Robert Berry, Director of Engineering and Innovation at Caunton Engineering, says the company has experienced a wide range of benefits since adopting BIM, from reduced time spent on tenders and more productive design team meetings to smoother progress on site and reduction in remedial works.
“The industry needs better design and BIM can help us deliver it. Having a Building Information Model allows our structural engineers to very quickly understand the building and produce a compliant design in less time – we believe there could be a time saving of as much as 25% where a good-quality BIM model is available. It leads to more accurate and reliable costing of projects, and provides a more thorough understanding which allows us to arrive at the most competitive solution.”
He continues: “BIM also provides construction teams with a very powerful tool that can be used to identify the safest and best build sequence, which is of significant value. It’s hard to put a figure on the amount of money that is lost as a direct result of badly coordinated work on site. What we do know is that if one of our four-man installation crews has to stand still for an hour it will cost us at least £300. We are absolutely certain that the cost of remedial works on BIM projects is lower too, because potential clashes are resolved during the design phase – designed out rather than built in.”
The other key benefit is Tekla’s interoperability – it can exchange information accurately and completely with a wide range of other software packages. Caunton’s models can be shared with the rest of the project team, no matter what programs they are using. Although Caunton uses Tekla Structures to design and manufacture structural steelwork, Berry explains the software can be used to model other construction materials: “That’s opened up more meaningful relationships for us with other specialists. Tekla Structures also creates data in IFC format, which is an essential prerequisite for the open BIM process.”
Since implementing the software, he has noticed a big difference in design team meetings: “On projects where BIM is not used, 70% of the time is spent explaining problems and only 30% on agreeing solutions. We have seen almost a reversal of this on BIM projects – 30% of the time spent reviewing problems that are evident from the model, and 70% spent agreeing solutions collaboratively during the meeting.”
Longer term, Berry believes BIM has the potential to change the adversarial nature of construction, and resolve the blame game that is too often played on projects. “A Building Information Model allows everyone in the design and construction teams to collaborate and find the best solution for the project – it is very much a shift from organisation-centric to project-centric decision making. When BIM is adopted, we see far less finger-pointing if something doesn’t work as expected. Now when the question is asked, it is very easy to show that it works in the model, without having to trawl through old drawings and meeting minutes.”
“Together Tekla Structures, Tekla Structural Designer, BIMsight and Field3D make a very competitive offering,” says Berry. “Ultimately, if you’re in the business of designing and manufacturing, you’ll be able to use Tekla tools to do quite a lot more than you would with other packages.”
For more information on Tekla Structures, the 3D modelling and information management solution for steel fabricators, please visit the Trimble Tekla website.
Image Credit: Caunton Engineering