BIM4SME Awards Winners Case Study 7

This is the seventh post in the series showcasing the winners from the BIM4SME Awards 2017.

This week's case study features the winner of the Best Use of BIM to enhance Model Coordination award, submitted by HLM Architects for the Triangle project, where they used ArchiCAD, Revit, Navisworks and 4Projects to effectively manage the full federated modelling of a 38,000m2 office building in Cambridge, covering everything from structure and M&E to landscape and interior fit out.

Case Study – The Triangle Project



Project Brief

The Cambridge Assessment team aims at having a ‘Headquarters Facility’ consolidating all the Cambridge Assessment staff within the same campus in concurrence  to  the  envisaged  growth  over  the  next  years. The project gives the business an objective to rationalise various operational  aspects  and  to  centralise central and support services in one location.

The site is wedge shaped, ‘The Triangle’, and sandwiched between the railway lines, bus lane and Cambridge cycle to the east and the two lane road to the west.

Outline planning permission was granted for the new headquarters in March 2015 and construction began  in September 2015. The building is due to be completed at the end of 2017 for occupation in early 2018.

HLM BIM Level 2 capabilities

In December 2015, HLM joined a privileged group of architectural and construction industry organisations in achieving BIM Level 2 Certification with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), under their Business Certification Scheme. They now collaborate with other design disciplines and suppliers to provide BIM to Level 2 standard on the majority of their projects, using a variety of authoring tools for presentation, design development, production information, 3D coordination and asset management.

BIM Objectives and Framework

Cambridge Assessment require all project stakeholders to work to BIM (Building Information Modelling) Level 2, and it is essential that the project team comply with Cambridge Assessment’s requirements. Through engagement with Turner & Townsend, Cambridge Assessment has identified the following strategy priorities:

• BIM Execution Planning is to be prepared in accordance with PAS1192-2:2013.

• Deliverables adapted and agreed in 2014 to emerging PAS 1192-2:2013 standards

• Use industry recognised BIM software platforms – Revit 15/17, ArchiCAD 18/19

• Establish a through-life information management strategy including graphical and non-graphical information.

• 3D visualisations, walk-throughs and images for User, Local Authority and other Stakeholder presentations and discussions at key project milestones are to be prepared.

• Data outputs in COBie format are to be prepared at key stages.

• Specifications are to be based on a system that allows direct links between spatial BIM Models and the accompanying specifications and object attributes.

• Read-only access to the BIM model gratis and within 24 hours is to be made available at the Board’s request.

• The model is to be regularly updated (every 2 weeks) to reflect material/component detailed selections or variations from those selected at design/tender stage.

• Asset Management information held in recognised interchange format (COBie) to allow interoperability between recognised facilities management (CAFM) packages, recognised asset management packages and the model(s).

CDE provision for the shared and published environments was Viewpoint 4Projects, which provided a managed environment for document uploads across the supply chain, including document control in alignment with the BS 1192 code of practice. WIP in each tier 1 design discipline was supervised and managed by designated information managers, specified in the BEP. Overall information management was carried out by the project information manager of our lead constructor and employer, Turner & Townsend.

The project Responsibility Matrix was developed by the lead contractor, Turner & Townsend, and the contractor, Bouygues UK team, to agree levels of definition (model detail and information), to appropriately respond to the EIR of Cambridge Assessment and their appointed FM providers, Bouygues UK.

The HLM Task Information Delivery Plan was developed with Bouygues UK and appended to their own MIDP. Their in-house developed drawing management system, Workspace, ensures that authors within the task teams (architectural, interior design and landscape architecture) can effectively control and audit project deliverables. This included BS 1192 document coding system, drawing production and revisioning, through its interface with the company’s preferred CAD and BIM platform, Graphisoft ArchiCAD.

HLM and use of Graphisoft ArchiCAD

HLM has effectively employed ArchiCAD (Version 18 then upgrade to v19) from the beginning of the project as a tool for design development, presentation graphics, detailed design, schedules as well as production information and 3D coordination.

HLM has utilised ArchiCAD Teamwork throughout the whole of the project to optimise its design resources including the sharing of architectural and interior design skills across a number of its offices. This includes working with offices from London, Cardiff, Belfast, and the biggest part of the work was done by HLM’s office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The use of ArchiCAD Teamwork has ensured that HLM’s ‘one team culture’ has been maintained though technology and has, eased the management of resources and workflow across this project, effectively generating a high degree of communication, collaboration, intra-office working and team spirit.

HLM uses certain internal strategies to make their workflow even better, besides their centralised CAD training and standard procedures.

HLM also introduced volume strategies to avoid clashes and to make the team-operation more successful – as an example: the Cores were the areas marked up on the working files of the interiors team – so they knew exactly where the boundaries were, same was done the other way around for the Shell&Core team.

The ceiling void zone, the risers were allocated to the M&E design team – and the structural walls, columns were added to the model by the Structural engineer. After design team meetings we left all the space needed for the concrete empty – so the structural engineer could “fill in” the zones marked up.

Model Management and Coordination

Due to the vast scale of the project (ca 38 000 sqm), the model was split into 2 main models for co- ordination purposes consisting of a Shell and Core and and Interiors model hot-linked into one another. This was extended by using the structural engineers and M&E model to produce 2D information as well as quantification of certain elements.

