Beware BIM hype, project delivery says it all

December 13th, 2012 Posted in: Industry Issues

As the Building Information Modelling revolution picks up pace, forward thinking construction companies are ensuring that BIM is top of their agendas.

Yet despite the presence of the BIM buzz-word and the claims of some players in the industry, there are many facets of BIM development yet to be formulated and many architects, contractors and specialists alike are still facing a similarly steep learning curve. The result is certainly some ambiguity about what BIM truly means.

BIM is not a new innovation and has, under a different guise, been successfully used across the automotive, engineering and autospace sectors for many years. It is not simply a new piece of software but rather a combination of software, technology, people, processes and workflow. The BIM database is the ultimate method of collaborative working; allowing numerous people to share information incorporated in a 3D graphical model in a way that enables changes to be seen almost immediately by everyone on the team. The aim being that closer integration ultimately yields better buildings and greater efficiencies.

Lakesmere has been at the forefront of progressive design technologies for more than 15 years with many examples of complex 3D designs using a number of different CAD packages. To complement these design packages, Lakesmere  has developed the ability to author 3D and 4D models, interacting with the client’s central model for coordinated, clash-free designs. As clients’ BIM requirements gather pace, innovation and best practice in this field is a definite Lakesmere strength.

This is perfectly illustrated by the completion of our latest full BIM contract to install the ground-breaking building envelope of Leeds Arena. BIM methodology supported the delivery of the arena’s unique honeycombed façade which hosts a pattern of varying cellular shapes and glazed panels, which morph through an ever-changing kaleidoscope of coloured lights. Working alongside main contractor BAM Construction and architects Populous, BIM methodology was used to great effect and has enthused us to invest further in BIM software and training next year.

Our work on the new platform roof canopies at Reading Station (for which our partner Bourne Engineering has already been recognised with a BIM award) will further strengthen our understanding and expertise.

With the knowledge that the use of BIM will be mandatory for all publicly funded projects over the next five years, we are set for a seismic shift in industry working practices. As other members of the industry look to increase their BIM capabilities, and begin to promote their expertise to clients, there will undoubtedly remain much ambiguity around what’s actually being offered.

Only a company’s solid track record of working with partners on BIM projects will guarantee its true expertise so beware the hype and let past results speak for themselves.

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