Interview with Crossrail’s Malcolm Taylor dominates PBC Today’s BIM coverage

Credit: The Manufacturer
Credit: The Manufacturer

The October issue of Adjacent’s Planning & Building Control Today magazine presents a strong focus towards Building Information Modelling, with the coverage headlined by an extensive interview with Crossrail’s Head of Technical Information, Malcolm Taylor.

The Crossrail project began before the Government had even announced their 2016 BIM mandate, yet the team were working on some elements of the development using a BIM-like process without them having an acronym attached to their cutting-edge processes.

“We required designers for the main design work who were skilled in the art of 3D modelling. What takes basic 3D design into a level 1 BIM is pretty straightforward,” said Taylor.

“Level 2 is more about the coordination of that design and merging together the various different types of models that one might have for civils, with architecture, mechanical and electrical, and bringing those together. We were confident that what we required our designers to do, was to work within our Common Data Environment (CDE) and that was something we set up very early on in 2008/9 within our CAD world.”

British Standards created the BIM environment that Crossrail have been working with ever since, and the team are now working at around Level 2 BIM. Elaborating on the standards and their impact, Taylor explained: “Once you’ve captured that spirit of the concept of a CDE and collaborative working, the size of a project doesn’t matter as long as everyone follows the rules. BS: 1192 created the BIM environment for us meaning that contractors weren’t requested to follow Crossrail’s methodologies. Instead, it showed them how to comply with the British Standard.”

Informing the magazine of how important BIM has been to the underground rail project, Taylor said that the digital software process has been “absolutely critical”. He stated: “We are building underground in a very busy city – the importance of being able to build it first of all in the virtual world to make sure all the pieces fit, is absolutely critical. We don’t want to find problems when 30 metres underground.

“Getting it right in the virtual world means we will save very significant amounts of waste for example from clash detection, but there are really interesting softer benefits such as safety too. We have seen 4D models used for safety briefings showing staff, through the time sequence, what has to be done and when. So now imagine an interactive model being taken into the operations and maintenance sphere – a station manager can use it to show staff where to store plant or for evacuation training etc.

“This visualisation world is already taking over the design and construction world, and ultimately it’ll move into the operations and maintenance arena as BIM gets extended post 2016.”

Other articles of note include the Head of BIM at the UK BIM Task Group, David Philp discussing how BIM can aid collaboration, RIBA’s Steve Thompson, who is also BIM4M2’s Chairman discusses problems manufacturers may face regarding information exchange and training the new generation of construction professionals in BIM is addressed by the University of Salford’s BIM & Integrated Design Programme Director, Dr. Jason Underwood.

Click here to read the digital version of the October edition of Planning & Building Control Today.

What was the most interesting BIM-related article to you in the October issue?