Excitech guides GNA to BIM Level 2 accreditation

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Consultancy company Excitech helps lay the foundations for Glancy Nicholls Architects to gain its BIM Level 2 accreditation

The two organisations had long had BIM Level 2 accreditation in their sights for GNA.

Created by Lyndon Glancy and Patrick Nicholls in June 2004, Glancy Nicholls Architects (GNA) Ltd is a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Chartered Practice.

GNA is involved in high profile public and private sector developments, working with many repeat clients, including blue-chip organisations.

GNA has developed a strong reputation in various sectors, including education, Build to Rent, commercial, industrial/logistics, residential/social care, master planning and heritage.

GNA and Excitech have had a close working relationship over the last ten years.

Examples of the innovations that Excitech has helped the practice benefit from including a robust strategy and solution to drive constant skills improvement within the practice, and the introduction of game-changing ways to portray conceptual ideas visually, with SketchUp.

GNA and Excitech had long had BIM Level 2 accreditation in their sights for GNA. As a strategic partner, Excitech had already been laying the foundations for GNA when it migrated to Revit in 2011 around the time that the notion of BIM, as a mandatory requirement on government-sponsored projects by 2016, was first announced.

When the time came to go for BIM Level 2 accreditation, whilst much of the groundwork had been done, there was still refinement, recalibration and tightening up of internal processes to take place. Firstly, GNA had to make the decision as to what type of BIM Level 2 official recognition would be more appropriate…

The goal: BIM Level 2 accreditation

Certification or accreditation?

Neil Carter is GNA’s BIM Lead, and has been working in the architectural and construction sectors for almost 40 years. His remit is to develop GNA’s use of technology and ensure that the practice stays at the cutting edge of processes designed to improve efficiency, clarity, and productivity, along with compliance to industry and associated standards.

Carter said: “We wanted an acknowledged BIM culture to pervade our organisation, enabling us to demonstrate diligence in every area of detail and quality assurance important to our clients and critical to project success.”

His decision to go for accreditation with Lloyd’s Register was the pedigree of the organisation. The Lloyd’s Register (LR) Group, was established in 1760. The LR Scheme for BIM accreditation was the first one of its type developed in the UK. It reviews business areas such as human resources, risk management, supply chain capability and performance monitoring, as well as compliance to the BIM Level 2 standards.

The process: The gap analysis

Identifying the essential changes, and making them

Excitech consultants spent two days with Carter, and GNA’s director and associate director of quality assurance, working step-by-step through more than 100 questions involved in the BIM Level 2 accreditation assessment. This ‘pre-assessment test’ took the form of a gap analysis, designed to identify areas of nonconformity, major and/or minor.

“The Excitech team delved into every area of our operations and procedures. In a word, they were brilliant.

“The experience they bring to the process is not just impressive, it’s educational. We learned a lot about things we genuinely believed we knew pretty much all there was to know,” says Carter.

One of LR’s requirements is for the candidate organisation to provide a live example for assessment of implementation on a project. GNA presented a current £250m project for which Lloyd’s Register evaluated the EIR, the BEP, and Master Information Delivery Plan (MIDP; covering models, drawings or renditions, specifications, equipment schedules, and room data sheets) and the Task Information Delivery Plan (TIDP; identifying the allocation of task resources).

As areas for improvement were identified through the gap analysis, GNA was able to refine them to ensure alignment with expectations and, therefore, recognised best practice.

The outcome

Carter explained: “The whole accreditation process in itself was hugely beneficial for GNA.

“Gaining the accreditation is reassuring for us and a well understood and acknowledged validation of our competence and credibility for clients, and the journey that got us there was valuable. It increased our awareness of the interrelationship between processes that may before have seemed only tangentially related. More robust processes make a better-quality product.”

In terms of more robust processes, he points to the rigour that GNA can now apply when it comes to assessing the BIM competency of external consultants used on projects, and across the supply chain, using Supplier BIM Resource Assessment forms during the procurement process.

In the same way that GNA had been running ahead of the curve back in 2011, it continues a fast-paced approach to new technologies. For some time, they have been investigating the use of Virtual Reality headsets to immerse non-architect stakeholders into the vision of a project – highlighting areas where clients and senior directors can now understand the totality of a project far easier and ask questions on a far more informed basis; having seen the architects’ intentions.

GNA also host projects in the cloud to facilitate progress between the GNA team and its many specialist sub-consultants (MEP, structural, surveying and so on). They now look to combine the two – to share a real-time vision in the cloud.

“We have no intention of moving to the next stage alone,” says Carter.

“Expertise from Excitech professionals will be strategic in helping us make the right choices.”

Glancy Nicholls Architects is now one of less than 15 Architects nationwide to have achieved full Lloyd’s Register BIM Level 2 accreditation.

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