Complex structure benefits from BIM

One Smithfield Square, benefits of BIM,

How BIM has shaped One Smithfield Square, Manchester

The benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) have been exploited to the full in the design and construction of a striking and complex multi-storey, mixed-use building at the One Smithfield Square regeneration project in the heart of Manchester.

The structure required a distinct blend of technical, design and manufacturing expertise to deliver a value-engineered steel framing solution, with cold rolled steel specialist Metsec responding to the design challenge.

Using BIM, Metsec developed a cold rolled steel framing solution that helped to significantly reduce waste and cost for the main contractor.

Located in the heart of the former Smithfield market in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, One Smithfield Square provides 77 one-, two- and three-bedroomed residences for private sale, together with approximately 590m2 of ground-floor retail space and underground parking, covering a total of nearly 3,490 m2.

This latest phase, worth £10.75m, has been constructed by Galliford Try and is the sixth phase of the award-winning Smithfield regeneration scheme, delivered by Ician Developments, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Muse Developments, in partnership with Manchester City Council.

Unlike conventional mixed-use buildings, the box-style architecture of the interconnected four-storey and nine-storey Smithfield buildings required a specialist structural design. The facades feature cantilevered square and rectangular elements, with all-round balconies providing a contemporary irregular façade on all sides.

Metsec won the supply chain contract with Galliford Try to deliver a value-engineered steel framing system (SFS), as it was the only manufacturer capable of providing a high-performance, yet cost-efficient, technical solution. The company’s in-house design and engineering capabilities, combined with market-leading BIM expertise, provided added assurance to the design and construction team.

One Smithfield Square, benefits of BIM,While the original plans for the One Smithfield Square project relied on hot-rolled steel framing, Metsec developed a zero-waste cold-rolled steel framing system, capitalising on its experience in designing and manufacturing cost-effective light-gauge galvanised steel solutions.

Sean Merriman, design co-ordinator at Galliford Try, said: “We wanted a supplier who could offer a value-engineered solution and had the experience of working within BIM.

“Metsec’s designers supported the process by producing a 3D model of the SFS that could be incorporated effortlessly into the master model. It showed that small changes, especially around the balconies and bay windows, where hot-rolled steel elements were replaced with cold-rolled steel, could go a long way in reducing the amount of material used.”

Crucially, the application of BIM successfully removed 25% of the amount of steel used in the One Smithfield Square building, helping to reduce the structure’s weight and delivering savings on overall construction costs.

Ryan Simmonds, sales director for framing at Metsec, explains: “We reviewed the model that had been developed by Galliford Try’s design team, highlighting key areas for a value-engineered design. Hot-rolled steel sections could then be evaluated individually and replaced with more economical cold-rolled steel members. Ultimately, our design team developed a high-performance solution that makes optimal use of cold-rolled steel.

“The beauty of BIM is that it helps us to understand the building requirements right away and to identify potential shortcomings at an early stage. This multi-dimensional resource is understood throughout the industry and allows the entire design and construction team to work off the same base throughout the project.

“Where there is no model provided by the contractor, we have the capability to develop one in-house to aid the design and detailing process. Not least, model-sharing fosters real collaboration, which I believe will gain more importance across the supply chain in the future, particularly between subcontractors. Our BIM expertise is one of the key factors in assuring designers, contractors and subcontractors that they can trust Metsec.”



voestalpine Metsec plc

Tel: +44 (0)121 601 6000


Please note: this is a commercial profile.


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