The creation of a project specific BIM coordinator role is central to the successful ongoing management of the project, its processes, coordination and delivery of information through the duration of the project and facilitation for handover and operation.

Furthermore, controlled information management protocols in accordance with PAS 1192-2:2013 ensured good collaborative workflows where individual models are developed and shared in a controlled environment incorporating managed change control and validation processes.

Federated model sections - Structure, Architecture, M&E, Landscape, Catering, Security

Model Exchange Workflow

HLM’s ArchiCAD models are translated to IFC, checked with Autodesk Revit for accuracy and interoperability issues every two weeks. After the translation & checking all the models are uploaded to the CDE (4Projects).

BYUK uses 4Projects for model validation and coordination as well as Navisworks. A week after the model exchanges, BYUK federated the models and BIM meetings took place with every discipline to identify issues, design queries or clashes.

Navisworks model

During construction

After these meetings, the BIM Coordinators liaised with the design team about the actions to be taken till next model upload. All issues have been marked up on a BIM collaborations online surface, BIMCollab. This is hosted and monitored by BYUK’s Project Information Manager. Each BIM Co-ordinator can assign issues and queries to anyone on the project. The technical background is through an add-on available for all software platforms used on the project. HLM used ArchiCAD, the structural engineers and M&E used Revit. With the add-on, HLM can see all the issues in the working project files and issue live queries/responses to the other disciplines. Communication was key to make sure we act upon the issues or there was further information needed.

Due to the size of the model files – and 3D objects contained (the M&E model contains over a quarter of a million! Objects) live linking of all information to the working files isn’t helpful. Fully federated models exist in Navisworks and Viewpoint 4Projects only. The working models only contain the necessary information essential for drawing production. In Navisworks – with the BIMCollab add-on being available – the highlighted issues on the federated model can be tracked in real time.

Collaboration Tree

HLM, as design lead, works close with its sister companies, Sidell Gibson Architects and 33 Interiors. HLM-SidellGibson are responsible for designing the shell and core of the building.

33 Interiors are responsible for designing the internal partitions, spaces and all the fixtures HLM-SidellGibson sets out all the rules that all the parties either follow or comment.

As HLM-SidellGibson working close to each other with 33Interiors, actions and reactions follow as fast as in case of one single organization.

Model Development Principles

The various models combined into one single model allows better design coordination. Internal HLM-SidellGibson-33Interiors model validation process:

• Both Interiors and Shell & Core model quality check

• Both Interiors and Shell & Core model position – orientation check

• Interior model to fit the Shell & Core – Clash checking

• HLM-SidellGibson-33Interiors model position – orientation check against agreed coordinates

• Model shared in the CDE with all parties involved on scheduled basis Design coordination via AIMs

• Models downloaded with the latest revision

• All models linked into a container file for clash checking.

• All issues are to commented back to the originator for review (DTMs to decide whether a comment is valid or nor)

• After all the comments has been answered a validated-updated AIM is uploaded by all parties to the CDE

The BIM coordinator is responsible for exchange of fortnightly IFC/RVT models between consultants ensuring a coordinated and controlled multidisciplinary use of BIM. The individual shared models are combined within ArchiCAD for design review and clash detection and a combined model is made available in read only format to the whole team for model based reviews at project team meetings and coordination throughout the project lifecycle. Regular clash detection exercises are also carried out using Navisworks to help ensure a robust clash avoidance process to reduce design and site costs.

The project uses improved IFC Scheme setup for export to Navisworks, for model federation and clash checking, and provision of COBie data.

About the development

In summary, the development of The Triangle will include:

• Contemporary building which is sympathetic to the neighboring conservation area and surrounding buildings

• Office space to accommodate up to 3,000 employees by 2025

• Catering areas, meeting rooms and archives space

• Around 1325 cycle parking spaces

• Around 189 car parking spaces

• Green and outdoor spaces for relaxation and work including a number of courtyard gardens

•  The extension of the avenue of tree planting along Shaftesbury Road, creating additional habitats for wildlife

• Commitment to high quality building

• A 39.1 meter tower that will be a landmark when approaching Cambridge from the south

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BIM4SME Awards Winners Case Study 6

This is the sixth post in the series showcasing the winners from the BIM4SME Awards 2017.

This week's case study features the winner of the Best Use of BIM for Sustainability award, submitted by David Miller Architects and Hill for the conservation and re-use of historic barns in Cambridgeshire.


Case Study – Anstey Hall Barns




This project involved the conservation and refurbishment of a group of historic barns to provide eight luxury conversions and a further four new homes on the site. The barns have been carefully designed and restored to blend seamlessly with their environment, staying true to their historic timber-framed structures. The new build parts of the project use CLT and simple building technologies, using local and reclaimed materials that are sympathetic to the original buildings, both visually and practically, without resorting to pastiche. It was an ambitious undertaking, given the dilapidated structures, dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, with Grade II listings on some of the timber framing. This, together with the planning constraints of working in a conservation area, meant the project was looked on as high-risk and the site had sat empty for many years. The team’s collaborative approach, using innovation and advanced digital design and construction, brought significant benefits in design, programme and budget de-risking the project and making it feasible.
Applying digital techniques to conserve the barns, we have retained more original features than would have otherwise been possible because of the high level of understanding of the buildings and complex structures. Point cloud scanning allowed us to model the complexity accurately in 3D and so not over-simplify solutions. The site team recorded the condition and repairs to the historic buildings photographically through 360 Field, and tagged these to the 360 Glue models. This captured vital data for ongoing conservation, maintenance and future adaptation ensuring historic sustainability as well as enabling the speedy resolution of complex conservation issues and allowing timely approvals by the conservation officer.

