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Editors: Guillermo Aranda-Mena, Bilal Succar, Agustin Chevez & John Crawford

The research described in this report was carried out by: Guillermo Aranda-Mena, Bilal Succar, Agustin Chevez & John Crawford

Project Leaders: Thomas Fussell, Project Services Queensland - BIM National Guidelines, and Guillermo Aranda-Mena, RMIT University - BIM Case Studies

Research Project 2007-02-EP BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Date: December 2008

CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

INTRODUCTION This research is a part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project (sponsored by the CRC for Construction Innovation as project 2007-02-EP) and as such sought to collect information of Australian companies using multidisciplinary BIM collaboration and prepared to share their knowledge and experience. The report aims at sharing such experience so that industry can better understand the process of implementing Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the architecture, engineering, construction and FM industry. The objective of the project is to document and share such experience. This BIM Case Studies report distils such information into a single Report or a set of individual Case Study documents accessible to industry in print or downloadable as PDFs. The dynamics between the two streams of the National Guideline and Cases Studies project worked to inform one another of the technical, policy and process aspects of this research, which would deliver up-to-date implementation information to the team working on the Guidelines. However, the case study Reports derived from this stream by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team are independent research efforts that cover a broad range of topics, and thus each of the case studies can be read independently from the Guidelines.

BIM definition: This report has taken the BIM definition as from The PPP Journal Issue 61 ‘A model for success: what is needed to achieve the required level of capability to address BIM-based innovation’ 1: “BIM is the use of ICT technologies to streamline all the processes that require a building infrastructure and its surroundings, to provide a safer and more productive environment for its occupants; to assert the least possible environmental impact from its existence; and to be more operationally efficient for its owners throughout the lifecycle of the building infrastructure”. The term Building Information Modelling (BIM), popularised by Jerry Laiserin, refers to the ability to use, reuse and exchange information, of which electronic documents are just a single component. BIM is much more than 3D renders or transferring electronic versions of paper documents. By implementing BIM “risk is reduced, design intent is maintained, quality control is streamlined, communication is clearer, and higher analytic tools are more accessible” (AIA, 2005) 2. The literature offers several BIM definitions. However, they all seem to agree that BIM is a digital representation of the building. Following are two alternatives that encompass views of two of the leading organisations in the field.

1 2

The Information Portal for the Public Sector. Web site accessed in December 2008 AIA, “The American Institute of Architects” website accessed in April 2008 CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

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“A BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle from inception onward.” BuildingSMART website


“Building Information Modeling is the development and use of a computer software model to simulate the construction and operation of a facility. The resulting model, a Building Information Model, is a data-rich, object-oriented, intelligent and parametric digital representation of the facility, from which views and data appropriate to various users’ needs can be extracted and analyzed to generate information that can be used to make decisions and improve the process of delivering the facility. The process of using BIM models to improve the planning, design and construction process is increasingly being referred to as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).” AGC Guide to BIM, 2006


Another view with a more recent spatial outlook - from the Open Geospatial Organisation - offers their perspective of BIM, viz. “Around the world, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is increasingly gaining the attention of organizations involved in architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) as well as the owners and operators of buildings and other structures. In this context ‘building' refers to the building process and BIM is a cumulative digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility in the built environment. BIM is a shared knowledge resource containing information about a facility. It provides a reliable basis for decisions during the facility's entire life cycle. Different stakeholders at different phases of the life cycle of a facility insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of that stakeholder.” Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® , 2008


However, a number of individuals and organisations are also starting to make the point that the processes and procedures around the introduction, implementation and ongoing employment of BIM – and not just the digital information – may also be critical in its successful functioning:

BuildingSMART, International Alliance for Interoperability. Web site accessed 2008 AGC (2006) "The Contractors' Guide to BIM" Associated General Contractors of America. Web site accessed 5 Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc.® , 2008. Web site accessed 3 4

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“The construction industry has been facing a paradigm shift to (i) increase; productivity, efficiency, infrastructure value, quality and sustainability, (ii) reduce lifecycle costs, lead times and duplications, via effective collaboration and communication of stakeholders in construction projects. Construction Lifecycle Management with BIM seeks to integrate processes throughout the entire lifecycle. The focus is to create and reuse consistent digital information by the stakeholders throughout the lifecycle. However, implementation and the use of BIM systems require dramatic changes in current business practices, bringing new challenges for stakeholders, e.g., the emerging knowledge and skill gap�. A model for success, The PPP Journal Issues 61, 2009


Case Study Approach A number of potential case studies of design and construction projects were identified by the Project Committee, and initial approaches were made to senior personnel in the organisations concerned to ascertain their willingness to be involved as well as the timeframe for their involvement. It was believed that most value would come from taking a less formal approach to eliciting key information from the case-study participants without a need for them to formally answer a questionnaire. Some ten various projects were identified as potential case studies and six which focused on current developments were selected and undertaken. Some of these projects were still in the design or construction phases, whilst others were at the completion or operational stage so, on occasion, a designer or other staff involved in a completed project may have moved on and some information may then not be readily available. Each project was nominated and selected on the expectation that there was a level of collaboration and sharing of BIM models between two consulting organisations at least. The case studies covered both public and private sector involvement and included four public projects of varying type in Brisbane and two commercial projects in Sydney. For those readers desiring details of the research, the methodology is summarised in a following section, while details of the individual case studies are presented in separate sections, and the combined lessons derived from the range of studies are also catalogued separately.

Individual Case Study Descriptions Case Study 1: North Lakes Police Station This Case Study explores the collaborative process undertaken to test the possibilities of Building Information Modelling and identify digital workflows whilst still delivering a quality project on-time. The process proved challenging yet generated a substantial amount of lessons learned. North Lakes Police Station case study provides an overview of experiences gained by many stakeholders involved in the planning, design and construction.


The Information Portal for the Public Sector. Web site accessed in December 2008 CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

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Areas of study include aspects of design and construction with internal organisational collaboration between architects and services engineers. It also provides discussion of model-based construction, and model-based cost planning, workflow and software applications are also studied and discussed.

Case Study 2: Queensland State Archives Extension This case study discusses some of the many experiences gained by project participants in undertaking an extension project of similar size integrated with the original Queensland Government’s State Archives facility at Runcorn. An unusual type of building with strict requirements for internal air quality and environmental controls, it nonetheless explores the potential benefits and challenge of deploying Building Information Modelling and 4D solutions for design-construction collaboration.

Case Study 3: 1 Bligh Street, Sydney Number 1 Bligh St is a 30-storey, CBD high-rise, located in a premium location in Sydney, and has been described as an exceptional project not only in its design but in its ambitious goals. When completed, this 42,000 m2 development, with an estimated cost of AUD$230 million, will have a 6-star rating for its environmental performance. Whilst a double-skin façade is what allows the building to achieve this rating, BIM played an important role in the documentation and simulation of such architectural features as well as the overall building. Discussions touched on a variety of topics within the process, technology and policy areas surrounding BIM, and the interviews focused on the architects as the consultants leading BIM in this project. Nevertheless, the consulting team together with the contractor were also interviewed to document and analyse their experiences whilst collaborating in BIM.

Case Study 4: Brisbane City Hall This case study discusses the experiences of an architectural team as they undertake their first BIM pilot undertaking. The project selected is a large, complex multi-layered structure with strong heritage significance which poses a number of architectural, structural and services challenges and opportunities. The choice of the pilot project and its project team is atypical and provides a number of important lessons to be learned.

Case Study 5: Willawong Bus Depot An exploration, documentation and analysis of the use of CAD modelling and BIM in the sustainable design and construction planning and scheduling for the new bus maintenance and storage depot planned for Willawong in Brisbane. With a roofed area of some 6000 m2, part of the extensive site had been used in the past for recycling, waste transfer and disposal facilities, and more recently has been the subject of extensive remediation work. In addition to architectural attributes such as solar access and shading, natural ventilation and other important issues of amenity for depot staff, landscape interests focused on environmental issues such as watercycle and stormwater management and treatment.

Case Study 6: Chifley Square The 8 Chifley Square case study documents BIM deployment within a client / developer organisation on a new project development in a prime area of Sydney’s Central Business District, and provides insight into adopting BIM in a high-rise development. The process within the design team proved challenging and although the client organisation has resolved to adopt BIM in the long run it was clear that one of the many lessons to be CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

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learnt through this case study is that BIM can require a completely different way of thinking about and documenting the design of a building.

In summary, the range of case studies provides valuable lessons and many insights into the myths, realities and expectations of the use of building information modelling [BIM] on both large and small public facilities and large private sector developments.

AIA (2005) BIM (Building Information Modeling) Update. The American Institute of Architects.

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North Lakes Police Station

A BIM pilot of a typical institutional building. The project included multiple disciplines and the early involvement of a sub-contractor

Queensland State Archives

A special-use construction project utilising 4D technologies and processes and involving an external modelling services provider

1 Bligh St

Brisbane City Hall


A 30-storey office building with high ESD performance developed through a multidisciplinary BIM process An historic building with multiple heritage layers undergoing a substantial renovation process

Main BIM collaboration documented1

Modelling Services Providers

Facility Operator


Quantity Surveyor

ESD Consultants

Services Engineers

Structural Engineers



Type / Description

Cost AUD$ Million


Project name

Area (m2)

Public / Private

Case Study No.


BIM features

  Mango Hill, QLD




[DD] & [DC]

  Runcorn, QLD





 

Sydney CBD, NSW





    

Brisbane CBD, QLD





Main BIM collaboration: [DD] Design – Design, [DC] Design - Construction, [DO] Design – Operation CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

   

Use of BIM driven by the architect Multi-disciplinary model-based collaboration between the architect and the steel subcontractor Model used as an ‘internal’ educational vehicle and to ‘externally’ showcase BIM possibilities Use of BIM driven by the architect Model-based collaboration between the architect and the contractor Utilisation of an external Modelling Services Provider to generate the 4D model The utilisation of a Value Management facilitator to enhance the design Use of BIM instigated by client Multidisciplinary collaboration ESD simulations Contractor to submit an ‘asbuilt’ BIM model BIM model to be used for FM Use of BIM instigated by client Multidisciplinary collaboration Laser Scanning to confirm accuracy of the model Model intended for future FM use.



