King’s Cross, once a Victorian industrial and transportation heartland is being completely transformed into a mixed-use, vibrant and modern urban centre in London. It’s the largest area of city-centre redevelopment in Europe and has resulted in one of the more sustainable developments in the UK.
The 67-acre site comprises an impressive 50 new buildings on 20 new streets, 10 new public parks and squares, 1,900 new homes and 26 acres of open space. Included within the development is office space, residential units, retail and leisure space, a hotel, and educational facilities – all on a site served by six London Underground lines, two national mainline train stations, and an international high-speed rail connecting to Paris.
The decision to regenerate the area came in 1996 and is due to reach completion in 2020 through The King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) comprising of Argent, London and Continental Railways Limited and DHL Supply Chain.
Argent is the developer and asset manager at King’s Cross and must maximise the returns and liquidity while minimising risk to the business. For Argent, creating value in all its forms is at the heart of its business, so investing in data management for the project was key.
BIM. Technologies have worked with Argent before – namely the Google HQ building – Project Queen in 2013, at King’s Cross. Since then, the working relationship has been maintained which culminated in an appointment to advise on an organisation wide BIM Strategy at the close of 2014. The benefits seen from utilising BIM for the Google building were a key driver in their appointment as BIM Strategy Partner.
BIM. Technologies supported Argent in understanding what information they wanted, when, why, how, from, who and where, at the relevant points in time across the design, construction and operational phases at organisational and project level.
BIM. Technologies assessed the existing organisational systems and processes, mapping out how Argent could capture and translate these into live project environments in line with their high-level strategic BIM objectives. These objectives are very clear and are targeted through three key objectives; designing places, constructing places and maintaining places.
Through the ‘designing places’ objective, BIM. Technologies wanted to provide certainties of cost, quality, construction duration and constructability by using a ‘single source of truth’ – one federated model, resulting in no inconsistencies within design data.
The ‘constructing places’ objective aimed to reduce capital expenditure and construction duration by incorporating earlier construction advice, eliminating design errors before construction commenced, and interrogating construction sequencing and logistics within a single environment.
The ‘maintaining places’ objective centred on reducing operating expenditure by designing efficient and maintainable buildings and infrastructure, then delivering accurate and automated asset data to owners and operators, which significantly improved commissioning and handover information.
Argent’s desire to create a digital estate required them to align, think, record and document their organisation and project requirements. With this in mind, BIM. Technologies produced a coherent set of Argent Employers Information Requirements (EIR) estate wide.
Since the initial BIM strategy appointment, the EIR are now actively being implemented and delivered on several projects across the estate, including high-end commercial and residential schemes. Argent identified two key information exchange points within the project life-cycle, firstly at the end of RIBA Workstage 3 (Developed Design), then subsequently at the end of Workstage 6 (Handover and Close Out).
Workstage 3 resulted in better-informed FM engagement and reduced risk, while at Workstage 6, automatically populated enterprise systems for special information has resulted in on-going management of the asset(s).
The first of the initial BIM-enabled projects — Coal Drops Yard — is an exciting and unique new shopping destination with shops and cafés. It recently completed RIBA Workstage 3 and is enabling the first Argent asset information deliverables from the EIR in the form of an Asset Information Matrix to be used to populate existing systems early in the project life-cycle. This information exchange point has a strong focus on spatial information, something that is a key driver within the organisation.
BIM. Technologies are engaged on a further seven projects, all of which are a mix of high-end residential, affordable housing, high-end commercial, high-end retail and institutional.
Argent’s BIM journey with BIM. Technologies will continue with a review of requirements and lessons learnt. There will be ongoing monitoring of the process, development, and integration of additional periphery systems to ensure the needs of the client are captured. This will feed into the wider organisation as Argent build out of the King’s Cross site and make progress with other development projects in the capital and further afield.
David Walters, Project Manager at Argent commented; “Leveraging the benefits of BIM required us to think critically about our information needs throughout the project lifecycle, and really question our processes at the deepest level. BIM Technologies were central to this process, and continue to work with us throughout the project lifecycle, taking this deep understanding of our business information needs to each project and supporting our teams to deliver the right information, in the right format, at the right time.”