Building information modelling (BIM) for precision design
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is widely known across the construction and real estate industry. But how well are its benefits understood on a practical level, for different project types and sizes?
A project of ours at Wellesley Court shows how BIM can be integrated in projects of any size, not just major high value developments. The technology can support efficient and effective works when they are needed most.
This residential property comprising numerous flats in Maida Vale, London, requires replacement hot water storage units to serve all dwellings within the building. However, with an operational plantroom the challenge is to minimise disruptions to residents’ supply, so careful design was essential. Some challenges included access to the space and consideration to the presence of asbestos within the plantroom.
Precise data capture
In order to aid the design process, TFT’s Geomatics specialists captured a colourised 3D point cloud of the existing architecture and M&E services. Utilising the Leica RTC360 we were able to access the hard-to-reach areas, positioning the LiDAR scanner in a number of positions throughout the plantroom to ensure high resolution capture whilst ensuring no disturbance to the existing services.
From this, we produced a spatially accurate digital twin of the plantroom to millimetre accuracy – meaning the designs we created from it would fit in the real world. Revit was used to convert this geometry into a 3D model visualising the mechanical and electric plant systems, including details for each element within the model.
However, this 3D Revit model is not yet a building information model (BIM). We then added an additional layer of data: everything from wall materials to a pipe’s thermal qualities.
Combining many data points with the virtual model creates a BIM model: a highly relevant and easily understandable set of data which is accessible and useful for all.
Reliable, accessible, valuable
This scan-to-BIM workflow allowed TFT’s M&E team to create precise designs, with reliable ‘clash detection’ showing how well elements would fit in the space before the project began in the real world.
Furthermore, this model data is shared on with other TFT specialists. For instance, our principle designers can use the same model to ensure that the existing services risks and hazards are clearly identified to the contractor. The data will also be used to add to the asset schedules, providing full information for future maintenance works, and even informing technical due diligence surveys in the event of a sale, speeding up that process and helping to deliver the best value for the building.