Tuesday, 22 May 2012

BIM Roundtable Think Tank Discussion at NLA

NLA, The Building Centre
Today I am taking part in a BIM Think Tank run by the NLA discussing "What does BIM mean for the private sector?".

The brief is that the discussions will be based around three topics as outlined below. As some last minute preparation I made some notes around these issues and thought I'd share them on the blog. If anyone has any opinions on these subjects feel free to add comments below.

1. How far are developers already investing in BIM and what challenges do they face to do so?
Many clients have now seen the benefits of BIM and are insisting on its use on projects. Over the last few years I have seen many examples of this through talking with some big clients and listening to presentations at conferences. A few quick examples below:
- Gatwick Airport - Read how "It was The BIM that won it" for HOK on the web. £1billion worth of work. It's no surprise that it's the client benefits post-delivery where the benefits are expected to be seen. The Engineering Manager from Gatwick Airport is quoted as saying "We have been investigating how BIM might add value to the business, and how the model might become used as part of the day-to-day operations of the airport".
- ASDA mandates BIM through its supply chain on all new superstores that it builds. It is currently looking at its existing building stock too and generating models whenever a store is renovated/altered.
- CIRCLE hospitals have managed to produce well designed, yet incredibly efficiently built hospitals through the use of BIM and "BuildOffSite" principles. In their case studies they quote figures. £3.4K/m2 and duration of 74 weeks for first hospital. £2.5K/m2 and 67 weeks for second hospital - they believe this can come down to £2.0K/m2 and 50 weeks. Bryden Wood are now working with MoJ taking these best-in-class processes from the leading edge of the private sector into the public sector.
The Building Centre
2. What contribution does and can BIM make to meeting sustainability targets and efficiencies in practice?
Too much information behind BIM is in (a) people's heads and (b) bespoke databases. This information needs to be standardised and made available to the wider industry. BIM should allow this.
For new builds, BIM objects representing the main elements of the building should have configurable materials, and it should be possible to configure these materials based on expert financial and environmental cost guidance. This is one challenge we have set about trying to solve at NBS.
Where nationally maintained objects are used, these can be pre-populated with key cost information such as financial CapEx and OpEx, embodied carbon, water footprint, carbon in use and more general design guidance.
Where a building type is going to be built again and again. It should be possible to componentise this in the most efficient way possible to hit the financial and environmental challenges. A good example of this is with the _SpaceHus project - Space Group have a sustainable home design (level 4 to level 6) than can be built from 19 builtoffsite modules and put together to produce an affordable home that can be run with energy costs of £10 a week.
I think there is also a duty for the whole construction industry to feed information from what the have learned back into a national "central online pot". If structured correctly, the whole industry will benefit from collaboration on "lessons learned". You put in a little, but get back out a lot. Manufacturers can also help here by more publicly publishing their information so informed decisions can be made.
Building Centre model of London - now with Shard
3. How far can lessons from public sector projects be applied to the private sector?
River Thames looking West
I'd take this back one step and suggest that firstly the public sector must learn from the leading edge of the private sector. See the CIRCLE hospitals example previously mentioned. It is then the duty of the central government to learn from the best to make best use of the public finances. This information learned should then be fed back to the public sector so that the whole industry benefits.
In fairness to the UK Government it appears that this is exactly what they are doing.

The UK BIM Task Group is using a carrot and stick method (or push and pull as they prefer to call it). The carrot is the improved training, support with standards, documentation of business benefits, case studies, regional BIM Hubs. The stick is the fact that if you're in the central government supply chain and you don't use BIM, then in a few years time, you don't get on the projects. And this is completely fair, as a client, if you are spending the money then you can demand what you want for your money.

As a result of this, we will see two things
1. Better value for money for the tax payer
2. A UK construction industry that are world-leaders

Update: (following the event) A super session. A nice spread of clients, engineers and architects in the room and great to have a conversation around the big issues. A full write up will be available from the BIM area of our website in a few weeks. Chatham House Rules applied, so I'll not write up my notes - the official write up will follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment