Reaping the benefits of BIM



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BIM – Building Information Modelling – makes for a leaner, safer, more efficient construction process. It means everyone working on a project, whether on site or back at the office, has immediate access to better quality information.

“Our engineers now walk around site with an iPad rather than dog-eared drawings,” explains senior planner Hunter Common. “They can instantly call up records and capture images and information as they go, and the last hour of the day is no longer spent typing up the notes they made while out on site.

” BIM isn’t new but only recently has its use become more widespread. “There’s an expectation now that we do things digitally, especially amongst the millennials,” says Hunter. “Guys like Rob Kelly are really driving it. The old way of collecting records is inefficient and everyone sees the need for smarter ways of working.

” Rob is the Loch Buidhe sub agent. He’s created a 3D model of Loch Buidhe and used BIM to link site records to elements within the model, which engineers working on site can view on their iPads. “Not everyone finds it easy to interpret 2D drawings,” he says.

“A 3D model really helps with communication. It also makes it much easier to see potential clashes with ducts, drainage or foundations, and any design changes are easier to manage too.” Information captured on an iPad – whether an image or a checksheet – is tagged to the 3D model, providing anyone who needs it with an instant picture of each element of the project.

“SSE have visibility of that information too, so they can see our quality records in real-time. There’s far greater transparency,” says Rob. Alasdair Barnett, a civil project engineer with SSE finds BIM an invaluable tool.

“If I can’t get to site, I can instantly bring up details and images of a concrete pour, drainage installation or other item of work and talk it through with our construction managers or the Siemens BAM team. It’s a brilliant tool that gives us great visibility.

“If there’s an issue, we see it straightaway and can track it until it’s closed. We have access to all the check lists and photographs and our construction managers can raise issues on the system too. Truly collaborative working between SSE, Siemens and BAM is what we’re all trying to achieve and BIM is playing an important part in that.”

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