Monday, 2 April 2012

Ecobuild - Better with BIM main seminar series

Most of my blog posts from the recent Ecobuild week were around the activities at the RIBA Village. But I did also spend most of the second day playing some part in the "Better with BIM" main seminar series. Here are some delayed notes from that day...

This morning I chaired the first of the “Better with BIM” session which was part of the main ecobuild 2012 seminar series.
David Miller goes through slides in preparation - 10 minutes later it was standing room only

More information on my presentation on the UK Government Construction Strategy can be seen at the blog post Ecobuild Day Two. Following me was David Miller. David delivered a case study, a school building that David Miller Architects are currently working on. David showed value engineering at the beginning of the process using BIM and working with the cost consultants. Four unique schools have now been developed using the standardised components they have developed. “Blow apart the previous database and re-assemble it” was a nice piece of phrasing used.

Where a manufacturer has been specified from the outset in a strict brief – they can include it in the model early on for greater certainty.

The reality of the situation is that all deliverables are still 2D outputs. But all of these 2D outputs come from the central project BIM database. This ensures coordination and speed of work when modifications are required.

When changes are required across an entire door/window schedule – they can be done in 30 seconds. Previously these may have taken half a day equating to £300. And they may have been a mistake made – this may have equated to more than £300.

Through the construction of the building the design team and Bouygues (the contractors) sit and look at the BIM and regularly use it as a key tool – the model is navigated and any information that is required can be retrieved which avoids problems on site.

One of the more obvious pragmatic benefits discussed was also that competition information can be put together in the half the time – a more impressive package that wins more often.

Simon Rawlinson was next up. He asked the question “Why do you need the business case for BIM?” – Sometimes it just makes sense. The business case is often – “it just makes sense”. Simon demonstrated some of the empirical evidence of the return of investment seen by contractors that have gone public with their figures.

“If it doesn’t flow down the construction timeline then it’s not BIM” – a rich information model that gives benefits between the “silos”. Simon also floated the idea that through partnerships and joint rewards through savings on OpEx can lead to better collaboration on agreed CapEx.

There was also a call for improved standards. If BIM was a garden that is going to grow – we don’t want a messy garden – we want BIM to grow properly through collaboration within the industry.
Watch words – (1) Be pragmatic, (2) Be proactive, (3) Open standards, (4) Be streetwise, (5) Be positive.
Simon Rawlinson and Brendan Patchell

Brendan Patchell started by letting the audience know that the construction industry is a “destroyer of worlds”. So we need to change our ways to build buildings that will be kind to the environment in terms of construction and also use.

Simple durable open standard databases are what are needed to be exported out of the design databases. And it must contain good quality data – put rubbish in – you get rubbish out.
From a cost consultant point of view Brendan demonstrated how the model can be changed and all of the material take-off volumes and areas were automatically updated.

Brendan also discussed the process that may be used in the industry where the designers start with library components, put these into the project BIM and tweak to suit, then this information is used for construction and then facility management.

After a few hours of rushing around at the RIBA Village I was then back at the main seminar series in the afternoon. This session was chaired by Nick Nisbet from buildingSMART.

“Don’t not buy – the time to adopt BIM is now”, is how Nick started the session. “We need to start to invest in technology and QA systems and not be spending money paying lawyers”.

Nick commented that the construction industry is playing catch up with industries such as automobile and aviation – information must be shared through the whole construction process. We mustn’t be simply delivering a wheelbarrow full of documents once the building is complete. One example of data sharing that is not as often discussed with respect to BIM, is sharing information intelligently to get through the planning process or building regulations approval process. “Any industry that is relying on 2D documents is not doing their job properly”.

Nick believes the key phrase from the UK Gov Strategy “Clients can derive significant improvements in cost, value and carbon performance through the use of open sharable asset information”.

There should be no surprises as the design moves through to construction – at every stage you should be aware of the financial and carbon costs.
Benedict Wallbank

Benedict Wallbank was next up who as an architectural background, but has worked as a BIM consultant most recently. Selecting the BIM software is like being a kid in a sweetshop.

What are the things that you want to see in BIM software is the key item that will make you the most money? What are the key drivers are for you? What are your bottle necks in your businesses? Look at sorting this process with the software that best meets your need. If your boss says to you “go and get me BIM!” then challenge him and ask him what he wants to get out of it and what process he wants. Go to the software vendors and say, “this is what I need to do, what can your software do to help me meet my needs?”.

In the United Nations how does it work? Option A – every country learns each-others language. Option B – everybody (bar one) has to change their language. Option C – everybody has a translator. Option C is the openBIM approach – and IFC is the openBIM common language of choice.

What happened to video when VHS beat Betamax and achieved a monopoly? Nothing. It stagnated for 15 years. Competition is vital to innovation – we must have this in the UK construction industry.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting angle on Planning Submissions eventually being part of the BIM information circle. The Planning Portal doesn't even accept 2D files larger than 5MB at the is barely in the electronic's a long way to go before they can accept a BIM model.