Our model-based approach ensured that clear communication achieved maximum collaboration between the design team, client/contractor, supply chain, planners, conservation officers, neighbours and end users. This was essential in getting to grips quickly with a project already underway (the project already had planning permission) and using new technologies.
Early use of 3D models greatly facilitated communication of the scheme to potential residents. Hill were able to better test furniture layouts and produce marketing images encouraging early commitment with most of the homes sold off-plan.
Combining BIM Level 2 protocols with new technologies such as Point Cloud surveying, Autodesk BIM360 Field, Glue, Docs and Point Layout software, all design elements were digitally tagged. This allowed the contractor to take accurate subcontract and materials procurement directly from the model, thus reducing waste, costs and time.
Completed on time and on budget, the project not only transforms derelict agricultural buildings into high quality housing, but also demonstrates that digital design and construction are as applicable to complex conservation projects as to large new buildings.

“ Having gone some way to prove that the technology is wholly beneficial on this complex refurbishment project, we have developed processes for production and delivery of all future housing schemes.”
Mike Beckett – Director, Hill Bespoke


From an early and very clear EIR, we were able to establish BEP that could achieve the client’s very ambitious goals for the project.
The client was clear that a primary goal was the quantification of materials/construction elements in order to:

  1. Gain better control of the procurement process and avoid the costs associated with ‘lump sum’ subcontracts where quantities risk is transferred to the supply chain for a premium.
  2. Reduce cost and waste in the material ordering process.


We used seven effective techniques to improve the project design, delivery and operation.

  1. Extensive point cloud surveys – Raw laser scans were used by the architects to develop ‘as existing’ models as a starting point for the project. This permitted the forensic architectural and engineering design approach that the 8 unique existing buildings demanded.
  2. Cost Management – Subcontract procurement was facilitated using the common data environment 360 Docs. This was the first project in Europe to use 360 Docs and the team’s feedback has been incorporated into the product.
    Key advantages experienced include:
    • A faster procurement process
    • Time saved by better communication
    • Better coordination and scheduling benefits
    The contractor / client undertook quantity take offs directly from the federated design model. This required the components within the model to be named and numbered in a structured way that was agreed in advance in order that the bills of quantities could be generated quickly.
    In turn this allowed the team to firm up construction budgets more accurately and earlier and then de-risk subcontract procurement by avoiding inefficient ‘lump sum’ sub contracts.
    All quantifiable elements were parted and converted to enable quantification using Navisworks. Site manager’s use of Navisworks has speeded up material requisitioning and saved time and money – especially as it did not require employing a separate quantity surveyor.
    The supply chain members were brought in early to share and review models and discuss the elements they would be involved with. This informed the design significantly. In several cases, we were able to use suppliers’ BIM components such as sanitary-ware, lighting, kitchens, door components and windows, driving efficiencies and providing additional data to the model.
    BIM made it easy to extract work-in-progress information that was used to get early stage costing and specialist input into details such as the external windows, curtain walling and doors. This enabled better, more coordinated design, reducing the likelihood of value engineering at a later stage.
    We also shared models on Glue with Carpenter Oak and Woodland (Joiners) who used the models to tag and track the work they did to the existing timber using ‘before and after’ photographs attached to the Glue model. These were, in turn, shared with the Conservation Officer as evidence in discharging the listed building and planning conditions.
    We also believe that there has been a reduction in wastage by eliminating the need for extra material to compensate for the inaccuracy of traditional material take-offs.

    “Procurement to all of the sub-contractors would typically take around 6 months, however we will have managed to halve this time. Since Hill are taking the risk on the quantity information, we are finding that more sub-contractors are coming back with prices, and they are taking less time to do so.”
    Mike Beckett – Director, Hill Bespoke.

  3. Clash avoidance – In addition to the usual coordination of the architecture, MEP and structure this project presented the challenge to coordinate with complicated existing structures. The existing historic timber frames have moved and bowed considerably over their lifetime, the model based approach de-risked the insertion of new structure and fabric.
  4. Visualisation – We were able to clearly communicate to all stakeholders using the WIP model in Navisworks or over the cloud with 360 Glue. This encouraged confident and timely decision-making. The model was also processed and used for marking purposes.
  5. Construction setting out and verification – was enabled through Autodesk Point Layout. Digital setting out points were embedded in the design model and shared over the cloud through the CDE. This drove the equipment on site that was used to set out the location of the new buildings and new elements within the existing buildings, which speeded up the process and improved accuracy. The system was also used in reverse to verify locations in the field and push them back into the design model.
  6. Programme management – BIM 360 Field software was used to manage and track all actions and deliverables for both the design and construction teams. Sub-contractor procurement was also managed through 360 Field. It was then used to manage the quality control checklist for trades on site ensuring standards of quality and giving a clear audit trail.
  7. Facilities Management Data – New homeowners are receiving iPads preloaded with the Model of their home, allowing them to log faults and provide post occupancy feedback.

Stakeholder Benefits

Hill Bespoke

Hill were able to control material ordering and avoided premiums associated with estimating and ordering along the supply chain. There are also the usual benefits to design, programme and cost. Best practice modelling processes and techniques have been established for use on projects going forward, and there have been benefits in marketing and customer engagement.

Statutory Bodies

Timely approvals by the Conservation Officer were made simple with new technology. The site team recorded the condition and repairs to the historic buildings photographically through 360 Field, and tagged these to the 360 Glue models. This generated a comprehensive report on the works undertaken and, without the need for site visits, concerns were addressed and the programme protected.


Receiving an iPad with an ‘as built’ model of the property, homeowners have full information about their property allowing them to flag queries and feedback to Customer Care. The model will be used for efficient future operation and maintenance of the buildings and has full conservation information embedded into it.

David Miller Architects

The processes developed on Anstey Hall Barns have been integrated into the office’s ISO accredited Best Practice Management System for use on future projects.

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BIM4SME Awards Winners Case Study 4

This is the fourth post in the series showcasing the winners from the BIM4SME Awards 2017.

This week's case study features the winner of the Best use of BIM for Costing and Material Take-off, submitted by Alinea Consulting for their involvement in the Brent Cross Shopping Centre redevelopment and refurbishment, a retail project which benefited from a good client relationship and team management. Alinea's team set up all documentation according to BIM Level 2 standards, and followed best practice for level of detail. This enabled their costing team to successfully extract data from the model for costings at various stages of the project.

Brent Cross Shopping Centre redevelopment and refurbishment






Alinea successfully used BIM for Costing and Material Take-off on the Brent Cross Shopping Centre redevelopment and refurbishment; a high profile retail development project for Hammerson and Standard Life Investments The project involves a significant extension of the existing shopping centre including new retail and restaurant units, associated mall areas, multi-storey car parks, cinema, along with the refurbishment of the existing centre and associated external works – as a phase within a larger regeneration and infrastructure project.

BIM methodology was used to design the entire project. Alinea collaborated with the design team to produce some 40+ ever-evolving models in various software platforms. Developing their previous working knowledge of BIM projects, the sheer number of buildings and scale of the project was a challenging, yet valuable and rewarding experience. Alinea used the models extensively for quantity extraction to enhance accuracy and efficiency throughout the cost planning process.

Their established BIM principles, in the context of agreeing rules of measurement and extracting for measurement purposes were:

• To be hands-on and have open and honest dialogues with the project team about what they intend to do with the model and how they use it from a cost perspective;

• To work collaboratively in all aspects (not only between BIM specialists and surveyors internally but also with the external BIM enabled design team);

• Models are issued to Alinea with an information only status, to support the 2D information (which is derived from the model). With designer approval, it is then Alinea's decision whether to use model-derived quantities for cost planning. If so, rather than simply using the raw outputs, they carry out extensive processes in order to review, validate and understand them, as ultimately they take full responsibility for their use;

• As the project progressed, their trust within and intimate knowledge of the models increased, often subject to the relationships and culture within the team. In theory, as the project develops and this trust increases, the amount of deep validation lessens and the ability to extract trusted quantities becomes greater.

What the initiative was and how it worked

Following commencement on the project, after the rest of the design team but still within Stage 0, Alinea’s first priority was to agree and align a suitable Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) within the BIM Execution Plan between models and client requirements for cost reporting. It is always critical to establish and agree this format with all parties immediately, but it was even more pertinent on this project due to the number of consultants and buildings. The project’s initial single model evolved into 40+ models between all disciplines.
The next priority, from a measurement perspective, was to agree, still within Stage 0, both current and future design stage needs from a quantification perspective including aligning to appropriate LOD (Level of Detail) and LOI (Level of Information) references. This included the identification of key drivers such as areas, basic object definitions (e.g. wall types) and Phasing (e.g. existing or new). Alinea's early cost advice was based upon limited design information with many costs generated on an area driven basis. This meant that their next focus was to work with the lead architect to define a room and area naming strategy that would work for the duration of the project and to embed this vital data within the models. This is turn allowed Alinea to create a comprehensive area schedule which was used extensively for cost planning purposes. After a full and robust validation process, this allowed them to achieve full area generation on individual buildings as well as the full, federated scheme for the +1200 rooms and spaces. Working together, physically, with the architect to embed this data in the live models required a joint agreement on GEAs, GIAs and NIAs as the scheme and the models evolved – preventing a separate process following each model update of resolving area discrepancies. The largest challenge within this process was identifying appropriate naming terminology as a result of two disciplines’ differing opinions when undertaking a joint task – which was resolved by mutual agreement with the client.

Figure 1: Wall Type referencing is a key area of object definition

The project was generally split by buildings between two architects, Callison RTKL and ChapmanTaylor – which created a further challenge for Alinea from a measurement rule, object naming and functionality perspective. Not only did the models need to be physically coordinated from a design perspective between the architects, but the vast quantities of data held therein needed to follow the same pre-agreed rules, in order for the federated data to work together. Each architect clearly had their own previously established in-house ways of working from previous projects which they intended to adopt at the outset on this project. Initially, neither had fully comprehended the further requirement of two practices creating one data driven project together. In many instances there were differing opinions on specifying and the approach to setting up an object’s data and parametric functionality. By way of example, modelling internal doors (and door openings) was approached in different ways by each architect which would have led to specification divergences. One practice had a multiple defined object approach and the other was more option driven within fewer objects. We requested resolution from a measurement perspective to avoid inefficiencies when cost planning and reduce wasted capital cost. In order to progress this, Alinea requested an exercise to review both practices’ proposals on modelling methodology to reach a unified approach. This was a new concept for all three parties, as coordination had previously only been considered as a physical requirement, not data of this nature. A joint Revit family naming convention was established by review, which Alinea requested and mediated. This was well received and adopted immediately by all parties – and mitigated extensive remodelling and possible programme delays, had it been considered later.

How it was implemented and what are the benefits

As part of Alinea's design team liaison, they had to ensure constant communication to establish what could be used at any point in time given the ‘Work in Progress’ nature of the models. An example was on the structural steelwork harvesting whereby the structural engineer advised Alinea, only following interrogation, that they could not use a particular zone of object data for our cost planning, on the basis they did not have sufficient time to size the weights correctly within their 3D design. The structural engineer therefore inserted a ‘placeholder’ as the object data within the model and advised that Alinea was to refer to their 2D information for cost planning purposes. Had this not been communicated, then there could have been a risk of using an incorrect quantity leading to incorrect cost advice. In terms of progression from this position, Alinea ensured that they met with the engineer after subsequent model releases in order for them to advise Alinea on what zones were not usable.

Despite having numerous models, it was a necessary part of Alinea's cost planning on the project to break down the individual models further, in even more detail beyond the level within the WBS. These focused on individual aspects such as car park spiral ramp options and structural frame apportionment between usages (e.g. retail units, cinema, back of house areas) in one building – for the reasons of cost option studies and / or client reporting requirements. It is unacceptable to expect the engineer to build in this level of breakdown within their models as it is of no benefit to them. Alinea's method for achieving apportionment of models has progressed on this project due to the number of these examples, which Alinea has undertaken within Revit. A client challenge to their cost apportionment exercise was being able to visually demonstrate and prove such apportionment within a 3D image. In order to progress this, Alinea established a method of applying colour filters to the validated dataset, which was well received. This new concept on visual demonstration proved to be useful and they have thus adopted it on other projects to benefit other clients.

Figure 2: Steel model for one building prior to Alinea's apportionment exercise

Figure 3: Steel model for one building following Alinea's apportionment exercise


Overall, Alinea felt they have influenced the design team to adjust some of the ways they model and produce the functionality of objects, in order to support more usable data that increases as the project progresses. They had previous relationships with some members of the project team and could clearly witness progression in their understanding of modelling purpose on this case study project. Alinea's team was pleased to see, on receipt of their initial models, some of the influences that Alinea had established on previous projects with them and on the next project we will expect to see further progression – which is very positive, knowing that Alinea's efforts (and theories) are paying dividends and not treated as ‘one offs’. Likewise, these experiences are valuable at Alinea and this project enabled them to push their own boundaries and expanded their confidence on using BIM for direct quantification on larger scale, more complex projects. This has also further raised BIM on the agenda internally for them in terms of increased appetite for the possibilities of how it can support their cost management delivery to benefit their clients.

The above was all possible due to the positive and enthusiastic adoption of the teams identified below. Their willingness to learn, adapt, adopt and challenge made the process rewarding and fulfilling, not to mention a project enhancing experience.

Clients:- Hammerson and Standard Life Investments
Architects:- Callison RTKL and Chapman Taylor

Structural Engineers:- Waterman Structures and Clarke Nicholls Marcel

Services Engineer:- Hilson Moran

BIM Coordinator:- BIM Technologies

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BIM4SME Awards Winners Case Study 3

This is the third post in the series showcasing the winners from the BIM4SME Awards 2017.

This week's case study features the winner of the Best use of BIM for Health & Safety, submitted by Freeform 3D for their intelligent combination of 4D modelling and VR on the 22 Bishopsgate project, with a focus on Health & Safety .

Interactive Virtual Reality linked to 4D modelling at 22 Bishopsgate



The 22 Bishopsgate project is a 62 storey, 2 million square foot building with a site boundary no bigger than its finished footprint. Planning the construction logistics was, therefore, a complex and difficult task, hard to achieve by traditional techniques. Our challenge was to deliver a system that not only allowed Multiplex’s logistics manager to complete this task accurately and quickly but also delivering real value to the workforce and could be rolled out across the business, supporting their supply chain and the Client too.

The innovation undertaken was the combination of highly detailed 4D modelling and Virtual Reality (VR). Accurately representing detailed construction stages and logistics arrangements in a virtual environment, allowing complete planning, testing and sharing of the future construction stages of the project.

22 Bishopsgate. North view. Artist's impression.

What the initiative is and how it works

Putting individuals within the virtual environment of the construction site breaks down the barriers of understanding more than 3D visuals can do alone. This new technology has the ability to grant the wearer with the truest representation possible and allows a full understanding of the working conditions before arriving on site. Safety and logistical considerations can be reviewed, tested and adapted prior to works starting when programme implications impede the ability to stop, review and adapt working conditions.

In order to create these virtual environments the design information, temporary works and logistics details are combined into BIM and linked with programme tasks to create a dynamic visual representation of the construction sequence. This facilitates deep interrogation of the plan of work, unlocking experience from the wider project team to give programme clarity and certainty.

