Large scale refurbishment and retrofit using BIM


Neill Ryan, CEO of VRM Technology Limited asks if large scale refurbishment and retrofit using BIM is worth it?

Neill Ryan is CEO of VRM Technology (VRM), a software company based in London and Dublin that provides a cloud based collaboration and invoice management platform, Refurbify, to the construction industry. Integrated mobile survey apps allow property surveys to be completed and once uploaded to the cloud will produce whole property 2D plans, 3D models, schedules of works, bills of materials, works budget costings and much more automatically in real-time! Live works can be measured and monitored using smart phone based evidence of use apps that track progress in real-time against planned works and specified products.

VRM has spent the last 2 years working on private and government backed construction research projects that cover many different types of technologies and processes from pre-works through to the final delivery stages. This has given the company the opportunity to collaborate with leading industry organisations and learn how technology is currently used (or not used) in the domestic refurbishment and retrofit market.

The most interesting of all the topics covered is BIM and its use in the refurbishment and retrofit markets. When the value of the works at hand are generally less than it might cost to produce useful BIM models, one has to ask the question, why use BIM at all?

While there are benefits of BIM for all the parties in the construction supply chain, for the purpose of this article lets start with a medium sized social housing provider with limited budgets, increasing annual maintenance costs, tenants not paying the rent due to high energy costs and a desire to retrofit or refurbish to resolve these issues. Due to the high costs of the type of retrofits required to adequately achieve these goals there is a huge emphasis on the quality of works. This is required to make sure that the reduction in maintenance costs and energy costs will be sustained for the projected life of the works installed. So how can BIM help here?

Using a survey tool such as Refurbify, whole property surveys have been captured either during one visit or smaller surveys completed during ongoing maintenance visits. The difference with these surveys compared to those currently captured is that they have the end goal in mind. The costs, the products, the labour and the time that is required to perform any chosen measures on properties that that are being surveyed.

Once this data is captured, an IFC model of each property is immediately available on the Refurbify cloud. This model can be instantly queried to provide estimated schedule of costs and durations for any work measures that are of interest. Contractors can be sent a link to IFC models, along with associated tagged information such as photos and videos, specified products and labour skills. Costs and products can be agreed and added directly to the system so that the BIM data is updated accordingly.

Once the works have been decided the agreed BIM information can be used to schedule the works and monitor them in real-time. Products can be scanned onsite and referenced against the specified products, the duration of tasks can be compared pro-actively against the planned task durations. Live costs can be compared to budgeted costs as all of the onsite data is continuously checked against the planned and specified BIM data.

Even the small tradesman can play a part in updating the BIM information by confirming their tasks have been completed and taking photos of their work and products use via a smart phone and a mobile app.

The end result for the social housing provider is that BIM gives them complete control and visibility of the process from the early deliberations of choosing which properties should be upgraded, to choosing a contractor, monitoring the essential elements of the live works, approving invoices that are automatically generated and linked to virtual evidence from the works performed.

The quality and costs of the planned works have been matched to the delivered works and the promises of ongoing reductions in energy and maintenance costs can be more certain.

For more information about VRM or Refurbify please feel free to contact using any of the details provided on our website.

Neill Ryan


VRM Technology Limited

Tel: +353 866 099 062


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