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The value of BIM to those in the built environment is growing at pace: supporting greater collaboration and providing a single source of coordination for all of those working to solve complex engineering problems in order to deliver efficiency and high-quality work
In support of the 2025 UK government targets to drastically reduce project delivery times, imported materials, project costs and greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, all public procured buildings must embrace BIM level 2 to improve project efficiency and value.
However, with a multiplicity of standards and protocols to adopt, it has long been thought that BIM is too costly to implement on smaller contracts. If your driving force is creating efficiency, why create extra regulatory hoops through which to jump?
However, Gregory Allouis, strategic solutions director, SPIE UK, believes that BIM should not be discounted out of hand on account of the contract size, “When it comes to considering whether a project would benefit from BIM, allowing size to be the only factor belies the true value that BIM technology can add.”
Allouis continues, “We all understand that BIM delivers when it comes to collaborating across services, ensuring that works take place in the most efficient sequence and allowing those on site to gain a better understanding of how their individual tasks contribute to the finished product.
“However, BIM can also deliver exceptional value when it comes to sites that are of a sensitive nature or currently in use. Here, the use of BIM technology can be crucial in maintaining the continued use of the facility at the greatest possible capacity and with the utmost safety whilst engineering work is ongoing.
“For example, SPIE was recently asked to replace systems critical to the running of [the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee], where it was very important that downtime was kept to a minimum.”
Allouis added: “With the plant that needed replacing within a rooftop plant room of a seven-story building, the works presented a significant engineering and logistical challenge. Through the use of 5D BIM practices, the team was able to plan each phase of the works from start to finish, demonstrating to the client how downtime would be kept to a minimum.
“Not only that, the 5D design approach allowed the works to be priced at a level of accuracy and speed that would not have been possible with 3D designs, due to the lack of insight into how the works would progress and the temporary infrastructure that was needed.
“Works such as these [at the University of Dundee] demonstrate why it is so important that the engineering profession takes full advantage of all that BIM offers. It also shows how, through the use of BIM, engineering companies can be more competitive in the market place, proving that BIM is as much a business tool as it is a design function.”
FERSA, which provides complete bearing solutions for the automotive industry worldwide, scooped the Industry 4.0 Award at a recent manufacturing event
After showcasing advanced technologies installed at their factory, including the iSCAN near real-time dashboards developed through the R&D project, STREAM-0D, FERSA was awarded the Industry 4.0 Award.
STREAM-0D is a European-wide research project which has the ambition to tackle one of the main challenges of the manufacturing industry: reaching a zero-defect production. As part of the STREAM-0D project, IES has been using a specially designed version of their iSCAN data management and interrogation tool at FERSA’s ball bearing production line to collect and automatically analyse data at 1-second resolution from across 129 sensors.
iSCAN (Intelligent Control and Analysis) is one of the tools belonging to IES’s new Intelligent Communities Lifecycle (ICL) platform – the new environmental digital twin for healthy and sustainable communities. iSCAN allows you to centralise any time-series data from different BMS systems, utility meters, sensors and portable data loggers in one platform.
The STREAM-0D version of iSCAN is an even more powerful variant of the software specifically developed for the manufacturing environment and its massive data generation demands. Delivering near real-time views of production performance from any location worldwide, FERSA showcased its capabilities live at the event in Mexico demonstrating how it was possible to keep track of production almost exactly as it was taking place, even when located the other side of the world.
FERSA has instrumentalised their lines heavily and invested in multiple sensors and data collection. But they needed a system that could deliver intelligent faults and alarms, and which allowed key staff to keep track of production even when they were away from the shop floor. The aim of the system is to catch and eliminate defects as they happen so that production waste is greatly reduced and quality assured.
The iSCAN dashboards, developed in close collaboration with FERSA, automatically take data from the sensors, and interrogate and analyse it almost simultaneously to plot 10 key metrics chosen by FERSA, such as temperature changes. When items are coming off the production line every 20 seconds you need to get the information as close to real-time as possible. Which is what is possible using the iSCAN platform and dashboards developed by IES for this STREAM-OD project.
