ECE undertake BIM research
Chairman Tony Clark outlines the project aims and early outcomes of this Technology Strategy Board funded project.
Undertaken with their client Worthing Homes (as host project partner) and The Clarkson Alliance (as lead partner), this Technology Strategy Board funded research project aims to “establish the changes in dynamics and behaviours across the construction supply chain to unlock new, more efficient and collaborative ways of working with Building Information Modelling (BIM)”.
The core objective of the housing project at Meadow Road Worthing is to understand the changes in process and behaviours needed to work in a Level 2 BIM environment. A range of authoring tools – Autodesk Revit, Microsoft Excel – are being used by the project team to import data to, and export data from, a single, federated BIM model held on a central ‘middleware’ platform, which in this case is Kier’s BimXtra software.
Whilst ECE are involved in several major projects using BIM technology, this is the first small residential project (Meadow Road has a construction value of £1.4M) for which the practice has worked in a BIM environment and as such it has produced several challenges. The majority of construction projects in the UK are “small” in size, so by participating in the research ECE have had an opportunity to learn and share processes relative to this size of scheme. .
PAS 1192-2, the BSI’s publicly available BIM standard, brings much needed consistency to BIM implementations however as it’s necessarily a ‘one size fits all’ standard for projects both large and small it’s processes have needed some substantial tailoring in order to fit the needs of this smaller project where there are fundamentally far less people and less data involved.
By making the BIM model freely accessible to the wider project team and adapting PAS 1192-2 to fit the needs of the project the notion that BIM isn’t accessible to SME’s and can’t be used on smaller projects has been shown to be not the case.
ECE’s Project Director Tony Clark explains:
“For some team members it has been a steep learning curve as there is very limited BIM experience within sub-contractor companies who are likely to be involved with this size of project. The timber frame element has been particularly challenging as there is currently no timber frame design package which is compatible with Revit and therefore importing the information requires amending file formats to be able to view the frame within the model. We have also found a lack of manufacturers producing their products as objects which has meant the use of generic objects being incorporated into the model.”
Construction has commenced on site and the team look forward to recording the benefits and limitations of their approach during this phase.