This project seeks to significantly improve the accessibility and communication of digital building model data to critical stakeholders, throughout the construction process. The project will utilise the latest immersive visualisation technologies and software, which have had a significant impact in the automotive industry in recent years, reducing cost and time to market whilst improving quality. By taking best practice technologies and processes, and adapting and optimising them for application in the construction industry, the project will demonstrate genuine time and cost savings through a "right first time" approach, on a £14M housing development, with planning permission application scheduled for July 2012.
Partners include an architect, housing developer, software company, visualisation technology specialist and a university, and the innovation will be the adaptation of best practice tools and processes and their application in a construction environment. An objective of BIM is to build a digital virtual prototype in order to fully resolve design issues whilst still in digital format.
This project will draw on knowledge and processes from automotive and product design industries where the use of "digital prototyping" and the central storage of digital data for access by different design and manufacturing functions, and is being applied with demonstrable benefits of improved quality, and savings in time and cost.
This research proposal focuses on improving the means of communicating the digital BIM data to those constructing the building. Fundamental to the optimal use of design data held in the model is the compatibility and accessibility of the data for all stakeholders in design and construction. The proposal uses a new residential project being developed by Hyde Housing in North West London (Stonebridge 10) as a vehicle for researching how advanced modelling could meet these improved performance targets, and for demonstrating the resulting benefits over the course of its construction.
The project will use the latest design and architectural software tools, coupled with state-of-the-art immersive visualisation, firstly as a design tool to identify potential defects early in the process, and will utilise the enhanced capability to communicate design intent by integrating design consultants, contractors and their specialist sub-contractors and suppliers into the design process, leveraging their input and collaboration early on to achieve a "right-first-time" approach to the construction.
Furthermore, the project will maintain access to the digital building model data in an immersive environment throughout the construction phase, in order to give all those involved the ability to interrogate the full 3D model on-site. This will be achieved through a prototype, modular visualisation facility that will be used for technical design meetings, sequence planning, and potentially for marketing. In addition, wireless access to the data via tablet PC (or similar) will give trades supervisors immediate access to the digital model from anywhere on site.
This will be tested on a live construction project with KPIs agreed at the outset to measure how the goals of improved quality (including the higher performance standards demanded by low carbon construction), consistency of product, reduced cost and faster delivery have been met.