FERSA is one of the pilot sites of STREAM-0D and was participating in the Sisamex Suppliers on 2 May 2019 when they won the Industry 4.0 Award as well as top 2018 component supplier. Going forward IES and FERSA plan to expand on the 10 metrics currently developed and add to the system so that it delivers even more power from the data available.
STREAM-0D aims at creating an innovative control system integrated in production lines. The solution uses multi-physics simulation models, fed with actual data from online measurements, to predict the product quality indicators in response to critical input parameters. Based on the model prediction, production can be adjusted to meet the exact design specifications. Therefore, STREAM-0D will reduce product variability, increase the line flexibility, and eventually achieve zero defect production.
Bentley’s BIM methodology provides an integrated solution to overcome hazardous topography
Rebuilding after a catastrophic landslide
Indonesia’s Homecoming Festival symbolises the end of Ramadan, and since the country contains the largest Muslim population in the world, the event is significant. Three months before this annual celebration, a catastrophic landslide affected the road between Bogor and Cianjur, worsening the already terrible traffic situation on West Java’s main thoroughfare. The Ministry of Public Works initiated a quick remediation response and retained PT. Wijaya Karya (WIKA) to resolve the devastating impact and prevent future landslide occurrences in the area. The $2.9m (~£2.3m) BIM project required WIKA to perform a feasibility study for effective landslide protection while initiating reconstruction and preventive measures on a 407-meter-long stretch of the roadway.
The project site presented several hazardous geological and environmental conditions because it is surrounded by steep, sloping terrain and is affected by heavy rainfall. In addition, the road is heavily travelled and offers a limited work zone. Therefore, the government imposed a tight five-month schedule to minimise traffic disruption and accommodate the timing of the festival. Faced with potentially dangerous and complicated site conditions and a short timeline, WIKA needed to perform design and construction tasks simultaneously. Recognising that a traditional design approach would fail to meet these challenges, WIKA implemented a digital strategy for data capture, design, and construction management, using Bentley’s integrated BIM and reality modelling applications.
Leveraging reality modelling
WIKA properly investigated the project site using unmanned aerial vehicles coupled with ContextCapture to capture images, perform ground extraction from the reality mesh, and produce a digital terrain model that provided an accurate representation of the existing site. The reality modelling software facilitated a digital survey of the 12.8-hectare area with clear visualisation to help with site security management and fieldwork optimisation. This survey methodology alleviated the risks associated with manual data acquisition amid the hazardous landscape.
Using the aerial drones and Bentley’s reality modelling application enabled the team to complete the entire data capture and digital terrain model of the existing site within one day compared to one week using conventional methods. WIKA maximised the captured and modelled site information, eliminating the need for on-site surveys, ensuring personnel safety, and optimising roadway design relative to the actual site.
Integrating Bentley’s interoperable BIM technology allowed WIKA to leverage data directly from the ContextCapture reality mesh to design a 3D model of the landslide protection elements within 10 days compared to one month using traditional modelling methods. The team identified the location of the nearby river and analysed constructability in real-time to reconfigure the pier design and determine a solution that avoided disturbing the natural river channel.
A connected data environment
WIKA established an open, connected data environment based on ProjectWise® that improved collaboration and streamlined workflows among stakeholders to reduce project design time by 30%. The integrated connected data environment accelerated information exchange to resolve typical data sharing and delivery issues among the multiple engineering disciplines and between the field and offices.
The team used ProjectWise to coordinate and manage files shared among multidiscipline teams, simplifying file sharing and design modification between the office and field engineering. Navigator allowed field engineers to review the 3D model and receive real-time updates and material quantities information as a result of design changes. The integrated project delivery platform facilitated better project coordination and accelerated reliable information exchange from field personnel to identify and resolve potential costly issues on-site. Working in a connected data environment, with cloud-based support through Bentley CDE design capabilities helped manage deliverables, capture field data, and share files. The dispersed team effectively collaborated and supported work processes to seamlessly progress and keep the project on schedule.