Screenshot showing 4D model

Logistics' VR as of April 2017

Further, the teams are more aware of upcoming stages of work and the 4D model supports decisions at all stages. The supply chain can quickly collaborate with each other in a visual, dynamic way. Often the scenes that are created and interacted with, are months and years ahead, giving the team plenty of time to adjust procurement and improve logistics and temporary works design.

The 4D scenes were then imported into a virtual environment allowing users the ability to enter the construction work stage selected, the user then had many options on how to manipulate the environment. On top of simple teleport navigation, a suite of tools was added that continues to grow with the team’s requirements and our development cycle. The level of interaction gets deeper by creating tools such as:

• Object creation, plant such as MEWPs, Concrete Wagons, pedestrian barriers can be created by the user in the VR environment

• Object manipulation, picking up objects, plant and moving, deleting, rotating

• Mark-up, user can markup areas, or sketch ideas in different colours within the VR scene

• Save/load feature, user can save whole detailed logistics scenes for sharing

• VR workshops, by combining with large whiteboard screens, we run VR workshops where teams can plan logistics and safety in an unprecedented level of interaction and scope

• Rotate objects, such as tower cranes, and sit inside the tower cranes simulating lifts, sight lines and lifting radii

• Scale versions, users can control the scale of the experience dynamically. Either at 1:50 for planning scenes and then at 1:1 real scale, walking through the scene to gain an incredible level of planning, experiencing the project as it will be.

Deliver an accurate and validated as-built COBie sheet based on the client’s data requirements

• Deliver a full repository of product-related PDFs in the O&M manual, in the required structure and embedded as-built product data, into open formats.

• Ensure that all stakeholders could benefit from accurate, paperless construction product data – ready to be transparently shared with anyone who might need it.

Screenshot showing some of the tools available to users

How it was implemented and what are the benefits

Key areas where the virtual environment proved hugely beneficial to the project included planning logistics of a typical floor plate and tower crane dismantling and erection. These were the first areas reviewed with more being identified and created as the project progress.

The first major use on the project was developing a logistics plan for a typical floor plate with the Façade Contractor. A workshop was held reviewing the area in VR. Temporary storage and air feeds for the CCF panels, launching tables, plant, edge protection and netting were all modelled and positioned in VR with Multiplex Site Managers, H&S Managers and Sub-Contractor’s supervisors all in agreement. This workshop identified an issue on the plant floors of the building where extra structural steelwork made lifting operations impossible, as this was identified early provisions were made to lift and store panels from higher levels in these instances.

Lifting operations simulated in VR (left). Placing a forklift within the typical floor plate scene (Right)

The Tower Crane strategy at the top of the Building is particularly difficult as the roof slab sits X meters below the NATS Ceiling. The luffing jib tower cranes that climb with the building will need to be replaced with flat-top cranes. The sequence of first shortening the luffing jibs, and then dismantling and replacing them was tested fully in VR, with input from Structural and MEP Subcontractor team, plus the Crane Coordinator and Logistics Manager. The workshop identified a number of slinger blind spots during major lifts that could not have been foreseen through other means.

An overview of the Top of Building scene (left). Placing Tower Crane 1 Jib on the deck for shortening (right).

Importantly, by funding and encouraging the development of 4D and VR at 22 Bishopsgate at an appropriately ambitious level, the above tool-sets are now re-useable on other projects and across the industry. This wasn’t a minimum viable product for Multiplex, and therefore, many future projects will benefit from what has been achieved here. Tool development as well as establishing a company procedure was the key objective.

The Future

Because Virtual Reality is a new emerging technology across all markets, not just construction, best practice examples of its use need to be communicated to the industry. The 22BG project is open for Multiplex staff, supply chain and other stakeholders to visit and try out the technology for themselves. Entering an award like this also provides a platform to showcase what this technology can be used for and the benefits it provides to the wider industry.

Planning logic, Gantt charts, 3D models, logistics plans and plant specifications are normally separate and difficult to combine and understand fully. However, these items are critical and need to be understood by the majority of the project team. By combining them digitally and creating VR environments, any project team member can immediately drop into any future stage of a project and make informed useful decisions. This makes BIM extremely accessible, unlocking experience. It leads to BIM adoption, by enabling people who have no BIM training to engage with the process.

A wider benefit is to promote knowledge sharing across the industry and enable new recruits the access to a portfolio of examples to review and experience. In an industry facing a skills shortage, being able to grant a new recruit with these experiences to improve their understanding of multiple different types of projects and site operations without having to wait for the situations to arise will assist in fast tracking their training.  Industry BIM benefits are typically focused on the design stage, through clash detection or the handover stage, with rich asset models. This initiative pushes it into the construction stage and provides a real benefit for construction staff, creating a demand for BIM at the site level. Ensuring demand for BIM is across all stages of the project will promote the mandate of BIM in the industry.

You can see 22 Bishopsgate VR Demo Video below:

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BIM4SME Awards Winners Case Study 2

This is the second post in the series showcasing the winners from the BIM4SME Awards 2017.

This week's case study features the winner of the Best use of BIM for the use of Embedded Data, submitted by coBuilder as the provider of ‘Embedded Data’ services (tools and consultancy) on the National College for High Speed Rail project.