Willawong Bus Depot

8 Chifley Square

A new facility comprising a number of very large buildings for transport vehicle storage and maintenance – built on a challenging site Office building / 30 Storey Premium high-rise building with high ESD performance

Main BIM collaboration documented1

Modelling Services Providers

Facility Operator


Quantity Surveyor

ESD Consultants

Services Engineers

Structural Engineers



Type / Description

Cost AUD$ Million


Project name

Area (m2)

Public / Private

Case Study No.


  Willawong Brisbane QLD






 

Sydney CBD, NSW





   



BIM features

400 George St.

A 5-star rated 20storey office building, using BIM with particular focus on project management and on construction scheduling options

Brisbane CBD, QLD



Joint Contact Centre

A five-storey administrative building with high-energy demands and 24hour usage

Zillmere, Brisbane QLD



CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

Use of BIM driven by design group and project architect Remediated site - former waste disposal landfill site Landscape architecture a feature with focus on water capture, treatment and recycle Model intended for future FM comparison with similar facilities Aborted BIM implementation Use of BIM instigated by client Multidisciplinary collaboration architects, structural, building services and quantity surveyors Client looking to use BIM for FM

Building Information Modelling

Case Study 1 North Lakes Police Station

Contents Project overview ............................... 2 Introduction .................................. 2  The Project and its stakeholders....... 2  A Note on Planning......................... 2  design process.................................. 3  The Initiative................................. 3  Project Workflow Summary ............. 3  Documentation and Modelling .......... 5  Model-Based Collaboration ................. 6  The Design – Detailing Link ............. 6  BDS Group : An Introduction ........... 6  BDS and Project Services ................ 6  Internal collaboration: architects and services engineers ......................... 7  Model-based Construction .................. 9  Model-based Cost Planning ............... 10  Workflow .................................... 10  Software exploration .................... 11 

Figure 1.

North Lakes Police Station External perspective

This Case Study explores the collaborative process undertaken to test the possibilities of Building Information Modelling and identify digital workflows while delivering a quality project ontime. The process proved challenging yet generated a substantial amount of lessons learned. Below is an overview of experiences gained by many stakeholders involved in the planning, design and construction of the new North Lakes Police Station in northern Brisbane.

Specific training ........................... 11 Focus on Project Services................. 12  Technology : Focus on Software..... 12  Process: Focus on Training ............ 14  Policy: Focus on Guidelines ........... 15  In summary ................................ 15  A final note .................................... 16 

This case study was conducted and analysed by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team as part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project sponsored by the CRC- Construction Innovation. The RMIT team would like to express its gratitude to all interviewees and those whose actions have greatly facilitated this effort. For more information about the project and project participants, please visit

North Lakes Police Station


with offices in Sunshine Coast




A Note on Planning 

Figure 2.

North Lakes Police Station 3D render of showing building footings.


Planning and design for a police station in Queensland is subject to a ‘Police Service Building Code’ which sets out definitive and detailed procedures based around staffing estimates and operational issues. These guidelines prescribe accommodation, communications and security levels and details interior layouts, room sizes, area adjacencies, visibility, sightlines, circulation and other spaces

The project is located in the area of Brisbane known as North Lakes - a staged ‘green fields’ residential and commercial development near Mango Hill. It sits between Bruce Highway and Anzac Avenue, some 20kms north-west of Brisbane’s central business district. The North Lakes area is a part of the wider local government area controlled by Moreton Bay Regional Council, and area details are available at a community website1.

The Project and its stakeholders  Major stakeholders in the North Lakes Police Station project are:  Queensland Police Service - Client  Stockland Corporation – Developer: one of Australia’s largest residential developers  Project Services – Designer: a branch of the Queensland Department of Public Works with hundreds of multi-disciplinary staff  Northbuild Construction Pty Ltd – Builder: a privately-owned commercial construction company


Figure 3.

North Lakes Police Station Project location © G o o g l e a n d M a p D a t a S c i en c e s


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North Lakes Police Station

DESIGN PROCESS The use of BIM on North Lakes Police Station has been driven by Project Services (PS), a fully-commercialised business unit of the Queensland Government Department of Public Works. Project Services has around 250 technology-enabled users in consultancy areas across most disciplines. The Architecture Group within Project Services has around 75 architects, and for management purposes is divided into four groups. According to one PS staff member, the decision was made at a management level that Building Information Modelling ‘constitutes the future, and that they should get there as fast as possible’. In the architectural area of Project Services, the divide of users is around 75% Autodesk® Revit®2 and 25% Graphisoft® ArchiCAD®3. However there is – at the time this case study has been conducted - a renewed drive to increase the adoption of ArchiCAD driven by its better support for interoperability through Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)4.

The Initiative  A decision was made within Project Services by senior management to deliver North Lakes Police Station project through incorporating Building Information Modelling tools and principles for interchanging information between various disciplines. The pilot project was chosen for its typical complexity as PS undertakes close to fifteen similar police station projects in a 2 Autodesk Revit® Architecture, refer to 3 Graphisoft ArchiCAD ®, refer to 4 Industry Foundation Classes, refer to the International Alliance for Interoperability:

given year. The pilot project had to be delivered on-time, on-budget yet allow the investigation of innovative approaches to model data management. As an additional self-imposed constraint, Project Services aimed to test the use of non-proprietary interoperable file formats – mainly Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) – wherever possible within the project’s lifecycle. This was based on a strategic decision to support the proliferation of IFC-based processes within industry; a decision that ultimately informed the selections of software used and processes applied within this pilot project.

Project Workflow Summary  In general terms, the project’s workflow was as follows:

Project initiation and schematic design  The client supplied a design brief to Project Services (PS) detailing their spatial requirements for the Police Station project. At Schematic Design stage, an objectbased model was initiated by the architectural team using an IFC-capable architectural package (ArchiCAD®). The model was modelled generically with the aim of providing the initial plans, elevations and views needed for design discussions and approval. Cost Planners – a separate team within PS - derived their first estimates directly from the ‘Brief’ and project’s footprint. At a later stage within schematic design (labelled as the most important phase from a cost planning perspective), estimators verified the design against the brief ‘visually’ through a dedicated IFC model viewer (DDS® CAD Viewer)5. Services engineers and ‘Specialist 5 Data Design System ® CAD Viewer, refer to

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North Lakes Police Station Services’ teams – like security systems provided their own separate cost estimates to the cost planners. The structural engineering team within PS did not initially model its requirements but provided their input verbally to the architectural documentation team. This took the form of person-to-person communication of structural requirements (selection of column sizes, trusses, purlins and the like) and the occasional provision of hand-written notes on 2D prints. The documentation team then generated the objects within the main model. The Mechanical, Electrical and Hydraulics teams within PS initially defined project requirements through 2D CAD drawings.

Design development until tender  The 3D model was further progressed by a more-specialised downstream documentation team. More objects were modelled and design details were added. The Cost Planners performed the second costing exercise. At this stage, the team tested the model ‘semantically’ (i.e. object properties were interrogated) as well as visually. The third and final costing exercise within the project utilised a well-detailed architectural model which included an IFC version of the structural steel model (originally prepared in Tekla® Structures6) and some mechanical, hydraulics and electrical information. The cost team inspected the model through walkthroughs within DDS® CAD Viewer and queried the architect for clarifications where necessary. These virtual inspections allowed the cost planners to identify less-clear or ‘expensive’ details and then request changes to satisfy budgetary limits 6 Tekla® Structures, refer to

already set during the Schematic Design phase. The landscaping and civil teams within PS generated a landscape/3D topography using a specialised 7 application (12d Model® ). Software incompatibility prevented the topographic and drainage models from being incorporated directly into the architectural model. The information had to be exported as 2D drawing files then used as CAD underlays within the tender documents. The Mechanical Services design was performed using non-BIM methods during the earlier Schematic Design phase. At this stage, the mechanical team modelled the requirements using DDS® HVAC8 modeller - a tool chosen for its availability within PS and its IFC compatibility - while the electrical and hydraulics teams modelled their 9 requirements using Revit® MEP . As will be later discussed, this exercise proved instrumental in generating multiple technical and procedural lessons for the team. The structural design was then progressed through a joint effort between the structural engineer and the documentation team (the structural engineers did not generate their own model). The architectural design model was then exported – in IFC format - for use by the steel detailing company (BDS Group10). The steel detailers imported the ‘architectural’ IFC model into Tekla® and generated their own structural members. These were later re-exported – as a ‘structural’ IFC file and 7 12d Solutions ® 12d Model, refer to 8 Data Design System ® HVAC Partner, refer to 9 Autodesk® Revit ® MEP, refer to 10 BDS Group, refer to

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North Lakes Police Station embedded into the architectural model. This process was repeated a few times until all design and constructability issues were resolved. At this stage, the IFC model generated by BDS replaced the steel elements generated by the PS architectural/structural teams. The set of tender documents consisting of numerous highly-detailed 2D drawings was then produced. They included many which were directly exported from the 3D models (E.g. steel details were a direct export out of the Tekla® Structure software)

Documentation and Modelling  An ArchiCAD model was used to resolve the architectural design of North Lakes Police Station. The initial modelling was performed by the project’s Principal Consultant who used it mainly to generate 3D visualisations. Subsequently, the same model was used by the project’s documenter throughout the Design Development and Construction Detailing phases to generate the necessary 2D drawings. The documenter had only to adjust – not recreate - the model to allow accurate output of plans, details and joinery drawings.

Modelling practices  The model was primarily intended to generate accurate 2D documentation, allow clash detection and collaboration with the steel detailers. The modelling processes employed did not favour the automatic generation of quantities nor sharing the model with parties outside PS. Information generated and sent through the firewall mainly comprised 2D AutoCAD drawings and partial IFC models to be inspected using ‘lightweight viewers’ on the construction site. As a case in point and to allow adequate IFC translation of structural elements, some objects had to be modelled as two

separate elements: structural elements and architectural skin. These and other practices highlight that the intended deliverables out of the model will inform the modelling practices. It also underlines some of the difference between ‘collaboration-driven’ and ‘quantification-driven’ models. To explore this point a little further, below is an example of the modelling practices employed to favour 2D documentation and speed of delivery over the automatic generation of quantities out of the object-based model:  Wall lining was neither modelled nor drafted; lining properties were referred to through textual notes.  Some modelled walls used ‘custom profiles’ to generate roof facias and gutters. These objects will neither schedule correctly nor export as an IFC wall.  All walls were modelled generically using different sizes but without defining their internal composition or materials used.  Wall notations were text objects not parametrically linked to wall properties.  The standard details were taken out of legacy CAD and not derived from the model.

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North Lakes Police Station

MODEL-BASED COLLABORATION The North Lakes Police Station (NLPS) model was used as a base for multiple collaborative efforts including those between the designers and subcontractors; between the designers themselves; between the designers and cost planners, and between designers and contractors.

The Design – Detailing Link  One of the more important facets of model-based collaboration was explored in this pilot project. The model was used as a collaborative medium between the building designers and one of the project’s sub-contractors to test the efficiencies of BIM processes. This collaboration was further tested and augmented by the physical co-location of both parties for a number of weeks; a co-location that allowed the efficient resolution of many constructability issues.

BDS Group : An Introduction  BDS Group, the company chosen for its specialised model-based abilities to handle steel structure design and detailing, prides itself as being one of the first companies to adopt Tekla® Structures in Australia and to have been using it for nearly 11 years. BDS Group has eight offices worldwide using a total of 160 BIM licences - 40 of which are deployed in Brisbane.

BDS and Project Services  North Lakes Police Station was the first direct contract between BDS and Project Services and it came about as PS was investigating companies using IFCcompatible software to establish a collaborative model-based relationship. BDS’s manager acknowledges that it was their expertise in Tekla® that played a major role in their selection by PS and their subsequent novation to Northbuild, the project’s general contractor.

Figure 4.

North Lakes Police Station Steel Structure view 1

The collaboration process  To increase collaborative efficiency, a steel detailer from BDS Group relocated to Project Services during an early stage of the project and he was provided with an office area and a computer (BDS provided the Tekla® licenses). This embedding of a steel detailer into other collaborating organisations is not uncommon for BDS and around 15% of their (experienced) staff are typically located outside their office. However this is the first time they have such an arrangement with a consulting architect. The close physical proximity of collaborating partners - according to BDS –‘ has enhanced the communication between designers and detailers’.

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North Lakes Police Station BDS noted that their involvement has minimised the role traditionally played by the structural engineer on such projects and brought the steel detailers closer to being part of the project’s design team. It is their understanding that such early collaboration between architects and - usually downstream construction players is ‘more efficient’ and allows fast-tracking through 3D modelling. BDS also prefer steel detailers to be brought into the design process before the commencement of HVAC design because ‘ducts follow structure, not the other way around’.

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Figure 6.

North Lakes Police Station Mechanical Clash Detection

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning  The Mechanical design for NLPS was first documented in 2D CAD. After it changed hands between two engineers, the project was modelled in 3D using the 2D as an underlay. The intention of the modelling was not to resolve the design but to exchange 3D data with structural engineer as there was an issue with heights and clearances.

Figure 5.

North Lakes Police Station Steel Structure View 2

Internal collaboration: architects  and services engineers  The model allowed different parties within Project Services to collaborate more efficiently. This included using the model to check for clashes between architectural elements (like rooms and separation walls) and service requirements (like duct and pipe routing).

The modelling was mostly intended for training and for presentation as a pilot project for both internal and external forums. It is worth noting that the Architectural model was generated in ArchiCAD and through IFCs it was brought into Revit MEP. The IFC model needed some manipulation as it did not include any rooms (have not been defined by the architects).

CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

North Lakes Police Station Training, Support and Documentation 

Figure 7.

North Lakes Police Station 3D Section

Electrical engineering  The electrical engineer at Project Services used Revit MEP and IES11 for electrical modelling and analysis. This modelling was mostly geometric and did use the more advanced capabilities of software employed. For example, all lights were modelled in 3D but without using the photometric attributes (like volts and watts) within the ‘families’ Revit’s parametric objects. Also, only a couple of circuit systems were created within Revit. Systems are a parametric compilation of objects – an electrical circuit or an HVAC unit with its ducts and diffusers – allowing load calculations. These systems do not currently translate into the IFC format.

Both the mechanical and the electrical engineers working on NLPS have received training from IES and the Autodesk resellers. This occurred at Project Services (Brisbane) and 4 staff members - currently working on Revit projects - were involved in this initial training. The PS team had some reservations about the training quality received from resellers and the adequacy of support (varies according to software). Processes were not documented because of the ‘pressures of time’ and - since experimentation was still ongoing - the PS team preferred to finish investigation then start documenting the processes. In principle, Project Services are intending for each discipline (a) to have ‘its own modelling manual’ which will form part of (b) Project Services guidelines (includes 2D manual, layers and folder structures) which is influenced by (3) ‘guidelines for staging and how to talk to each other - testing data transfers’ – the expected deliverable of the National Guidelines project.


Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES), refer to

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North Lakes Police Station

MODEL-BASED CONSTRUCTION Northbuild have their Head Office in Brisbane and ~300 people while Northbuild Project Manager is Sunshine Coast-based and that office takes all work north of Pine River. Informal feedback goes to Northbuild Project Manager from Northbuild Project Supervisor and then formally to monthly strategy company meetings.

The contract nominated BDS for structural steel detailing and indicated that shop drawings would be provided as part of the tender package. Also, the contract stipulated that ‘all steel must be cut and fabricated using CNC (Computer Numeric Control) technology’. At the time of the contract, one such company in Ipswich had the facility to perform fabrication using these CNC files as well as undertake steel erection. However and soon after the tender process has been finalised, the steel company ceased steel fabrication and focused on steel erection. The contractor was thus forced to subdivide the steel contract into two packages where separate companies (OneSteel12 and BrownSteel13) could perform the steel fabrication and erection respectively. It is worth noting that not all subcontractors were using BIM-enabled technologies. For the NLPS project, and in contrast to design-phase players, most construction players were still relying on printouts of typical CAD files.

Figure 8.

North Lakes Police Station site as appeared before and at the start of construction

The Northbuild Project Supervisor (a qualified Quantity Surveyor) was keen to be involved in 3D and BIM as an alternative approach to 2D drawings.

Figure 9.

12 13

North Lakes Police Station site as at mid-August 2008

OneSteel, refer to BrownSteel, refer to

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North Lakes Police Station

MODEL-BASED COST PLANNING Workflow The quantity surveyors (QS’s) from Project Services who were working on the North Lakes Police Station project consider ‘schematic design’ to be the most important project stage for cost planning. Similar to the architectural team on this pilot project, the cost planners also had two targets: to deliver an accurate cost estimate on-time, and to test BIM concepts. With respect to experimentation, the cost planners worked closely with a development/beta version of CostX from Exactal14. The new software allows two cost estimating approaches: (a) manual mode allowing quantification using standard DWG files and (b) a more automatic mode based on IFC models (was not yet ready under the reported Beta conditions). The cost planning exercise started by reviewing the ‘project brief’ - which included space allocations and other client requirements - then generating the project’s first cost estimate. The second estimate depended partially on the visual analysis of a basic 3D model (ArchiCAD) accessed through a viewer. The third cost estimating exercise was performed after the architects generated a more detailed model which included the structural steel (as done by BDS) and some mechanical, hydraulics and electrical information.

In other words, the final cost estimate still depended on computer-enhanced technologies and did not depend on the model to automatically generate quantities. The cost database (Rawlinsons15) did not integrate into the any of the software used but values were applied manually. Also cost estimation of some specialised services – such as security systems – were performed independently then provided to the cost planners. The cost planners indicated that they require much more detail at Schematic Design stage if they are to fully benefit from the BIM model. They argued that the availability of construction-level details early on in the project’s lifecycle will allow a two-stage only cost planning (at Briefing then Schematic Design). This holds true for projects of similar briefing, size and complexity. However, if the project is more complex, then cost planning will need to occur over more stages accordingly. Upon discussing Model-based cost planning, the following issues were highlighted for particular attention:  Two risks were identified that prevents the cost planners from relying more heavily on the Model: o The risk that some building objects are not actually modelled and thus will not be counted, and o The need for different modelling practices to allow accurate estimation (e.g. walls need not be modelled as single objects but as multiple objects built up along tradesperson lines).

This detailed model allowed the cost planners – using ArchiCAD and an IFC model viewer (DDS-Viewer) - to cut sections and perform visual checks where needed.

15 14

Exactal, refer to

Rawlinsons Australian Construction Handbook, refer to

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North Lakes Police Station  There are issues with Intellectual Property when it comes to Australian classification Systems and Cost Databases. Project Services’ cost planners are currently trying to add parametric information to elements based on the "AIQS Standard Elements” system. This system, based on the classification agreed on by the National Public Works Conference in 1979, is owned by AIQS16 and does not connect to any cost databases which in turn are considered ‘intellectual property’ of individual companies.

Software exploration  Project Services cost planners tested, and continue to test, many cost-planning software systems. Their investigation included Synchro17 , A3D18 and 19 Innovaya .

Specific training   Project Services cost planners received no specific training on software or on collaboration but were supported by internal and external talent working on the project.

 Elemental requirements for 4D planning (spatial 3D + time) and 5D (4D + cost) may go beyond current subdivisions of the IFC schema

 The Queensland State Government is mandating that all public buildings must achieve 4½ star energy rating. The cost planners believe that to meet governmental Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) requirements, more details will need to be included within the Models and the designers will be forced to chose materials early on during the schematic design stage. Including materials in models at the schematic design stage will meet cost planners requirement for ‘more details’ as ‘once they select the materials, that’s most of the details needed’.


Synchro Ltd, refer to Advanced 3D Technologies (A3D), refer to 19 Innovaya, refer to 18


The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS), refer to

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North Lakes Police Station

FOCUS ON PROJECT SERVICES The below sections highlight some important aspects of BIM-related 20 activities at QDPW Project Services21 seen through North Lakes Police Station project. The analysis is drafted from three perspectives: technology, process and policy.

Technology : Focus on Software  Software Selection  As a broad multidisciplinary organisation of around 250 staff members (with 75 or more architects), Project Services maintains expertise in ArchiCAD, Revit Architecture and AutoCAD across its multiple groups. Also, in groups outside the architectural domain spanning structural, mechanical, civil, electrical, estimating and fire services groups – an array of other software are also deployed. These include Revit Structure, Revit MEP, 12d Model, CostX, DDS (CAD and DDS), Solibri22, Riuska23, IES and a series of specialist software packages. These applications are selected from general-use modelling and simulation software plus those specifically chosen for their unique deliverables or their ability to interoperate with other packages.

Interoperability Project Services has made a strategic decision to experiment and deploy software that support the Industry Foundation Classes – the nonproprietary interoperable schema 20

Queensland Department of Public Works (QDPW), refer to 21 QDPW Project Services, refer to 22 Solibri, refer to 23 Granlund Riuska, refer to

developed and maintained by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI)24. This decision was made by senior management in an effort to allow design, analysis and simulation packages to leverage off one another thus generating added benefits from data exchanges between various packages. At current schema and software maturity levels, many software packages implement the ‘IFC standard’ yet generate results of varying quality. As a an example (at the time of conducting this investigation), the (unique) global user identifier (GUID) attached to each model-element is not always maintained by applications as they generate new file versions. The ability of an element to maintain its GUID across project phases is a fundamental criteria to maintain modelling integrity in versioning and analysis. Also, Project Services had to depend on labour-intensive techniques and the assistance of external specialists to map/translate objects from one application to another. Some of the many issues identified are: the inability – or lack of expertise in generating an IFC file from the Steel Detailers application (Tekla Structures) to match standard layers within the architects’ (ArchiCAD) the inability of Revit Architecture (2008 version) to export a subset of the model to the IFC format. This is now believed to have been remedied in the latest version. The inability to import/export “type of material” properties and other element metadata between different applications without significant loss of information. 24

International Alliance for Interoperability; refer to also known as buildingSmart, refer to

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North Lakes Police Station Dependence on 2D deliverables  Many Project Services staff currently use modelling – mainly ArchiCAD and the many Revit ‘flavours’ – to design, analyse and document, but still generate all their contractual deliverables in DWG and PDF - the ‘de-facto’ file exchange and printing formats. This holds true for NLPS’ Tender Set which was shown to be a compiled set of 2D drawings, schedules and specifications collated from the multiple discipline and subdisciplines. These 2D deliverables, although exported from 3D object-based models, assume the ‘master set’ name and overtake the model in importance and reference. It also generates a strong internal demand for 3D to 2D data translation, satisfied through built-in and purpose-written (XML) translators.

Integration There are efforts within Project Services to test and utilise ‘Model Servers’, a network-based solution to integrate multiple BIM models. In testing this type of technology, PS were initially communicating with a Brisbane-based company developing a model server solution called ActiveFacility25. As part of their approach, ActiveFacility provided an FTP link to PS to upload their project files and then mounted the information onto the server. Although data could then be ‘pulled-back’ when requested, direct access to the model server by Project Services or their external partners did not materialise and hence the system at the time of this investigation - was used more as a storage system than as a ‘model server’. Following that and in 2008, Project Services’ attention shifted to trialling the EDMServer ™26 (a model server solution from Finland) with the assistance of an external expert from the Queensland 25

ActiveFacility, refer to EDM Model Server™, refer to


University of Technology. The investigations were still at an early stage and it is difficult for this report to establish whether the solution has been successfully employed or benefits - to Project Services and their collaborating partners - have been identified.

Network communications  During the design phase of the North Lakes Police Station, the architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and civil/landscaping teams were co-located within the head office in Brisbane. Even one of the external project collaborators (BDS Group – Steel Detailers) has worked at that office and thus shared modelling data through the Local Area Network (LAN) unimpeded by firewalls or security considerations. After tender, the building contractor and their subcontractors - relatively new to digital workflows and BIM deliverables - initially had some difficulty handling and transmitting the larger IFC files generated by the design team. These stakeholders have since acknowledged the significance of accessing these files and the value-adding that model visualisation brings to the construction process. The issue of network bandwidth has proved challenging even behind Project Services’ firewall. As an organisation characterised by its spread over major centres in Queensland, Project Services utilises a Wide Area Network (WAN) to connect all offices and share a permission-controlled set of folders. Although the speed of this network is comparatively high (up to 10 Mbps), it may be less than required for the rapid interchange of large model files. Depending on software systems and processes employed, large amounts of data need to be moved across the network repetitively to allow modelbased collaboration. This may not be an issue for projects with small file-sizes

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North Lakes Police Station but as the projects increase in size, the impact of relatively slow networks can be significant. At Project Services, this has manifested itself in users opting to use email to exchange files between offices rather than depending on the shared – and much slower – folder structure. This of course threatens scalability of model-based projects and a technical resolution is being investigated by the Information Technology group within Project Services in liaison with application managers and external network providers.

training should focus on teaching best practices for these toolsets. This inhouse training provides information about computer-directory structures, basic file-naming conventions, sample project templates and how to set up projects to achieve best practice and uniformity across the organisation. In addition, some software tools and specific processes may be developed by PS and users will then receive customised training to increase efficiency, productivity and align processes and procedures.

Process: Focus on Training 

A specialised training facility with 16 CAD-enabled computers is available at the Brisbane Head Office. Each application manager has the responsibility to train selected staff to use the application under his/her supervision in half-day time blocks - to minimise disruption to ongoing project work. For architectural design, for instance, training in ArchiCAD is 4 hrs/day over 3 days. This training is then customised to each discipline’s requirements. For example, the architectural training is augmented by a focus topic on the use of the ArchiTerra plug-in27 (for ArchiCAD) allowing landscape architect staff to learn how to create and manage 3D terrain models.

Training Strategy  CAD and BIM training within Project Services does not follow a formal training strategy as per feedback received. However, the training delivery process appears to be responsive to either volunteering or nomination. That is, staff member may approach their manager and request specific training or by the manager requesting to up-skill a staff member/s in preparation for a pending project. With large staff numbers, multiple project types and geographical spread over many offices, Project Services has opted to implement many overlapping software packages - ArchiCAD and Revit Architecture for example – each with its own application ‘manager’ responsible for training and support. While this approach appears to provide higher project resourcing flexibility, it is unclear whether this has generated efficiencies or minimised staff specialisation.

The above training approach appear to have been adopted for the main BIM productivity tools deployed at Project Services (ArchiCAD and Revit – all types). However, the mechanisms for training on 12d Model, CostX, DDS, Solibri, Riuska, IES and other tools have not been formalised and may still be need to be investigated and evaluated.

Training Methods  Project Services’ approach is that training on the use of specific CAD and BIM toolsets should be provided by the originating software company or their local distribution channels while in-house


ArchiTerra Plug-in for Graphisoft® ArchiCAD®. Refer to

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North Lakes Police Station Support

In summary 

Application support for distributed users is typically provided by experienced application users from their work area or from the ArchiCAD or Revit Manager(s) based in Head Office. Using a ‘train the trainers’ approach, selected individuals in regional offices (e.g. Townsville, Toowoomba, …) have also been extensively trained allowing decentralised training.

The Project Services organisation is characterised by its spread across eight or more regional offices distributed throughout major centres in Queensland and a large Head Office in Brisbane. This geographical spread and multidisciplinary environment presents its as both an opportunity and a challenge. This co-locational variety allows the innovative alignment of varied disciplines around BIM using the same physical infrastructure, organisational hierarchy and project processes. The close proximity of staff wearing different hats is a boon to model-based collaboration as it allows quite rapid response times between different designers, engineers, documenters and other project participants ‘literally’ under the same roof. It is also quite challenging as the multiplicity of disciplines and sub-disciplines, and with each honing a different set of practices and software tools can generate an intense demand for workflow optimisation. Data exchanges and flows become of utmost importance in this partial microcosm of the AEC industry. Interoperability between all the applications used is prioritised as it cannot be assumed to be ‘someone else’s problem’ as that other player is ‘the engineer sitting five seats away from the architect’. Project Services, through a considered strategic decision, has not only tried to streamline the data flow but opted to test non-proprietary interoperable formats (namely IFCs) as a medium for that flow - an approach that generated as many solutions as challenges to all those involved in the model-based workflow.

Policy: Focus on Guidelines  Project Services have developed and continues to maintain a detailed set of CAD layering standards allowing them to streamline their CAD-based design and management processes. At the Head Office, the ArchiCAD manager has been appointed to maintain these CAD standards – which are also partly applicable within ArchiCAD - with the aim of progressively adding ‘best practice’ manuals covering the implementation, deployment and usage of BIM by various disciplines. To support BIM education and training, Project Services also has a basic intranet site containing a selection of training topics as well as a project showcase. There is also an internal ArchiCAD users Newsletter distributed monthly describing new tools and sample projects. It also acts as a motivator by highlighting a selected user and their BIM work. In addition to the above, Project Services is currently and actively pursuing a series of model-related guidelines focusing on workflow optimisation and data-exchange mechanisms.

How all these challenges will be addressed is not yet clear but this is not stopping Project Services and its collaborating partners from committing themselves to more challenges in the immediate future.

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North Lakes Police Station

A FINAL NOTE North Lakes Police Station project has provided its stakeholders with ample opportunities to investigate Building Information Modelling as a set of technologies, processes and policies. This pilot project has informed the activities of project stakeholders to undertake other, even more ambitious, BIM undertakings.

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Building Information Modelling

Case Study 2 Queensland State Archives Extension Project Contents Project overview ............................... 2 Case Study Participants ..................... 3  Contractor Organisation ..................... 4  Introduction of 4D........................... 4  Communication between offices ....... 4  Training and training culture............ 5  Project workflow and processes........... 6  The Design Process ........................ 6  The role of Value Management in State Archives’ design process ................. 7  The 4D Process................................. 8  Introduction of the 4D model ........... 8  Process of generating the 4D model.. 8  Modelling Details............................ 9  Using the 4D Model ...................... 10  Issues identified within this project’s approach to 4D modelling ............. 11  Benefits, risks and needed calibrations of the 4D process......................... 12  Cost quantification, estimation and savings....................................... 12  In Summary................................... 13 

Figure 1.

State Archives Extension Project – 3D view

This Case Study discusses some of the many experiences gained by project participants undertaking Queensland’s State Archives extension project in Runcorn. It explores the potential benefits and challenges of deploying Building Information Modelling and 4D solutions for design-construction collaboration. Many of these experiences are further elaborated upon within the ‘Lessons Learned’ section of this report.

This case study was conducted and analysed by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team as part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project sponsored by the CRCConstruction Innovation. The RMIT team would like to express its gratitude to all interviewees and those whose actions have greatly facilitated this effort. For more information about the project and project participants, please visit


PROJECT OVERVIEW The State Archives extension project started in June 2005 and is located next to the existing Archives building in Runcorn, Queensland (add map hyperlink). The new building is a fourstorey structure totalling around 11,000 m2 ($52M gross cost) and aims to double Queensland Archives’ storage capacity through adding nearly 54 kilometres of shelving plus public-use and administrative spaces. The complex which will house microfilm, audiovisuals and digital archives - is designed to withstand extreme conditions including earthquakes and cyclones. The archiving requirements elevate the internal environmental conditions to paramount importance. In essence, the extension project is a ‘substantial undertaking’ in many respects.

Other sections of Queensland Department of Public Works (QDPW)1 are also typically involved including the office responsible for contract management, tendering and purchasing which play a pivotal role on the ‘delivery side’ of the project. The project reached ‘practical completion’ in July 2008 and more about the Queensland’s State Archives is available on its website2.

Figure 3. Figure 2.

Existing Queensland State Archives building

The State Archives extension project is not a typical project with respect to its stakeholders. Many of its stakeholders are part of Queensland Government including the Design Team, Project Manager, Building Owner and Tenant (State Archives).

Queensland State Archives Project location © G o o g l e a n d M a p D a t a S c i en c e s

1 Queensland Department of Public Works (QDPW), refer to 2 Queensland State Archives website, refer to

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CASE STUDY PARTICIPANTS Four interviews were conducted covering the Architects, Project Manager’s, Builder’s and Modelling Service Provider’s roles within Queensland’s State Archives collaborative BIM project:

Architect at Project Services ‐ QDPW  The case study included an interview with the ‘Principal Consultant’ of the State Archives extension project who worked in close proximity with the Project Manager (Project Services). As a architectural Principal Consultant, his role revolved around design and managing the documentation team. (For more information about QDPW and Project Services, please refer to Case Study 1)

Project Manager  at  Project  Services  ‐  QDPW   With a Mechanical Services background, the Project Manager selected for the State Archives extension project is responsible for ‘managing the performance’ of the consultancy team especially those from outside Project Services - and ‘ensure that the client's requirements and the project brief are met’. During the tender process, the Project Manager typically became the first point of contact for all enquiries responsible for evaluating tender submissions in accordance with the Queensland State ‘Purchasing Policy’.

Construction Project  Manager  at  Laing  O’Rourke  Laing O’Rourke’s (LOR) Building Group is an expanding construction company with offices in many Australian cities, the UK and UAE. The Construction Project Manager assigned to the State Archives extension project had no previous experience in BIM solutions but was selected to lead this substantial construction project for his energy and enthusiasm to explore the possibilities of 3D, 4D and BIM. His role started after the tender process has been completed and he played a ‘hands-on’ role in managing the construction activities both onsite and through the virtual construction model.

Manager and  local  representative  of  Advanced 3D Technologies (A3D)  A3D was formed in 1999 and provides both 4D software and 4D modelling services to the industry. For more information about A3D (referred to as Modelling Service Provider in the remaining sections), please visit the company’s website3.

After conclusion of the tender process, the Superintendent Officer (from another section within QDPW) took over all contractual issues and the Project Manager fulfilled the role of ‘Client Representative’. 3 Advanced 3D Technologies, refer to

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CONTRACTOR ORGANISATION Laing O’Rourke’s (LOR) Building Group were awarded the contract to undertake the State Archives extension project. For general information about LOR, please refer to the organisation’s website4.

Introduction of 4D  BIM has been introduced into LOR’s workflow through a multi-directional push. This included a top-down innovation push from LOR’s management which ‘understood the importance of 3D/4D’ which they’ve been actively deploying in their UK branch in the past 8 or 9 years. In Australia, LOR’s offices benefited from the experiences of their UK counterparts who provided assistance and encouragement to adopt 4D. As part of this assistance, an engineer was despatched from the UK, conducted presentations and shared his knowledge with a group of senior staff in Australia. This encouragement - coupled with experiences gained through the State Archives extension project - resulted in a strategic commitment to implement 3D/4D technologies progressively. Also, and to keep abreast of pertinent changes, LOR’s management set up a committee to investigate future technological solutions including BIM/4D. In summary, LOR has seen the benefits of 4D and have already taken the strategic decision to deploy 4D whenever deemed possible (please refer to Case Study 5 – Bus Depot).

4 Laing O’Rourke, refer to

The interviewee reported that LOR will be moving to adopt Autodesk® Navisworks® as a preferred 4D solution after testing a few 4D solutions including the one used on this Case Study project. This has been apparently driven by UKbranch’s recommendation which found Navisworks’ models less demanding of their hardware. It has also been reported that LOR will be increasingly augmenting their 4D abilities through outsourcing some modelling capability to an affiliate company in India.

Figure 4.

Image showing existing building (left) and new extension of Queensland’s State Archives

Communication between offices  LOR staff use an intranet solution called iGate (by Eigen Technology Services5) to share project news but does not currently include any training or documentation/workflow guidelines. The intranet is complemented by a Document Management System (DMS) called TeamBinder6 used by LOR for email communications, document sharing and similar activities. TeamBinder is used internally within LOR as the organisation will regularly adopt whichever DMS is selected by its clients. 5 Eigen Technology Services, refer to 6 TeamBinder, refer to

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STATE ARCHIVES PROJECT For example, and for all projects relating to Project Services, LOR will use their eContractAdmin7 and, for all IKEA projects, they would use Citadon (now CTSpace8).

Training and training culture  When LOR started working on the State Archives extension project, two of their key staff were provided half a day of onthe-job training from novated Modelling Service Provider (Advanced 3D Technologies - A3D) which brought in a trainer from their main offices in the UK. With the exception of training received for this project and at the time of conducting this case study, LOR has no formal 4D or BIM-specific training program. In contrast, LOR has a structured training regime covering scheduling, communication, negotiation and contract law topics provided by both internal and external trainers. Also, and in a wider context, LOR-Australia provides scholarships to trades people (the interviewee was a recipient of such a scholarship) and works with universities (previously QUT9 and 10 currently UQ ) to develop and deliver relevant educational material.

It is beneficial to note that LOR does not currently employ engineers in-house in their Australia offices and rely on what it terms ‘service coordinators’ with specialised trade-based expertise. However and as a consequence of potential benefits by BIM/4D implementation, LOR are now ‘looking into’ hiring engineers and architects to augment their deliverables and provide a more complete service to their construction clients.

Figure 5.

State Archives Extension Project after practical completion, September 2008

7 eContract Admin, refer to 8 Citadon CTSpace, refer to 9 Queensland University of Technology, refer to 10 University of Queensland, refer to

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PROJECT WORKFLOW AND PROCESSES The Design Process  Project Services developed the project Briefing Document with the client over a period of 6 months and included spacing requirements, circulation and the like.

When it came to documenting at smaller scales, parts of the model were extracted and details where generated using 2D AutoCAD.

The starting point for the brief was that the new State Archives building should be double in size as compared to the existing one and should cost around $50 million. This ‘briefing’ or conceptual design period followed an ESD assessment and included a ‘Massing Model’ done in ArchiCAD. This early model had 3 options which were then used to run a ‘value management’ exercise to determine the best possible design and cost options. This value management exercise, run by an outside facilitator, included the consultancy team and ran for a day or so. The early model was then used to generate areas which were compared manually with the brief – which was called the “Project Definition Plan (PDP)”. After that, the model then started to evolve through the addition of walls, windows and contextual design relationship between the new site and the older building. Design decisions were then made about the character of the building including materials, wall types and roof pitches. The Design Team which included 4 staff members: a recent graduate, a student, a highly experienced detailer and the principal consultant (the interviewee) used hand-sketching then ArchiCAD to model the building and generate plans, sections and elevations at a large scale (1:100 and above).

Figure 6.

Views inside the new building after practical completion

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STATE ARCHIVES PROJECT The role of Value Management in  State Archives’ design process  The Value Management process was instrumental in optimising the design of the State Archives’ extension project. One main result of this process was a reduction of building height from 4 to 3 floors based on an exercise involving the whole team working on the project (within PS) plus a ‘Material Handling Specialist’ providing input towards the end of the schematic design phase. The specialist consultant (from Sydney) analysed the storage systems’ requirements and optimised the design with respect to storage, accessibility, security and other relevant criteria. Working through 2D Floor Plan documentation, he provided his recommendation back to the designer instigating a significant change in building design and a substantial reduction in cost . Although similar services are available through major shelving companies (like Brown Built11) ,PS opted to use an independent consultant to avoid nominating specific brands of shelving/storage components early-on in the project.