Digital design applications optimise efficiencies
Bentley’s integrated BIM technology provided WIKA with an effective digital solution that reduced project risks and difficulties during construction to achieve the tight reconstruction schedule. The team used PLAXIS® to analyse and report on geological conditions and perform structural calculations to ensure the reconstruction design was capable of withstanding future landslides. Based on those calculations, the team used OpenBuildings Designer (formerly AECOsim Building Designer), OpenRoads, and ProStructures to model the site, roadway corridor, and ancillary structures. OpenRoads helped optimise structural design and geometry of the roadway while OpenBuildings Designer facilitated production and management of 2D and 3D drawings as well as enabled construction sequencing and scheduling. The interoperability and automated capabilities of the applications provided accurate quantification of concrete volumes and material quantities to save 20% in construction costs.
Adopting a 3D building information modelling (BIM) approach using Bentley’s applications optimised efficiencies, enabling basic design for roadway reconstruction to be finished in approximately two-and-a-half months. The software allowed design and construction to occur simultaneously to accommodate the strict timeline and finish the temporary road construction five days prior to the festival. Providing a digitally integrated modelling environment, the design applications saved $660,000 in design costs, accelerated design and construction time by 30% to save three months, and improved overall quality by 95%.
Romi Ramadhan, BIM manager at WIKA, said: “With a digital approach, we can optimise costs, speed up the project schedule, and get an accurate design.
“Bentley’s BIM solution is the right one to face the challenges.”
Success drives future digitisation
Restoring and improving a devastated, landslide-impacted roadway that is part of the National Highway system of Indonesia and links two heavily populated areas was a monumental task for WIKA. Fulfilling the project within the strictly imposed, tight timeline demonstrates to the government that WIKA is capable of delivering extremely critical projects. Using a digital project delivery strategy for this project can provide future tangible benefits to the Indonesian government, extending digitisation to its asset maintenance and management. Apart from reducing traffic density, digitisation will provide a safer, more reliable roadway system, enhancing regional quality of life.
Implementing a digital approach using Bentley technology allowed the team to confidently and safely capture and model the necessary data and deliver a better project in a shorter time.
AECOM used Bentley applications to design the central contract tunnels and map out construction plans on the Thames Tideway Tunnel Central Project
Reducing sewage discharge events in the River Thames
Designed by Sir Joseph William Bazalgette in the late 1800s, the London sewerage system needed a significant upgrade. The system was originally designed for a population of 4 million people; today, the region’s population has doubled and continues to grow. The original system is no longer suitable given the increase in waste, and millions of tons of sewage are spilling into the River Thames’ tidal section annually.
With even slight rainfall triggering these sewage discharge events, the £4m Thames Tideway Tunnel project was developed under a European Union directive to reduce the events. There are approximately 50 events each year taking place along the river. The primary objective of this project is to alleviate pollution from the London sewerage system into the River Thames during periods of heavy rainfall. When completed, the Thames Tideway project will reduce sewage discharge occurrences to approximately four per year.
Managing a complex, multifaceted project, the Tideway project is divided into three contracts: east, central, and west. AECOM is the main designer on the central contract, which covers around 25 kilometres of tunnels and connecting tunnels between the towns of Acton and Abbey Mills in London. AECOM designs, builds, finances, and operates assets in more than 150 countries. With over 87,000 employees, it was ranked number one in transportation and general building in Engineering News-Record’s 2018 “Top 500 Design Firms.” For the Tideway project, AECOM worked with the main works contractor, Ferrovial Agroman and Laing O’Rourke Joint Venture (FLO) and implemented Bentley applications.
AECOM was tasked with providing an integrated, multi-discipline service that includes tunnels, marine engineering, hydraulics, and health and safety for the project. The central contract includes eight sites, each one complex enough to be its own project. Currently, in the construction phase, AECOM needed to create as-constructed information in a digital model to both share with all project participants and prepare for handover back to the client.
