lens Netts established the Waring and Netts Partnership and set out to provide an excellent service, delivering buildings beyond client expectations. 60 years later, and the ethos remains the same, except the delivery methods have slightly changed.

Initially, the practice built a reputation specialising in housing and civic buildings, winning a number of design awards and by the 1980s the business developed experience in healthcare working for many hospitals across the north of England.

In the 1990s experience grew into the retail sector, adding clients such as The Co-op and Aldi.

With a new Labour government in 1997, public spending increased allowing the practice to build a breadth of experience in schools and colleges while also growing their healthcare experience.

In 2000 new technologies began to have an impact on design with the development of parametric software. The business invested in new hardware, software and training having identified the value technology could offer.

2004 saw a change from a partnership to a limited liability company, and in 2007 on its 50th anniversary, Waring and Netts became Space Group to reflect the diversity of services beyond architecture and to provide flexibility for the group to develop their vision in the years ahead.

By the end of the decade, all of Space Group was designing in 3D.

New technologies have enabled the accuracy and speed of design, and all projects are delivered using digital design methods.

In 2011 both BIM. Technologies and bimstore were launched having identified the momentum for digital workflows across the construction sector.

Other initiatives have followed such as:

Spacehus – Inspired by the Swedish model of high quality, low energy living. It demonstrates how innovation can impact upon the sector and can mean nearly zero cost energy bills for the householder. Space Group delivered zero build housing for £80,000. Not only did they develop the design, but they also completed four prototype homes.

BIM Show Live –  A conference to share thoughts, ideas, and where you can discover some of the world’s most technologically advanced minds and explore the digital construction trends of tomorrow.

Space Group Campus – Providing skills for new entrants into the sector. It is Space Group’s commitment to address the skills gap that educational institutes are struggling to achieve.

In 2016 Space Applied Technologies was launched to develop bespoke applications internally and for clients who were embracing the opportunity of technology and is managed by a team of innovators with a passion for construction.

Today Space Group is involved in all stages of the property life-cycle believing this is the only way to truly achieve smarter buildings.

Rob Charlton, Space Group’s CEO commented:

“Waring and Netts always had a great culture, and we’ve continued that through into the Space Group. We’re a very close team with a family feel, passionate about working with our clients and building relationships. Our innovative approach to the built environment is hugely important and is something that will see the company evolve to meet the challenges of the next 60 years.”

Watch the story of Space Group’s evolution from a traditional architecture practice into an innovative team of architects, designers, coders and inventors here: