Distributors warned of CAD revolution

Catering equipment distributors are being urged to prepare for — but not panic about — UK legislation that threatens to dramatically alter the way that commercial kitchens are designed.

New rules drawn up by the government will require public sector construction projects with an overall value of £5m and above to be undertaken using Building Information Modelling (BIM) compatible software.

Equipment dealers and interiors companies will have to comply with the legislation, which will be implemented in 2016, or face expulsion from the tender list.

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Joseph Smith, managing director of software firm Schematic, said the new process essentially facilitates the design to be done in what architects refer to as ‘6D’, which creates savings due to enhanced understanding and off-site fabricating.

Schematic is on the verge of launching a software program called AutoScheme, which Smith says will answer the needs of dealers and kitchen designers wondering how to become BIM-compatible.

He says the system has been specifically created for the foodservice sector, uses drag and drop symbols representing actual plans, and can be quickly populated with services information.

“We identified the need for a simpler BIM system created for the specific needs of space planning rather than an adaptation from the complexities of building design in much the same way as AutoCAD LT has been the simpler choice over the full AutoCAD software for years in our sector,” explained Smith. “In all the BIM softwares that have been created, none have simplified the process, largely due to construction engineering requirements for complexity and building analysis.”

The growing emphasis on 6D software — which will see designs incorporate facility management data such as O&M manuals and parts, as well as data, live pricing and multi-face models — will require distributors to provide a far greater level of detail when designing kitchens for public sector clients.

Smith says Schematic has taken 18 months to move its BIM concept through from patent pending to almost market ready, adding that users of the package can be fully trained in a day.

“Our system will interface with any CAD or BIM system ,so it will be a universal communicator — something not all softwares will feature,” he adds. “For example, some BIM softwares presently are not backward-looking, so cannot read previous CAD drawings. That would be a severe headache for dealers.”

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