The project team faced numerous challenges, the most notable being the large number of people involved in the project. Each site had its own team and group of stakeholders that required access to information anytime and anywhere to make important decisions throughout the project’s lifecycle.
The large scale of the project’s marine construction works also posed issues. AECOM needed to create a new profile to the river walls, as well as solve design issues where large gas mains were present close to the existing walls. Gas service, as well as shipping services, had to be protected during construction and after the project’s completion.
Creating a connected data environment for project data
To keep everyone on the project informed and to avoid disturbing life in the surrounding area, AECOM used Bentley applications to design the central contract tunnels and map out construction plans. Bentley’s Connected Data Environment based on ProjectWise was used to host the project and facilitate access to data for all stakeholders for all eight sites. It also housed all construction models and drawings to simplify the handover process. Data for both temporary and permanent works were accessible to all project stakeholders for easier decision making.
ProjectWise also used AECOM to create a controlled and secure environment for all assets, using workflows, defined document coding, and managed workspaces. AECOM’s project team provided support to all project stakeholders, from simple user accounts to more detailed actions, such as access requirements. ProjectWise made it easy for the team to provide support during the project’s progression through the various workflows. With these established project standards, AECOM could ensure that all users were following the common standards, streamlining workflows, and keeping the project on time and on budget.
Developing design models
AECOM created a master design model for each site with OpenBuildings Designer (formerly AECOsim Building Designer) and MicroStation. The model comprised all disciplines and was viewable by all project stakeholders at any time. AECOM updated the iModels on a weekly and monthly basis, housing them in ProjectWise so that they were viewable to all stakeholders on the contract. As the iModels were updated regularly, the stakeholders could see the development of each site as it progressed, allowing for decision making based on a progressive design.
OpenBuildings Designer also helped with the health and safety of the project. The team used the Bentley application for preconstruction work, allowing the design team to view all areas of the facility. This practice ensured that maintenance workers would always be visible during their inspections, improving safety on the site. Navigator’s clash detection capabilities also helped with project safety, allowing the design and modelling teams to fix any clashes before construction to streamline the project timeline.
Additionally, AECOM used ContextCapture to produce test models of specific sites, using point cloud data and simple camera shots along the shore. The project team wanted to see what the application was capable of and how it could benefit the project moving forward. Creating a 3D reality mesh, the team could highlight different areas relating to the river wall and any construction issues. The reality mesh provided AECOM with a high level of information during the design stage, as well as a visual that helped indicate where problem areas could occur.
Analysing and maintaining master models
FLO, the main works contractor, also used Bentley applications. FLO’s project team created and managed the context master model, which was used for health and safety to ensure that there were no critical issues during the construction stage. Bentley’s Pointools helped FLO view and analyse data from sewer survey point clouds. These capabilities helped the contractor assess where existing assets were located before beginning the project’s design. FLO could avoid any major assets, saving time and cost during the design and construction processes. Lastly, FLO used LumenRT to create site models and temporary works. The application helped stakeholders understand the logistics of each site, further helping them make decisions and visualise the project sites.
Accessing documents anytime, anywhere
ProjectWise saves time by providing all-access to information wherever stakeholders are located. Currently, there are more than 1,100 users in the ProjectWise system, including more than 40 stakeholders. As of October 2018, there were over 190,000 documents created in the central repository, with over 4,500 drawings and 1,500 models. These users share information through defined workflows between all participants with access to the data 24/7 every day of the year. Using ProjectWise, the project team took what would have been a logistical nightmare, filled with document control and version issues, and remedied the situation, while also reducing labour management costs. Currently, in the construction phase, the central contract of the Tideway project is on schedule to be completed in 2022.
Barry Jones, associate director – BIM manager, AECOM, said: “Bentley’s ProjectWise provided the controlled environment in which to build a virtual representation of the assets of eight individual sites, comprising multiple disciplines.
