BIM designs are increasing clash detection, reducing site meetings and project costs, according to Gary Thompson, design director of Tricon Foodservice Consultants.
The terms BIM and Revit have been in common usage in the construction industry for several years now and Tricon Foodservice Consultants has been a leading player in bringing about the adoption of BIM in the industry. After years of investment, now the true power of the methodology is beginning to be realised.
Although often used interchangeably BIM and Revit are not the same thing; BIM stands for Building Information Modelling and is a process for creating and managing information used in a construction project.
Revit is a software tool used by architects, engineers and designers as part of a BIM process. It is actually the product name for the Autodesk software package used to model a building and has been widely adopted by users who have previously used their Autocad suite. So it should be noted that other software products are available on the market.
Approximately half of our work at Tricon is completed using BIM. We could see the benefits of using BIM and Revit early on, and in 2013 took steps to lead the industry in adopting this technology. The substantial investments needed in both software and training meant that take up in the UK was slow and the benefits were not easily seen by all. To overcome this, we took the bold move to contact all equipment manufacturers and suppliers advising them that we would be using BIM going forward and would expect them all to do likewise.
Our investment was significant, taking two of the design team out of the day-to-day business to rework one of their projects from a 2D Autocad design into a 3D Revit model. This required a huge initial effort to create a set of standard equipment families as none of these existed at that time.
After 6 months of work the team ended up with a Revit model for the trial project and we now have around 3,000 items and families of items that were used both on the project the team was remodelling but more importantly on future projects waiting to be designed.
As BIM became more widely used, key benefits began to emerge and contractors began to push the methodology themselves as they recognised that significant time savings could be made during the construction or fit-out on projects, as well as efficiencies in project management costs. Some contractors have calculated there are approximately 33% fewer coordination meetings required on site with a BIM project when compared to a non-BIM one.
3D modelling techniques also allowed designers to overcome issues such as clash detection which was traditionally a major cause of delays during a site build. Tools such as Revit will inform the designer if and where a clash will occur as different services and layers are added to the project’s design.
Everyone working at Tricon has now received Revit and BIM training, as do all new starters within their first 6 months. Adapting to the changes is not just a matter of retraining CAD operatives as this is just one aspect of the model. All members of the project team need to understand it and the new terminology that accompanies it.
Having completed our project modelling exercise, we shared the information with CESA and manufacturers started to ask us how we were handling BIM on our projects. By sharing the data with the industry, Tricon was able to help speed up the process of adoption and we now estimate 80-90% of manufacturers are on board.