Andy Boutle, BIM Manager at Kier Construction Eastern outlines the benefits of using BIMXtra…
In what is otherwise a complex manual process, Kier Construction and LSI Architects have delivered an integrated digital handover of some student residences for the University of East Anglia using the leading edge Clearbox solution, BIMXtra. What is even more remarkable is that this is on a circa £10m project that has utilised many different BIM authoring tools. As a consequence the project won the Construction Computing Awards ‘Collaboration Project 2014’ after bringing the whole team together to work in a single federated source of data, and was also a finalist in the BIM Project 2014 at the same event.
“From a site and personal perspective the overall implementation of BIM on Crome Court was a tremendous success and testament to the hard work and professionalism of the overall team, including Subcontractors and Consultants”.
The key to this success on a project with so many different authoring tools is the ability of BIMXtra to gather models and data as a single source of truth; in essence a real Common Data Environment in which everyone had only one instance of handover information before the output was compiled directly to a COBie level 4 data drop.
LSI Architects used ArchiCAD, the Mechanical/ Electrical Engineer used Revit, Ramboll the Civil/Structural Engineer used Revit for Substructure, and Microstation for Civils with the CLT frame manufacturer using 3D Cadwork to produce their fabrication model. Bringing all these different types of authoring tools together is notoriously difficult, but with BIMXtra and using IFC where appropriate, we imported the models into a structured data environment and allowed all parties to work on the handover information without having to go back to the model to enter data with all the inefficiencies and complexity of double handling information. In reality once you get beyond COBie drop 3 most of the information is not relevant to the design and so putting it in the model is of debatable merit, it is also hard to attach documents and other relevant information whereas in BIMXtra any of this information is easily attached or referenced.
What will also potentially help the Clients FM team is that many of the updates in operation are simply data changes, whether they are changes to a piece of equipment or confirmation of a recent inspection they require quick and easy access without the complexity and cost of the traditional authoring tools.
The data captured in BIMXtra throughout the project delivery, has been extracted as a COBie data drop via built in functionality. The University now have the opportunity to drive the data into their CAFM system via a database to database transaction.
In essence the data content in the authoring models can be as light as the author may choose, with any additional required design performance data inputted directly into the BIMXtra environment associated to the components. Once design schedules were complete and validated, we added the Construction and O&M information required to populate the Asset Information Model (AIM) for handover.
Speaking about the success of the project, Kevin James the Project Manager for Kier Construction said “From a site and personal perspective the overall implementation of BIM on Crome Court was a tremendous success and testament to the hard work and professionalism of the overall team, including Subcontractors and Consultants”.
This has been an enlightening project for the Kier Eastern Team. We now have confidence to deliver the 6D output and are engaging with other clients to explore the benefits this can provide for them, we see this as a key factor to securing future work as we move further into the digital delivery of construction information. While we found areas for further improvement in the process, the Clearbox team responded quickly to give us the opportunity on the Crome Court project, and this helped to inform the development of this particular area of BIMXtra to be refined further for the next project.
Kier Construction Eastern
Tel: +44 (0)800 085 9872