“We could produce more than 140,000 documents from more than 40 stakeholders, consisting of more than 1,000 users in a coordinated fashion through the design phase and into construction and as-constructed in preparation for a hand back to the client.”
Organisation – AECOM
Solution – Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Networks
Location – London, United Kingdom
To create as-constructed information in a digital model shareable with project participants.
To prepare the project for handover back to the client.
The government has proposed to make BIM processes mandatory on high-rise residential projects over 18 metres, as it sets out stricter measures to improve safety
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) outlined its proposals in a consultation on a new regulatory framework to implement the recommendations set out in the Hackitt Review.
“Whilst we do not plan to mandate that particular software is used to store information as part of the golden thread, we may choose to mandate that the golden thread of building information complies with building information modelling (BIM) standards,” says the consultation document.
The consultation document said: “We propose that the information and data required must be stored in a digital format (stored and accessed through a computer or other electronic device) and have particular characteristics, which the government will define in more detail through guidance.
“Whilst we do not plan to mandate that particular software is used to store information as part of the golden thread, we may choose to mandate that the golden thread of building information complies with Building Information Modelling (BIM) standards.
“We will consider, following responses to the consultation, what, if any, further guidance would be necessary beyond referring to the BIM standards.”
The 192-page consultation vows to offer “robust” reform.
The government believes that a golden thread of accurate and up-to-date information about the design, construction and ongoing maintenance of residential buildings in scope, in line with the recommendations in the Independent Review, is necessary to support building safety.
The document added: “We have modelled costs for meeting the golden thread requirements during design and construction that do not already use Building Information Modelling (BIM) level 2 and a Common Data Environment (CDE). For affected 18 metres 124 and above residential buildings we expect the unit cost of digitalising information to be £42,000-£64,000.”
After Dr Don McLean’s recent trip to the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) campus, IES has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UTAR to use the ICL technology to develop a sustainable campus
The signed Memorandum between the two parties is based on research collaboration through knowledge exchange and grant applications. In addition, IES staff and researchers are invited to be guest lecturers at the university, while the university’s students will have the opportunity to undergo internships at IES.
Speaking about the agreement, Sriman NCVK, head of VE sales, said: “Schools and in particular, universities, are the perfect platform to demonstrate society’s ability to go green.
“Perak has almost 12 campuses with lakes and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman is one of them. Therefore, being able to work with these institutions to build smart campuses is very encouraging and exciting.”
In addition to the new agreement, UTAR president – Ir. Prof. Academician Dato’ Dr. Chuah Hean Teik announced that the IES Virtual Environment software will be implemented in the teaching syllabus in UTAR’s Faculty of Engineering and Science, ensuring that future graduates are fully equipped in their roles in sustainability and can succeed in the fight against climate change.
UTAR is currently engaged with 330 international partners from 23 economies. It is committed to providing quality but affordable education, in order to break the vicious cycle of Poverty. Their collaboration with IES allows the university’s researchers and students to learn and engage in the sustainable campus design of both buildings and the larger scale built environment – communities, campuses, and cities.
This year IES launched the ICL (Intelligent Communities Lifecycle): new cutting-edge digital twin technology that connects distributed energy networks, renewables, master plans, building design, operation and retrofit
The ICL technology is a platform of interconnected decision support tools that facilitate the planning, design and operation of energy efficient and sustainable communities of any size and purpose, whether that be a company, campus, city or country.
IES has just announced dates for a number of in-depth webinars covering the capabilities and key features of each of the ICL tools. The webinars will be held at different times throughout each date to accommodate an international audience.
Read on to find out more about the ICL tools, and how to sign up for the free web demos.
Climate ready masterplanning for campuses, cities and communities
Consider a masterplan… There are 50-70 buildings, a mix of existing and new build, but you can’t get quick feedback on sustainability criteria. You need better collaboration within your team, you are unable to quickly create energy models of all the buildings and there is an overwhelming amount of data all held in different tools.
This is where Intelligent Community Design (iCD) comes in – using the latest digital twin technology, iCD makes it possible to undertake sustainable masterplanning right from the earliest project stages, even when data is sparse or non-existent. Providing analysis which is completely scalable from a simple campus, to a wider community or city.
Whether it’s a new or existing development the iCD model can analyse and monitor how the community may evolve over time. Users can track the impact of changes on key environmental metrics such as solar/PV potential, walkability from transport hubs, impact on resource consumption and building EUIs.
Sign up for an iCD webinar on the 25/26 June via the links below:
The Intelligent Virtual Network (iVN) provides the ability to model, compare and optimise the integrated design and management across electricity, heating, cooling and waste heat networks. Users can identify potential for energy trading, reduce energy bills locally and reduce carbon emissions across their community.
Sign up for an iVN webinar on the 2/3 July via the links below:
Cut through the clutter and confusion of building data
For those involved in the energy management of a building or group of buildings, understanding the data collected can be a minefield. There are many different sources, formats, time series, as well as different platforms & logins. This often leads to mismanagement of data, failure to detect issues and lack of clarity across data.
iSCAN’s (intelligent Control and Analysis) power is its ability to centralise a range of time-series data from different BMS systems, utility meters, sensors and portable data loggers in one platform. Users can organise and analyse this data to gain hidden insights to improve their building or portfolio operation. As well as, create bespoke cross-platform alerts, and connect to a 3D virtual twin for real-time optimisation and ‘what if’ testing of improvement options.
Sign up for an iSCAN webinar on the 9/10 July via the links below:
More and more transport infrastructure is being built below ground. 3D VR can help to ensure tunnel systems and stations are properly ventilated and can be safely evacuated in an emergency
Tunnels and underground rely on technology to provide appropriate environmental conditions for the people using them. Ventilation systems supply fresh air and remove exhaust gases. In emergencies, people need to be able to get out of danger zones. This requires not only emergency guidance systems but also a design that facilitates airflow to leave a clear zone under the smoke in which to breathe and find escape routes.
“The ventilation design of tunnel systems or a station building is extremely complex,” says Erwin Schnell, project manager at Swiss-based international consulting engineering firm HBI Haerter.
“It cannot be verified and improved using a prototype but needs to be right the first time, so it requires simulation using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).”
Schnell is an experienced engineer specialising in fire and smoke simulations who first commenced numerical simulation as early as 1989 in the fields of aerospace and automotive engineering, taking advantage of virtual immersive engineering in 1998 and pushing the adoption of augmented reality in 2013.
With 40 experts and more than 800 successfully completed reference projects, HBI Haerter, which in addition to its offices in Switzerland has locations in Germany and Australia, is recognised as a leading international consultant in tunnel ventilation design.
To calculate airflows induced by traffic or ventilation and smoke dispersion in tunnel systems and train stations, the firm’s simulation engineers use Simcenter STAR-CCM+ software from Siemens PLM Software.
This package is centred on CFD to solve and analyse problems that involve fluid flows by successive approximation using numerical analysis and data structures. It is based on the finite volume method for representing and evaluating Navier–Stokes equations that describe the motion of viscous fluid substances. This is also termed computational continuum mechanics, or CCM.
“The entire flow field is represented by an adequate number of simply connected volume volumetric elements, which are generated within a process called spatial discretisation or simply meshing,” says Schnell.
“Velocities and scalar quantities such as temperature or smoke concentration are calculated within each individual element.”
To cope with variations in the quality and format of clients’ geometry data created in different computer-aided design tools, it is also designed to support various formats for importing 3D solids from all relevant CAD software systems. A built-in, 3D feature-based CAD modeller allows for creating and modifying geometries directly within the software.
“This provides us with opportunities to successively optimise geometries by setting different parameters. As the software is capable of iterating through parameter lists, it makes investigating the effects of design variations an extremely efficient task,” says Schnell.