The design team at PS then used the specialist’s layout and equipment heights to model storage units (shelves and other elements) on a typical floor. The modelling was done generically and was used to visually coordinate services and make sure mechanical, electrical and fire services were well located and coordinated using information provided by Project Services’ engineers. This modelling effort was undertaken by the architectural team as the engineering department had no modelling capacity at that early BIM adoption stage (2005). When the modelling capacity changed at a later stage, services were remodelled later on by the mechanical department using ArchiCAD Ductwork.

Figure 8.

Figure 7.

Services Resolved: as built piping and ducting which were coordinated through the 4D model

State Archives storage systems


Brown Built, refer to

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Project Services should be credited for driving 4D investigations for the Queensland State Archives extension project. PS has mandated 4D delivery – through the tendering agreements – as a mandated deliverable/process and also novated the Modelling Services Provider (MSP) for potential engagement and assistance on the 4D aspects of this project.

Using ‘3D modelling with an elemental approach’ (object-based modelling), the model has the ability to provide some surety about project costs provided enough pricing information are embedded into the model.

Introduction of the 4D model  The discussions of using 4D started only one month before tender. This was driven by Project Services’ management which was exposed to the potentials of 4D through a presentation conducted by the modelling services provider. PS then worked to convince other project stakeholders – mostly governmental departments – to test 4D technologies and processes. According to the Principal consultant, having many ‘governmental’ stakeholders – the owner, operators, designers and engineers - allowed project participants to ‘convince each other’ to explore 4D. Such an agreement to experiment and innovate would likely have been more difficult – again according to the principal consultant - if most participants were commercially driven entities focusing on short term cost-benefits. To enable this experimentation, PS had to commit an additional amount (around $200,000) not initially included in the budget. This ‘investment’ was partially driven - according to the State Archives’ Project Manager at PS – by the governmental clients who want to have ‘a fairly good assurance of cost’ at Schematic Design stage.


QDPW Project Services, refer to

Figure 9.

State Archives Extension Project - 4D Model view

Process of generating the 4D model  The 4D model was generated and maintained by the Modelling Service Provider rather than through the purchase of a dedicated modelling software package. The 4D modelling was done in the UK and project stakeholders were provided access to it through a dedicated model viewer. Although a basic architectural model was developed at Project Services during the early design phases, it was deemed inappropriate by the Modelling Service Provider (MSP). PS then provided the MSP with 2D CAD drawings of all needed

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STATE ARCHIVES PROJECT structural, mechanical and hydraulics information and it remodelled the whole building using its own 3D DWG-based application, linked it to a dedicated MS Project file and provided the 4D file and a dedicated 4D viewer – called PAL viewer - to the architect, project manager and contractor. All modelling was done by the MSP - a process that took nearly 6 months to complete for the project – but both LOR and PS received a few deliverables within the first month. These early deliverables were low in detail and proved unusable as the MSP was contracted (paid a set fee) to generate what it terms a ‘Level 2’ service. It then received a variation and the MSP generated a ‘Level 3’ more detailed model (refer to Modelling Details section below). During the construction process and as modifications to the model were needed, the MSP would then remodel the needed parts and ‘upload changes to the web’.

To understand these modelling detail levels better, at A3D’s Level 1, columns are modelled as a single group (single task), columns are modelled independently at Level 2 (number of tasks equal number of columns) while at Level 3 each object may have more than one task assigned to it. It follows that the higher number of tasks/objects created within the 4D model, the more it lends itself to be managed flexibly. For example, it is more flexible to manage each column at Ground Floor as an independent task rather than all columns at the same floor as one object/task. It is even more flexible to add three different tasks/states to each independent column and allow these to change appearance according to each state. For example, at the MSP’s highest modelling level, elements will change colour according to their state onsite: columns will be a certain colour if they are being ‘formed’; another for ‘steel has been added’; and a third colour for ‘concrete poured’.

Modelling Details 

To shed more light on the 4D process, below are a few more details:

Each object inside the 4D model was linked to a task/activity within the Gantt chart (the Modelling Service Provider used MS Project13 to manage the tasks and their relations). The separation of objects within the model follow the MSP’s three different service/modelling levels: ‘Level 1’ is the most basic separation of construction objects while ‘Level 3’ subdivides the model into much smaller parts each linked to its own task. As discussed, initially the MSP was contracted to provide mid-level detailing (Level 2) and then was paid a variation to subdivide the model into smaller parts (Level 3) after the contractor realised that they needed more details.


Microsoft® Office Project, refer to

 The contractor Laing O’Rourke (LOR) first prepared a detailed construction programme based on the contractual agreement/programme signed with the client and represented by Project Services (PS).  The modelling service provider Advanced 3D Technologies (A3D) after receiving LOR’s programme generated their own programme which is even more detailed than LOR’s. For example and on one hand, LOR had subdivided ‘slabs’ into three separate ones (A, B and C) and assigned a single task (FormReoPour) to each of these slabs. On the other hand, A3D’s programme will break the FormReoPour task into 3 subtasks for each slab: FormSlabA, ReoSlabA and PourSlabA. This caused the

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STATE ARCHIVES PROJECT number of schedulable tasks to triple in number: LOR’s programme had an average of 4000 tasks while A3D’s had around 12000 tasks. According to the contractor, ‘even the banding of polished concrete blocks’ was represented into the 4D model/programme.  The 4D model included some of the civil earth works. For example, the ‘fill’ was modelled as an independent element/task so it can be removed as a whole once the actual excavation has been performed.  Plant equipment like cranes and scaffolds were modelled and listed as tasks like any other building.  No human activity (location of human assets, circulation, OHS, etc...) were represented in the 4D model.  As the building was being constructed, Project Services needed to change the building design by subdividing the new extension into two levels and extending vertical circulation. The 4D model was updated to reflect the design and programme changes.  At that 4D experimentation stage, Elemental Costs were not included within the model although – technically – the modelled objects had ‘custom fields’ to allow inclusion of cost data.  The Structural Steel was modelled by PS but not included or remodelled into the 4D model.  One of the drivers for increasing modelling detail up to A3D’s level 3 was LOR’s requirements to include mechanical elements, discover duct penetrations and perform clashdetection between different services. It is important to note that both the mechanical engineer (Project

Services) and the ducting subcontractor (JLWilliams14) generated their own 3D model. Only that of the mechanical engineer made it to the 4D model (please refer to lessons learned for more information).

Using the 4D Model  The contractor (LOR) took possession of construction site at the same time as the modelling service provider (A3D) was engaged to generate the 4D model. Both LOR and Project Services (PS) started sending the modelling service provider the necessary 2D drawings as construction work was progressing. The contractors quickly realised (refer to Lessons Learned) that generating the 4D model should have been done well prior to taking possession of building site to allow better construction planning. As the model was being generated by A3D, LOR continuously communicated ‘build-ability’ and ‘sequencing’ of construction elements to the A3D team. The 3D model was then linked to an MS Project file jointly developed by A3D’s modellers and LOR’s professional schedulers. These schedulers (or programmers) usually work alongside construction project managers and provide consultation on how to speed progress up and decide - if there is a problem with one of the activities onsite - how to modify the programme to stay within the ‘critical path’. After the 4D model had been generated, the typical workflow for the contractor was to visit the construction site, discover what had been built (say columns), go back to his/her office, open the A3D model and select the same columns inside the model. S/he would then use the ‘show me items’ command and the programme would identify the 14

James L. William, refer to

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STATE ARCHIVES PROJECT corresponding column activities allowing the user to update the completion date. Also, the 4D model – as developed by A3D - has the ability to be displayed as baseline and as actual which allows the comparison of as-planned and asconstructed respectively. In any case, the 4D model of the State Archives extension project was not developed to ‘Level 3’ until late in the construction period.

Issues identified within this  project’s approach to 4D modelling  The State Archives’ 4D model was developed and maintained by an external Modelling Service Provider (MSP). This presented the stakeholders with operational benefits as well as procedural challenges. On the positive side, neither the design nor construction teams needed to purchase specialised software or train their staff to generate 4D models (3D models integrated with task schedules). On the negative side and since the MSP was located within a significantly different time-zone (UK), the window of ‘real-time communication’ between the designer, contractor and the MSP was very narrow (3hrs). This was later remedied by the availability of an Australian-based the MSP’s contact manager. Some of the other issues identified are listed below:

 Since no mobile 4D technologies were deployed, other inefficiencies were identified. For example, the contractor had to (a) carry hardcopies on site to highlight construction changes by hand then (b) return to the site office to digitally update the model then (3) upload/email the changed model to the common store. It’s worth noting that although LOR was contractually obliged to update the 4D model fortnightly, the contractor found benefit in updating it weekly and even every few days  Ownership of the 4D Model is not clear as A3D owns the software used to generate the State Archives 4D model (technology based on a proprietary format – DWG). A3D has also provided the 4D Model as a service while the Model Viewer was made available through a tightlycontrolled licensing arrangement. It is thus arguable that the model is owned by the Modelling Service Provider while the construction programme - used to generate the tasks within the 4D model is arguably owned by the contractor. In summary, ownership of the model has not been stipulated in the contractual arrangements and is thus not clear.

 Project stakeholders had to wait a significant amount of time between the ‘end of design’ and the availability of a detailed 4D model (refer to lesson learned).  The technologies used are disjointed and there are significant losses in productivity. For example, the software used by the designer (ArchiCAD) was incompatible with the one used by the MSP (DWG-based modeller). This meant that the MSP had to recreate the model from scratch and rely on 2D CAD drawings.

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STATE ARCHIVES PROJECT Benefits, risks and needed  calibrations of the 4D process  The Principal Consultant at Project Services indicated that visualisation – as a communication language - is one of the greatest benefits of 4D. This is evidenced in the 4D model representing 5000 lines of tasks in the Gantt chart and allowing the comparison of projected progress against actual construction using colours and other visual attributes. With respect to risks, there were some early pre-emptive discussions between PS and LOR to ensure that there are no contractual issues arising from using 4D technology. The adoption of these new technological and procedural solutions were made easier because the project was ‘always running ahead of time’. With respect to possible calibrations of the 4D process, the principal consultant at PS identified that the 4D model used did not include all programmable information required to manage the project. For example, the 4D model did not show any information relating to offsite activities like shop drawing generation, inspections, sample approvals and offsite manufacturing. These activities - typically represented on the Gantt chart - were absent from the 4D model which meant that consultants had to keep both programmes (one within the 4D model and the other outside it) running concurrently and thus needing continuous manual coordination. Another possible calibration was identified by PS’s Project Manager. He explained that setting up modelling protocols early within the 4D process is of paramount importance to reflect ‘constructability’. Once constructability is established, other factors relating to planning and cost-control should be added to enable analysis of cost claims, vet them against

on-site progress and compare baseline costs to actual costs incurred.

Cost quantification, estimation and  savings  The 4D model did not play any role in cost estimation and the payment process. Even after deploying a 4D model to perform construction planning and reporting, claims were still based on ‘percentage-completed’ documents submitted by the builder though the document management system. The Quantity Surveyor, part of the PS consultancy package/team, had to visit the building site, walk with the builder and assess construction works. Although the model was not used for generating quantities, cost estimation or cost planning, it has shown a significant potential in judging cost claims. As a case in point, one delay cost-claim was rejected by the project manager after comparing the actual task with the baseline programme within the 4D model. However, another claim for additional costs was upheld as the model identified the additional work needed and that it was due to latent conditions.

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IN SUMMARY According to the Principal Consultant, PS has used the standard schedule provided by the Builder until the 4D model was generated . Once made available, ‘the model became the contractual programme’. The 4D model was used as a communication and planning tool by the designer, project manager and builder during the post-tender construction process. The collaborative and visual nature of the 4D model allowed progress claims/ reports to be assessed in a more rapid and accurate fashion. As for speed, it generally took only half an hour every week to update the 4D model to reflect actual on-site conditions. With respect to accuracy, the 3D model allowed different states to be reported. For example, the concrete columns were modelled to reflect three different states: ‘formed’, ‘reo added’ and ‘poured’.

The simplicity of this process and the accuracy of the 4D model has thus assisted the project manager to judge whether a progress payment is warranted or not. It also allowed the project manager to monitor progress ‘by the element’. The benefits of the 4D model also extended beyond reaching the practical completion milestone (July 2008). The model is still occasionally consulted to check previous construction states (or ‘time snapshots’ ) and to review change logs. In Summary, it was not clear whether the client has quantified any costsavings through using 4D but it was evident that PS and other Queensland government departments has invested in investigating and delivering the 4D model. The interviewees have all found 4D very useful in communicating constructability and allowing the builder to better coordinate site works, procurement and delivery. One interviewee - after working with the model and seeing the results - felt that the BIM, 4D and 5D route ‘is the only way to go’.

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Building Information Modelling

Case Study 3 1 Bligh Street

Contents Project overview ............................... 2 Case study participants ...................... 3  The Architects .................................. 4  The transition from CAD to BIM........ 4  Choosing a BIM software ................. 5  BIM benefits .................................. 6  BIM training .................................. 7  BIM manual .................................. 8  Technical support ........................... 8  Project teams ................................ 8  The model ....................................... 9  Multidisciplinary BIM collaboration .. 10  Structural Engineers ........................ 13  BIM background .......................... 13  BIM benefits ................................ 13  The structural BIM model .............. 14  Architect and Structural Engineer model-based collaboration............. 14  BIM training ................................ 15  Structural analysis packages.......... 15  Services Engineers .......................... 18  People’s attitude to BIM ................ 19  The Contractor ............................... 20 

Figure 1.

3D render of the main access.

Image courtesy Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects.

This Case Study discusses the experiences of consultants and contractor as they undertake their first multidisciplinary BIM project. The project is a premium CBD high-rise office building located in a top location in Sydney.

BIM benefits ................................ 20 Sub-contractors ........................... 21  Interoperability ............................ 21  Training ...................................... 21  In Summary ................................... 22 

This case study was conducted and analysed by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team as part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project sponsored by the CRCConstruction Innovation. The RMIT team would like to express its gratitude to all interviewees and those whose actions have greatly facilitated this effort. For more information about the project and project participants, please visit



plans to use the as-built BIM model for Facility Management (FM) purposes. 1 Bligh Street is located at the ‘valley’ created by the Macquarie Street ridge and the tall buildings in and around George Street.

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Figure 2.

3D render of 1 Bligh Street building within its context. Image courtesy Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects.

Named after its location, 1 Bligh Street is a 30 storey, premium CBD high-rise office building, located in a prominent location in Sydney, Australia. Upon completion, 1 Bligh Street will be a 42,000m2 development with an estimated cost of AUD$230 million. The building has the potential to achieve a 5star ABGR (Australian Building Greenhouse Rating) and 6-star Green Star Rating without sacrificing IEQ (Indoor Environment Quality). 1 Bligh Street is one of the first commercial projects in Australia to implement multidisciplinary Building Information Modelling (BIM) collaboration. BIM played an important role in the documentation and simulation of the project which contributed to its distinctive design and ambitious performance. The use of BIM was set as a client requirement which was included in the contract. Ultimately, the client

Figure 3.

Project location

© G o o g l e a n d M a p D a t a S c i en c e s

The site context and its potentially wide range of far reaching views were an important factor determining the elliptical shape of the building and its orientation.

Figure 4.

Urban study

Image courtesy Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects.

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In this case study a total of 10 participants were interviewed across four companies. The interviews took place between June and July 2008 in Sydney and Melbourne. The interviews were concerned with a variety of topics within the process, technology and policy areas surrounding BIM.

Consultant Architects Architectus1

The interviews focused on the architects as the consultants leading BIM in this project. Nevertheless, the consulting team, together with the contractor were also interviewed to document and analyse their experiences whilst collaborating with BIM.

Interviewees Design Technology Director Design Director Project Architect Modeller

Structural Engineers Enstruct2


Services Engineers Arup3 Contractor Grocon4

Director Modeller BIM Manager

BIM Manager

Design Manager


Architectus, refer to: 2 Enstruct, refer to: 3 Arup, refer to: 4 Grocon, refer to:

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Figure 5.

Conceptual sketches of 1 Bligh Street building.

Image courtesy Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects.

A novel design proposal by Architectus and Ingenhoven5 was chosen the winner (amongst another eleven submissions) of the DB RREEF / City of Sydney design competition for 1 Bligh Street. As part of the design competition, collaboration between design firms was requested and architects were asked to collaborate with other practices, particularly at the environmental level. As noted by the Architectus Design Director: “we search, found and selected Ingenhoven to collaborate with us primarily on the basis of their architecture, the compatibility of our organisations and our view, and their experience on double skins façades in particular.” Ingenhoven’s experience with double skin façades was a success factor in achieving the high environmental objectives set for the project.

However, collaboration between the two companies needed to be carefully managed, especially when Architectus is located in Sydney and Ingenhoven in Dusseldorf, Germany. Besides their geographic separation, the two companies also needed to manage the differences between their documentation methodologies. Whilst Architectus had at the time completed six constructed projects using BIM (BIM Stage 1 – see Glossary) and over five years steadily perfecting their BIM procedures, Ingenhoven had no experience with BIM. Early in the project it was considered that undertaking technology and methodology transfer from Architectus to Ingenhoven would have added problems and risks to the project and thus the idea was discarded. The decision was taken that Ingenhoven was to document 1 Bligh Street as they normally would using Bentley 6 Microstation® (without a BIM approach) and forward it to Architectus. Then, the latter firm would coordinate the documentation into the BIM model. Halfway into the documentation Ingenhoven considered adopting BIM, but it was deemed too risky and the idea was abandoned for this project. Since Ingenhoven were not the drivers for BIM on 1 Bligh Street they were not interviewed as part of this case study.

The transition from CAD to BIM  Although Architectus had a heavily customised CAD platform (still used in some projects) which contains tens of thousands of lines of customised code, they were looking for a process to better document their projects and saw BIM as a way to achieve it. The architects tried several applications and even ran an entire project in


Ingenhoven, refer to:


Bentley Microstation®, refer to:

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1 BLIGH STREET Autodesk Architectural Desktop® (ADT). Whilst ADT was not regarded as proper BIM software by the Design Technology Director, it was considered an evolutionary path into BIM. At the time, it was believed that a good (low risk) way to move from CAD to BIM was to adopt the CAD approach offered by ADT and benefit from their already developed skills as high-end users of AutoCAD. However, as commented by the Design Technology Director: “BIM requires a revolution, you cannot do it with evolution and if you attempt to incrementally adopt BIM in small steps you will not succeed in implementing it. Ultimately, BIM is a disruptive technology and you have to take the pain of the disruption at some point.” Once the decision was made to go straight into BIM the transition proved to be ‘surprisingly easy’ and smoother than an incremental transition through ADT.

like Revit or ArchiCAD. It was also perceived that Digital Project was not conceived originally as an architectural design application (evolved from 10 CATIA ) and was regarded as better suited for construction processes and manufacture.

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On the other hand, the architects perceived that Revit offered advantages to them over ArchiCAD in that the former offered a complete suite of BIM applications for multidisciplinary collaboration (structural and services) and allowed them to stay within the range of Autodesk products. Architectus have fully adopted Revit Architecture as their BIM solution and used version 2008 to document the 1 Bligh Street project.

