BIM brings product designs to life in a way that enables clients to best visualise how finished solutions will work and deliver the greatest benefit to customers. Using modelling software we can experience designs in a much more realistic way, with feedback incorporated at the earliest possible stage. BIM models are now increasingly used for community engagement and in promotional materials too.
We are continually finding new opportunities to improve our modelling capabilities. Using aerial and laser scanning, we can build accurate models of entire sites. We have created visualisations that communicate a project’s greater context, from topography and surrounding infrastructure to access points.
At our commercial office development, 66 Queen Square in Bristol, for example, we were able to demonstrate how the proposed design would integrate spatially and visually with the surrounding Grade II listed Georgian buildings helping with planning consents. As part of this project we’ve refurbished one of the listed buildings. The model, developed using Autodesk Revit and Navisworks Manage, included every rafter, joist and strengthening beam, all of which were colour coded depending on their condition and restoration requirements.
3D models provide the best opportunity to determine potential flaws, identify clashes and ensure that when built the product is right first time. This avoids much more costly and time consuming changes when the project is complete, while also optimising maintenance solutions.
3D models linked to the construction programme assist us in developing responsive, considered schedules that put us in the best position to deliver projects on time. Gantt charts and other traditional tools are valuable for understanding what needs to be completed, but visualisations that include temporary works, plant and equipment can help us to better structure work packages, manage logistics and set up plant. The model can immediately respond to changes to the design or schedule, with any subsequent impact on the sequencing or phasing clearly identified.
Laser scanning can be used to capture how construction is progressing, while identifying any variations. At the Limmo Peninsula Crossrail site, our piling and foundations business, Cementation Skanska, created an as-built model of the diaphragm wall shaft using laser scanning. This was integrated with the design model and used to make comparisons at various depths to ensure that tolerances had been met.
Managing people and resources
We are consistently looking for innovative solutions to improve productivity. For our roads and highways business, for example, we have developed an application which advises employees of their work package for the day, before they leave home. Given the distance that some people travel in looking after hundreds of miles of major infrastructure, eliminating the need to check in at site offices each day can lead to significant cost and carbon savings.
We are also using BIM for:
Documenting sign off sheets and snagging reports on handheld devices. This is sent back to the common data environment where information is held in a central cloud based system.
Accurate cost estimating once designs are completed. Our commercial teams can contribute cost data – for materials, installation, running and maintenance costs – as the design is realised. Integrating cost information with the model allows us to provide clients with a project budget that is clearly linked to construction phases and activities.