“In emergency situation modelling for underground train station design, we integrate a heat source, ventilation systems, the aerodynamics of moving trains and the effects of people on the platform with the funnelling geometry of the architecture.
“With an overset mesh that allows for creating hierarchic simulation scenarios, Simcenter STAR-CCM+ enables us to combine independent aspects into truly comprehensive multi-physics simulations.”
These multi-physics simulations can bring incredible realism and detail to bear and using virtual reality headsets, this can be harnessed to allow users to “dive in” to, for example, verify an escape route in the event of a fire.
“Users can release massless particles to visualise the flow field, as well as the relevant smoke and temperature layers at platform level,” says Schnell.
“In complete safety, they can walk to the exits nearby and determine whether escape routes are smoke-free.”
One of the benefits is that in a VR simulation, fire experts are able to analyse vulnerabilities in places that would not be accessible in real life or in traditional documentation.
Early last year, Schnell began negotiating with insurance companies and government authorities with a view to them eventually approving construction based on numerical verification supplied in the form of tours through smoke-contaminated buildings in VR.
Handheld scanners have allowed a site team to deliver as-built representations of an art deco skyscraper in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, four times faster than traditional methods
Location: Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Project team: Paragram Architecture &
Consulting, Criar Projetos E Consultoria.
Almost every complex building or renovation project is subject to strict time constraints. A major upgrade to a 130-metre art deco skyscraper in Brazil was no exception. Located in Belo Horizonte, the country’s sixth-largest city and the capital of the south-eastern Minas Gerais state, the Acaiaca Building dates back to 1943 – and was built with an air raid shelter.
The art deco-inspired design by architect Luiz Pinto Coelho features two huge carvings in honour of the tribe from which the building takes its name, based on legends of the tribe’s great strength and power. Over the years, the Acaiaca Building has been used as a nightclub, cinema and shops but today houses offices and a church.
Belo Horizonte-based Paragram Architecture & Consulting combines architecture, IT and project management with BIM processes. Ahead of a retrofit of the building’s electrical installations and fire prevention plan, the firm was commissioned to produce as-built architectural 3D drawings of the 32-floor structure.
Working alongside contractor Criar Projetos E Consultoria, Paragram opted to use GeoSLAM’s ZEB-REVO, a lightweight mobile mapping device that can be operated simply by walking around.
Paragram initially planned to measure the 8,357 sq m building using manual survey methods – a task that would have taken a team of three employees more than 40 hours to complete.
Despite the scale of the project, the survey team was ready to use laser tape and paper to document the as-built structure but switched the handheld scanning method. Powered by SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) technology, it can rapidly generate images to within a few centimetres of accuracy, even indoors where there is no GPS.
This approach could significantly reduce the projected 40 hours to less than 20 minutes to survey each floor, or around 10 hours in total.
Off the ground
When the project got underway, the handheld scanner was programmed to achieve the maximum consecutive levels in under 20 minutes, with minimal overlap between each shot.
The team used the hallway of the stairs and elevator for the starting point of each scan, which provided a clear reference to align the point clouds.
It took two operatives just 10 hours to complete a scan of the building’s interior, with one handheld scanning and the other taking a photographic record.
As well as delivering on speed, the project team was impressed by the accuracy and ease-of-use of the ZEB-REVO.
Jose Vargas, BIM technology consultant at Paragram Architecture & Consulting, said: “We were able to gather much more information than first anticipated, such as the registration of beams, roof trusses and other structures, as well as a detailed survey of exposed electrical installations and engine rooms in areas that would have been very difficult – not to mention time-consuming – to access.
“What really stood out was the quality of information captured, which was easily incorporated into a BIM representation using Revit software.
“The device was really easy to handle and it was remarkable how much detail we were able to capture in the point clouds. It enabled us to achieve a level of accuracy that would have been impossible using manual surveying techniques.”
Futureproofing the Acaiaca Building
The distinctive style of the Acaiaca Building, famous for its carved figures on the side, has made it a much-loved part of Belo Horizonte’s skyline.
