BIM is bringing construction into the digital age – creating opportunities for waste management innovation across all sectors according to research by skips and hire company Reconomy
Building Information Modelling (BIM) uses computer modelling to plan, design, construct and manage buildings through collaborative working. It offers exciting new opportunities for waste management innovation, but adopting it requires substantial changes to working practices and culture. Acknowledging this, the UK government has split BIM adoption into three more manageable milestones, known as compliance levels, which NBS broadly defines as:
• Level 1: A mix of 3D and 2D computer-aided design (CAD) work using set standards. Data is shared electronically using a Common Data Environment (CDE).
• Level 2: This adds aspects of collaborative working. Common file formats allow different parties to share and combine data for modelling.
• Level 3: The eventual goal of full collaboration, using a single, shared project model.
A few companies have now achieved BIM Level 2 compliance specifically to bid for public sector work, but it’s already clear that BIM is a valuable waste management innovation for all sectors:
New solutions for landfill diversion
Balfour Beatty achieved Level 2 compliance in March 2016 but has already used BIM on a number of high profile projects including the widening of the M25 and the refurbishment of Terminal 2 at London’s Heathrow Airport. As well as making a substantial investment in BIM technology, Balfour Beatty set up a BIM Centre of Excellence which trained more than 200 staff through a structured, competency-based programme.
The Terminal 2 project would have exported a significant amount of material to landfill. Instead, BIM was brought in as a waste management innovation, which meant that over 450,000m3 of London Clay was used to remediate a local non-operational landfill site, and a large quantity of gravel and concrete was reused on-site under aircraft stands and taxiways.
Balfour Beatty envisages that BIM will help the business make intelligent decisions that unlock new efficiencies in the supply chain, ultimately giving the company a competitive advantage.
Modelling to avoid waste
Consultancy and construction company, Mace, also achieved Level 2 compliance earlier this year and is now working with Nottingham Trent University to research BIM and develop skills within the industry. The Mace Business School even offers BIM qualifications for suppliers.
Mace used BIM during the second phase of the £600 million redevelopment of Birmingham New Street Station. Sustainability was a major focus, and a key achievement of the project was reusing nearly all of the 13,500 tonnes of concrete that were demolished as part of the build.
Paul Dalton, Senior Project Manager at Mace, told Rail Technology Magazine that one of the most valuable aspects of BIM was the way it allowed them to quickly model and test different ways of working, essentially providing a way of experimenting in a safe environment. This helped to drive lean construction and avoid waste during the project.
Mace believes the ability to harness technology and adopt modern methods of construction will improve efficiency on all projects.
Integrating Facilities Management
Interserve’s BIM strategy was endorsed at board level. Policies and procedures were put in place but, most importantly, the company implemented a cultural shift towards a more open and collaborative working environment. Interserve ran internal BIM awards to highlight good practice and launched training plans to up skill suppliers.
Interserve was the first contractor to achieve Level 2 compliance, and its early adopter BIM projects have been widely recognised in the industry. One project used BIM to integrate construction with ongoing facilities management from the start of the project which led to:
• Design efficiencies
• Reduced wastage in design materials and on-site production
• Greater benefits for asset management, operation and on-going maintenance of the facilities
• A better client relationship from improved information sharing.
Interserve plans to embed BIM into the heart of its operations in a bid to develop a more ‘scientific’ approach.
Early adopters deliver projects faster
Architects AHR recognised the potential of BIM back in 2007 and invested heavily in software, training and resources. In 2016, AHR became the first architecture-led practice in the UK to achieve Level 2 compliance.
Using BIM was essential in their design and delivery of the new headquarters of Blackpool Council, which had to be completed in just 90 days. The successful completion of the project within this ambitious deadline was one example of the many ways that BIM can be leveraged to drive efficiency and elimination of waste in the construction sector.
BIM allows everyone to visualise each stage of the build and make the best use of information. Modelling materials reduce over-ordering or highlight design tweaks that will save money. Scenario modelling identifies clashes, avoids mistakes and reduces remedial work. Projects can be delivered faster by finding the most efficient way of working. BIM also improves sustainability in construction by considering the whole lifetime cost of the building from the very beginning, and that includes the reduction and reuse of waste throughout the build.
1. There are 3 Levels of BIM compliance, and achieving Level 2 requires extensive training and a collaborative working approach.
2. Some contractors who have achieved Level 2 BIM compliance are actively training their suppliers and subcontractors to embed BIM across all projects.
3. BIM has already driven waste management innovation on some high-profile redevelopments such as Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 2 and Birmingham New Street Station.
4. BIM can improve efficiency and reduce waste by using information to make better decisions. Modelling different scenarios allows you to test different approaches before arriving on-site.
5. Some of the benefits of BIM in waste management include reduced waste in design and production, better on-site collaboration and new opportunities to improve sustainability.