Accurate as-built data with coBuilder for Willmot Dixon’s ‘NATIONAL COLLEGE FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL’ project



Stripped from all unnecessary complications, Building Information Modelling is a digitalisation process and ‘information’ lies at the heart of it. Construction product information in the form of digital data is essential for streamlining the construction process, which, in effect, is the main purpose of BIM. Utilising digital data in the initial design stages ensures that buildings are being designed with clients’ requirements in mind. Having manufacturers’ data at hand has undeniable value at the procurement stage when contractors and their subcontractors can easily purchase products according to their technical specifications. Out of these uses, embedding data in as-built models is probably the most important one, as knowing what is actually installed in a building allows building actors to verify and validate that all requirements are met in the end and that what is designed as actually installed. It allows the true client – the end user of the building to benefit from well-maintained and operated facilities.

That is why general contractors such as Willmott Dixon have made an important step towards providing embedded data on many of their projects, most notably the ‘National College for High Speed Rail’ project. To tackle the challenge of setting requirements, collecting, validating and delivering construction product data on this project, Willmott Dixon have employed the international construction data experts coBuilder.

National College High Speed Rail - Birmingham Campus

How the need for data extraction was embedded into the project documentation

Information Requirements in BIM (IRs) refer to the information needed for making decisions during the whole life cycle of a built asset. That is to say, they inform the asset and project information models (PIMs) at the delivery stages and AIR at the operation stage. These ‘information models’ consist of 3D models, data and documents. In order to work with data on a construction project, one needs to first start working with the documents specifying the information requirements for the project.

The first step in the scope of coBuilder’s consultancy was to work with the project’s BIM Execution Plan (BEP) and Employers Information Requirement (EIR) by analysing what data was required for the project. This effort was central for setting Willmott Dixon’s Information Exchange Matrix document that defined the set of required data deliverables. They were based on product and property types as well as their associated values and further requirements such as scheduling.

coBuilder’s information management tool ProductXchange functioned as a common digital environment for allotting these requirements to the supply chain partners, so that they were informed about the exact type, format and time of the data deliveries. ProductXchange was used as the platform for collecting, validating and verifying the project data.

How was data validated and exported

Embedding the established data requirements within its mechanism, the ProductXchange tool was used to set up automatic filters that allow the different subcontractors to fulfill the data and document deliverables as set up by the EIR, AIR and other specific data needs.

Apart from automation, over the course of the ‘National College for High Speed Rail’ project, coBuilder supported Willmott Dixon by checking that the Information being collected was accurate and delivered on time via ProductXchange. The work entailed attributing different requirements to specific subcontractors in relation to documents and data, work packages, information exchanges and dates of deliverables. coBuilder’s experts were also responsible for monitoring the system’s notification dashboard for any legislation breaches, missing information, documentation etc. over the course of project. This included weekly/monthly checks to identify if products are missing, in breach or not delivered on time. If that was the case, coBuilder used the emailing system in ProductXchange to contact subcontractors/manufacturers and make sure that the data and documents were supplied.

At the end of the collection period, the finalized verified and checked product data sheets in ProductXchange were exported in COBie and XML. The exported files were used for publishing a complete digital O&M manual.

How was data used effectively by other project team members

The collection and validation of as-built data relies heavily on standard-based manufacturers’ data. coBuilder’s experts research national, international, legal and market data requirements (CEN, CENELEC, ISO, BREEAM) in order to devise Product Data Templates(PDTs). PDTs are used to transform information into interoperable data that can be checked, distributed and embedded in any software. Digitising product information through a Product Data Template is a shared responsibility of the whole supply chain. Through the integration between ProductXchange and goBIMcoBuilder’s award-winning tool for digitizing manufacturer’s data, contractors and sub-contractors can receive accurate data directly from the only credible source the manufacturer. For this purpose, manufacturers and suppliers can be invited to join goBIM via ProductXchange.

In essence, embedding data in models through ProductXchange benefits the manufacturer, enabling them to work closely with their clients and augment their product with digital services. Secondly, general contractors benefit from Centralised Requirements Management (CRM). With ProductXchange they can communicate their requirements to the supply chain and provide accurate, checked information models. Facility managers benefit from having information required for maintenance, refurbishment and renewal available at handover and throughout the life cycle of the facility. The biggest benefit however, is for the end user, as operating with digital data has a direct impact on closing the performance gap and producing healthier, safer buildings that match their original design.

How can data be potentially incorporated into Facilities Management

Public construction and infrastructure projects can benefit greatly from implementing embedded data in their FM routines. The difficulties in their maintenance stem from some of their typical traits: because of their scale and long lifecycle of intensive exploitation, they are the perfect candidate for utilising accurate as-built data for achieving efficiencies in FM.

After the validation and verification stage is complete, accurate as-built data can be exported to COBie or directly to coBuilder’s BIM Viewer, where the full list of installed products is available for tagging of objects in the as-built model. Based on the data input by the sub-contractors and the general contractor, the FM can take advantage of the embedded data in the IFC model. In terms of proprietary Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) tools, there is still a gap as a few software solutions operate with open data formats such as COBie and IFC. As per today, coBuilder provide machine-readable data that can be easily integrated in any FM system via an API.

About coBuilder

coBuilder is digitising the construction industry. For over 20 years they have worked hard to employ technology and knowledge to provide the means of creating accurate interoperable product data.

Different platforms have different terminology for products. Different actors have different information requirements. Moreover, in many cases both clients, general contractors and FMs need data beyond COBie. Identifying this gap has made coBuilder’s information management business model a means for delivering the benefits of BIM in the built environment.