All heritage buildings need to undergo modernisation work during their lifecycle to preserve them for generations to come and for the Acaiaca Building, this is an example of how an asset can evolve to meet the demands of current and future users when owners are prepared to make the necessary investments.
Copenhagen Airport created BIM process standards for existing building projects, beating its savings target and opening the door for other organisations to benefit, Bentley’s Chintana Herrin takes a look
Copenhagen Airport wanted to implement Building Information Modelling (BIM) processes on its upcoming projects to prove that utilising BIM methodologies would be a beneficial investment. Most of the airport’s projects are the operation, maintenance and refurbishment of existing buildings, but the airport still wanted to see the benefits of BIM workflows.
The DKK 10m (£1.1m) initiative included producing information-rich 3D models of the facilities based on a combination of 2D drawings, surveys and field inspections. The project also called for creating BIM process standards, including specification of a level of detail (LOD) for new building projects.
Implementing a BIM process
The project team wanted to prove that using BIM processes throughout the project would benefit the building owner by saving costs. According to a 2012 report from the Danish Technical University, building owners who implemented a BIM process achieved a cost savings of approximately 12%. To prove that they could also achieve savings, team members set a goal to save at least 4% of the entire project’s budget, as their BIM processes would not be as mature as others in the study.
The main challenge for the Copenhagen Airport project team was that BIM processes in Denmark were not well established. To overcome this challenge, the organisation collaborated with different companies to hear other views on the best way to implement BIM methodologies. By speaking with these different organisations, the project team produced a standard for future BIM process creation that would help them and other Danish organisations prepare for and benefit from BIM adoption.
To create an effective model, Copenhagen Airport looked at existing LOD definitions to create their models, making sure to include the right amount of information to benefit both operators and consultants. Many of the existing definitions lacked the idea that much information can be obtained with data on less detailed objects. The project team decided to include graphical and non-graphical information in the definitions, with more non-graphical information than seen in other standards.
The team created a 3D model that included the important information from the 2D drawings, which they used as a baseline. Engineers also visited the sites and added any 2D information that was missed or incorrect. The team adopted their new BIM processes on this model, including the parameters on all surveyed objects. Additionally, all project participants were taught how to accurately use the model to gather information.
Saving time and improving collaboration
By using Bentley applications to help create a 3D model and an innovative BIM process, Copenhagen Airport’s project team saw significant time savings. The team quickly extracted heights with MicroStation’s ability to handle large point clouds, even when the surveyor was not present on the construction site. Users also joined IFC and DGN files, which helped execute the project faster because all the original 2D drawings were in DGN format. Furthermore, there was greater quality control over the information because the 2D data was included in the 3D models.
The team used ProjectWise to house all relevant information, including the 2D data, which helped users easily find information. Previously, team members would have spent unnecessary time searching through thousands of documents.
Bentley applications also helped improve collaboration with stakeholders, creating a web platform to exchange information and invite external people to participate in collision and consistency control. With weekly updates, everyone involved in the project knew what was happening and could easily access the necessary information. Bentley’s applications made it easy to manage contributions from all involved parties while still working to coordinate systems issues.
Realising benefits, preparing for future projects
By incorporating BIM processes for all projects at Copenhagen Airport, the project team used the model to extract quantities for the contractors, which reduced the risk, and thereby the bidding.
Together with detecting and correcting unhandled collisions before completion, the team could calculate the benefits. The organisation calculated the difference between using the BIM process and not, and realised a benefit of 4.46% cost savings – beating its target of 4%. This proved the effectiveness of a BIM process and provided a mandate to continue using the process for all projects.
The surrounding community will also see the benefits of Copenhagen Airport’s project, providing insight into how Denmark might use BIM processes for future endeavours – especially since Copenhagen Airport is one of the largest building sites in Denmark. Therefore, if the airport could realise major benefits, then other organisations would realise the benefits as well.
The airport set a goal in actively contributing to helping other large building owners mature their BIM processes and increase their level of implementation.