Fostering collaboration

Unifying technical data may be BIM’s most celebrated feature for some, but for Tim Checketts of Assa Abloy its major benefit is interdisciplinary collaboration.

Digital technology has become instrumental to maximising productivity in the construction industry, but often the focus is placed firmly on the technological advancements rather than the resultant benefits of the cross-sector collaboration. For instance, Building Information Modelling, or BIM, is a process that reduces waste and chance of error and facilitates the sharing of detailed information throughout the various phases of a project.

Unlike traditional methodologies, which require submission of numerous deliverables in different formats, BIM streamlines this process and minimises the risk of mistakes or missing information.

BIM also enables architects and contractors to be continually involved in the decision-making, particularly when design and performance information is shared with operational managers, thus helping to avoid any as-designed and as-built performance gaps.

Improved access to information

BIM fosters collaboration, which is essential to designing the correct performance of each building element throughout its life cycle.

For example, by using BIM-ready tools architects and specifiers can create solutions that complement aesthetics, increase
energy efficiency and optimise security. Each BIM object has comprehensive information on everything from a U-values, material specifications and dimensions through to pricing and quantities.

Contractors can then view all this information to assess precise quantities, pricing and supplier options as well as installation instructions. In addition, contractors can also track the status of installations across the project much more effectively.

Such tools ensure that post-construction processes, such as environmental accreditations and handovers to facilities managers, are managed effectively. Moreover, the ongoing performance and maintenance of the building may also be monitored.

BIM in practice

One example of a company which uses BIM to streamline processes is One Creative. Located in Worcester, this integrated building design business features a multi-disciplinary team comprising archi- tects, masterplanners, structural and civil engineers, building services specialists and interior designers. Taking a collaborative approach and working in partnership with its clients, the firm’s architects are at the forefront of BIM.

As early adopters of BIM, they operate within a fully integrated BIM workflow, resulting in a unified approach to building design.

Projects of every size can be completed within a BIM workflow, allowing for interdisciplinary working to BIM Level 2. All elements of the design and build process operate within the same protocols and software, avoiding model ownership issues and contributing to a streamlined project delivery.

One Creative believes that full BIM integration is the future of intelligent building design, and this drives their creative output. Previously, the company used their own in-house models to detail specialist areas such as door and window scheduling or ironmongery, in 2D. However, they are now using a BIM-enabled product specification software suite that streamlines collaboration and information sharing.

The software ensures all stakeholders have real-time access to doors and ironmongery specification data, providing complete doorsets that meet projects’ needs. Jason Whitall, director at One Creative, explains:

“Once has been shared, other specialists can instantly feed back on a project’s development and respond with updates and suggestions. This collaborative approach makes the whole process far more transparent and productive.”

BIM fosters collaboration, and tools that can be utilised across the supply chain, add considerable value to any project and encourage investment, innovation and growth throughout the industry.

Tim Checketts is specification director at Assa Abloy UK