Recognising benefits such as coBuilder’s expertise in standardisation, IT integrity and  commitment to openBIM, Willmott Dixon have chosen to work with ProductXchange on projects such as the ‘National College for High Speed Rail’ as well as the ‘Schuster Annex – University of Manchester and Menai Science Park’.

Through coBuilder’s ‘Embedded Data’ services, Willmott Dixon were able to:

• Collect the asset data (COBie) and product information (O&M product PDFs) throughout the construction phase of the ‘National College for High Speed Rail’ project.

• Deliver an accurate and validated as-built COBie sheet based on the client’s data requirements

• Deliver a full repository of product-related PDFs in the O&M manual, in the required structure and embedded as-built product data, into open formats.

• Ensure that all stakeholders could benefit from accurate, paperless construction product data – ready to be transparently shared with anyone who might need it.

National College High Speed Rail - Doncaster Campus

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RICS BIM4SME Awards Winners Announced

Su Butcher writes about the third edition of the RICS BIM4SME Awards, as it happened last Tuesday 12th of September 2017.

Su Butcher Affiliate Member

Social Strategist

The third RICS BIM4SME Awards took place on Tuesday 12 September at HMS Belfast on the Thames. Attendance at the event was high with over 150 attendees from across the industry.

Stefan Mordue, co-author of Building Information Modelling for Dummies (2015) and BIM for Construction Health and Safety (2014) has compered the event since its inauguration in 2015 and swiftly brought the audience to heel by confirming he wouldn’t be publicising his books.

Keynote speaker Anne Kemp, chair of the UK BIM Alliance, has recently returned from Australia. She congratulated BIM4SME and the entire audience for getting together to bring about change in the industry. She also acknowledged the significant number of women in the room, unusual for a construction event, and encouraged women to take centre stage in the construction industry.

Anne spoke about the key role SMEs play as the powerhouse for the construction industry, where most innovation takes place. She encouraged the audience to promote the digital transformation agenda which BIM Level 2 will enable.

This year saw the number of entries to the joint RICS-BIM4SME sponsored awards exceed expectations, with many new entrants who haven’t entered projects before. Entrants were asked to provide evidence of process innovation and how they had used any part of the BIM process to make construction more efficient.

The BIM4SME Awards were founded in 2015 by BIM4SME, the group at the forefront of helping small and medium enterprises benefit from BIM. BIM4SME was one of the first BIM4 groups set up back in 2011.

The RICS BIM4SME Awards Winners

Best use of BIM for Construction Sequencing – WINNER, SISK / Lagan JV

The team worked on a Highways England project using 4D BIM to plan how a junction would be built. As well as managing construction sequencing, 4D BIM helps with buildability, detecting planning clashes and health & safety.

Best use of BIM for use of Embedded Data – WINNER, CoBuilder UK

CoBuilder demonstrated how a team from Willmott Dixon used manufacturers data in a model and managed international data standards to benefit the facilities management of the National College for High Speed Rail and a project the University of Manchester.

Best use of BIM for Health & Safety – WINNER, Freeform 3D Ltd

This project used 4D BIM and Virtual Reality to enable a user to investigate the model of a Multiplex site at Bishopsgate in the City of London for health and safety purposes.

Best use of BIM for Costings and Material Take-off – WINNER, Alinea Consulting Ltd

This well-managed retail project benefited from a good client relationship, and team management. The team set up all documentation according to BIM Level 2 standards, and following best practice for level of detail. This enabled the costing team to successfully extract data from the model for costings at various stages of the project.

Best Embedment of BIM into Contracts - WINNER, BIM Direct

BIM Direct have produced an app that helps you put together a good EIR. You can share the content with project stakeholders and they can see how the EIR evolves and can contribute. Roles and responsibilities, LOD and data exchange formats can be specified and precisely tuned. In addition, the app connects contractual arrangements into each EIR event.

Best Virtual Reality BIM - WINNER, The McAvoy Group Ltd

The McAvoy Group were BIM consultants and architects at West Hill School, where they used Virtual Reality to help the school understand the construction project.

Best use of BIM for Sustainability - WINNER, David Miller Architects

DMA used BIM to get benefits out of every aspect of this project to convert a group of listed barns to residential use. For the conservation and refurbishment of a group of historic barns – known as the Anstey Hall Barns - to provide eight luxury conversions and a further four new homes on the site in Cambridge.

Best use of BIM to enhance Model Coordination – WINNER, HLM Architects

HLM Architects used ArchiCAD, Revit, Navisworks and 4Projects to effectively manage the full federated modelling of a 38,000m2 office building in Cambridge, covering everything from structure and M&E to landscape and interior fit out.

Best BIM project for Subcontractor Engagement – WINNER, CPMG Architects

This award was given to CPMG’s work on the Discover Building, a cutting edge science research facility in Nottingham where they used BIM to successfully deliver a number of subcontractor packages including a bespoke, artist designed solar screen.

Best overall BIM Project – WINNER, Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon won the overall award for their work on the fit out of an 11 storey building for the Department of Health in Westminster, London. From the point cloud survey, the 5D quantities take off, the supply chain workshops to translation to the client’s CAFM at the end of the project and lessons learned, this is an example of best practice in all areas.

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