Biomimicry is the application of recognised biological concepts to fields outside the discipline of biological science.
By demonstrating one analogical application the prompt is provided to ‘find’ other biological concepts that could usefully be applied at some future point. The significance of the term biomimicry is that it is more than an analogy. Many of the biological concepts are firmly supported by analysis. As an example, studies of endangered species have produced a formula for the background level of extinction:
S = cA^z
- S = number of species becoming extinct.
- A = geographical area of dispersion of the species;
- c = constant for specific taxonomic group;
- z = relationship function for isolation specific area curve.
Examining the components of the formula it would appear that it could also be applied to the extinction of firms within the property and construction industry. At the present time no information is available regarding c or z but it may be possible to evaluate these, or by examination of past records to estimate approximate values for preliminary analysis.
The evaluation of the background level of extinction of construction and property firms will have a major impact on the quantification of insolvency risks associated with risk management techniques currently being developed within construction.
A further application from biomimicry comes from the biological mnemonic SLOSS, (Single Large Or Several Small). In biological terms this mnemonic is used in the examination of sustainable colonies of a particular threatened species. Is it better to have a number of isolated colonies of a threatened species or a much larger colony containing all the animals? A comparison could be drawn with the development of PFI and current initiatives of ‘bundling’ small projects into a larger project, or ‘unbundling’ them to create smaller projects, which companies other than the existing experienced PFI operators can compete for, thus increasing the competitive pool for future projects.
The most patent example of biomimicry is the use of Darwin’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ concept as an analogy for organisational survival.
The text in this article is based on ‘Business Management in Construction Enterprise’ by David Eaton and Roman Kotapski. The original manual was published in 2008. It was developed within the scope of the LdV program, project number: 2009-1-PL1-LEO05-05016 entitled “Common Learning Outcomes for European Managers in Construction”. It is reproduced here in a slightly modified form with the kind permission of the Chartered Institute of Building.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
In the week of the momentous Heathrow decision, we look back at the development and design of T5.
BSRIA’s flagship event will address performance and wellbeing beyond compliance.
Young Architects and Developers Alliance launched to build the relationship between the two disciplines.
BS 8536-2:2016 Design and construction: Code of practice for asset management (Linear and geographical infrastructure).
Paying for off-site goods or materials can be useful, but it puts the client at risk.
People power can be transformative if properly informed and inspired.
ZHA win competition to build an Urban Heritage Administration Centre in Saudi Arabia.
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.