Flexibility (being able to leave things behind), together with choosing the right staff and project were identified as key to a successful BIM implementation.

Choosing a BIM software  From Architectus’ point of view there were only five software packages that could be labelled as BIM applications: Autodesk Revit® Architecture7, Graphisoft ArchiCAD®8 and Digital Project®9. Digital Project was regarded as a niche market software that lacked the user base of more commercial systems which could have an impact on the infrastructure of user groups, staff, training and content (families / libraries) which are available for other systems

Figure 6.

Section of 1 Bligh Street done in Revit.

Image courtesy Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects.


Autodesk Revit® Architecture, refer to: 8 Graphisoft ArchiCAD ®, refer to: 9 Gehry Technologies, Digital Project, refer to:

Case Study 3


CATIA, refer to:

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1 BLIGH STREET Although version 2009 was already available at the time of the interview, Architectus had not installed it yet. One of the major impediments for upgrading was reviewing the library content, a process overviewed by the Design Technology Director and done prior to each upgrade. Nevertheless, the Design Technology Director believes that opposed to CAD upgrades ”where the painful process of upgrading offers marginal value”, there are always compelling reasons to move to a new version of any BIM platform, “just because the improved features are worth having”.

BIM benefits  Most of the BIM benefits experienced by Architectus are related to a better understanding of the design through 3D visualisation and fast access to accurate data. “Now that we are using BIM, I can say that the answer to ‘why BIM?’ is because it is a better process, more efficient, more cost effective, less prone to errors and has enormous number of side benefits in terms of feedback loops, information that you get earlier in the project, [and] not going down the wrong path because everybody has the same understanding of what the design is. But all those benefits are not necessarily apparent when you are considering whether to move to BIM or not.” - Design Technology Director, Architectus

“What BIM does for us is that it gives us more control architecturally. We know where everything is all of the time, in real time. That equals control, which equals accurate information back to the client or everybody else for that matter.” - Project Architect, Architectus

“BIM improves the quality and coordination of documentation. Thus, could create better buildings because we spend more time on important aspects of the building rather than on the mundane aspects.” - Design Director, Architectus Following is a list of benefits experienced by Architectus as a result of implementing BIM on 1 Bligh Street and other projects. It is worth noting that 1 Bligh Street is the first project done by the practice using multidisciplinary BIM collaboration (BIM Stage 2 – see Glossary), thus the benefits of this type of collaboration are yet to be corroborated and the following benefits are mostly related to BIM Stage 1 implementation. Even if used without multidisciplinary collaboration, from an architectural point of view BIM is a very successful way of documenting complicated buildings. As noted by the Project Architect, BIM “helps the client quite quickly to understand the feasibility studies and what the full impact of those might be. It informs the decision making process, so it speeds that up. Some of our clients might focus on the numbers so BIM allows them to see their numbers in a third dimension and understand some bigger impacts. That helps us a lot. Architecturally BIM is very successful”.

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1 BLIGH STREET BIM can also assist understanding the scope of what people are required to which in return reduces improves the coordination working on site.

in better works and do on site, waste and of trades

time. Further, a major problem with BIM still remains: ‘selling it’, getting the client to pay for it. The Project Architect believes that the best way to ‘sell BIM’ is by making the client understand its benefits.

In the case of commercial buildings, like 1 Bligh Street, floor space area analysis is very important. With BIM the architects are able to do FSA (Floor Space Area) schedules and forward them to their clients with an accuracy and speed unmatched by traditional CAD systems. As noted by the Project Architect: “I can create FSA schedules straight away and visually display those areas to the client, which improves the collaboration and relationship back and forth. Actually, I got good feedback from the client on Bligh Street. He told me he has asked the same thing to other architects and it takes them a week to come back, because they do it on CAD.”

BIM training 

Whilst the architects perceived that there is a risk in modelling every corner of the building, it also means that they can reduce the amount of RFIs (Request For Information) through better understanding and visualisation of the building. On another project (1 Bligh Street was not under construction at the time of the interview), Architectus were able to considerably reduce the amount of RFIs because they “modelled every corner that normally nobody ever sees and we can chop it off and send it off. That improves the efficiency of the project. That could never be underrated, that is probably the best thing you get out of BIM. It is proactive, informative. Everything that you want for the guy onsite.”

- Design Technology Director, Architectus

However, as noted by the Design Director, the benefits are not immediately experienced and are the result of considerable investment and were achieved over a long period of

The architects training approach is that “you cannot learn Revit, you need to experience it, you need to live with Revit.” Thus, Architectus favour on-thejob-learning over sending staff to training courses. “The best training is the one that gives you answers to questions you have right now on current projects. Also, the best person to assist you is the one sitting next to you provided he or she can help. It’s much better solution to rely on someone who knows the project and knows the deadline instead of sending someone to a (training) course.”

Given that this training strategy requires a balance between people with good Revit experience and less experienced (at the modelling level), Architectus’ strategy has an impact on how project teams are put together. The Design Technology Director also stressed that BIM-oriented training is considered different and handled differently to CAD training: “With CAD you learn lines, arc, circles; very simple; and everything else is built from it. In Revit you model components that behave differently as their real world analogues do.” Thus, an understanding of how all the disparate building elements are put together is integral to learning BIM. As a consequence, training is not only limited to the usage of the software, but to the understanding of building components.

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1 BLIGH STREET As declared by the leading modeller of 1 Bligh Street: “[With BIM] I have to constantly think about how things are being built, so I’m not just drawing some lines in 2D. I’m really understanding the way that the building has to work, so from an understanding point of view [BIM] is incredibly more beneficial than drawing in 2D.”

BIM manual  The Design Technology Director has documented most of the office Revit procedures and has composed an extensive manual (370 pages) in PDF format which is accessible via the internal network. However, it is not expected that everyone reads this extensive manual. The architects approach to the manual is far from being a mere set of instructions put together to achieve something. It is rather considered as an encyclopaedia which gathers know-how knowledge as well as solutions to previously encountered problems. Thus, it is encouraged that people refer first-stop to the manual when a problem arises. As acknowledged by its author the manual, despite its length, does not cover everything. According to the Design Technology Director, the challenge of producing a good comprehensive manual is that BIM is non-linear and one thing relates to many others: “If you start to write about something it goes all over the place. You can’t consider areas without thinking about schedules, area plans, colour schemes, etc. But colour schemes could be related to views, not areas and so on.” Even though the manual is regarded as a good starting point to troubleshoot problems, it is not considered a requirement for a successful implementation.

Technical support  When a Revit-related problem arises in the office, the staff first tries to resolve it within their team by asking more experienced users and/or by consulting the manual described previously. If still unresolved, the problem then goes to the Design Technology Director. If he cannot resolve it, he contacts their Autodesk reseller (AEC Systems11). This approach, complemented by online forums (e.g. RevitCity12), has allowed the company to resolve most, if not all, of their Revit-related problems.

Project teams   Architectus form their project teams primarily based on the specific staff experience on the type of project. BIM knowledge, and more specifically Revit experience, is considered a factor (especially with junior staff), but not a decider in who is in a specific project team. Senior members of the team are selected based on their project capabilities. Junior staff have a mixed level of experience so that they can learn from each other as previously explained in the training section. The 1 Bligh Street team is composed of senior staff with sufficient projectspecific experience, one Revit leader (who learnt the software in the office) and then a few other members with different Revit experience so that the team’s skill level could improve together. The overall BIM approach is supervised by the Design Technology Director.


AEC Systems, refer to: 12 RevitCity, refer to:

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THE MODEL The main model of 1 Bligh Street was developed by Architectus and then shared with the consultants. However, as further described in more detail, the only model-based multidisciplinary collaboration was between the architect and the structural engineer.

easier to modify provided content rather than creating it from scratch. Architectus also have a decentralised approach to content creation and believe that the majority of the people in the office should be able to create content as they need it, and they do. However, all created content goes through a quality check process and it is reviewed every year, or when an upgrade to a newer version is done. As previously described, this checking process is what is stopping (in part) the upgrade to the new release of Revit.

Detail level of the model  One of the major problems that the architects had on the 1 Bligh Street model was to define its level of detail, as stated by the Project Architect: “you need to choose your level of detail very carefully, and it is not prescribed. It is trial and error.” Still, Architectus have identified three factors that help define the level of detail required in the model: 1) the information that is expected to be taken out of the model, 2) the purpose of the model and 3) how the model will evolve.

Figure 7.

2D view of 1 Bligh Street model.

Image courtesy Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects.

In the opinion of the Design Technology Director their adopted BIM software has a good out-of-the-box content (families): “There is one of everything. It might not be the one that you want, but is a good starting point; you can then just modify it.” The architects also rely on online communities as well as other sources including user groups for content development. However, the content acquired via these channels does not necessarily align with the architects system. Still, they found it

Putting aside the redundant amount of work that unnecessary detailing creates, over detailing can also unnecessarily increase the file size of the model which, amongst other problems, can (as experienced by the Project Architect): “slow down the model to the point that you cannot use it efficiently.” The Design Technology Director is optimistic that the performance of their BIM system will increase when running on a 64-bit platform. The big file-size of 1 Bligh Street (300 MB at the time of the interviews) created problems for the design team: “it takes 10 minutes for the file to ‘boot up’ and appear on the screen” and made navigating and doing changes to the

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1 BLIGH STREET model a slow process and sometimes even hindered it: “right now we want to rotate the building and we can’t do that because of the file size and all that is linked to it”, said the Project Architect. Architectus have implemented three strategies to balance the size of the model without compromising the required level of detail. First, only typical floors are detailed. Second, they rely on 2D line work for detailing anything over 1:20 scale drawings. Finally, they create different models for different purposes. Although this last approach contradicts the principle of BIM (a single model/database), this ‘hybrid’ approach allowed them to produce different models with different level of detailing depending on their use. Thus, they had a main model, used for documentation and collaboration with other consultants, and other models for high-end rendering.

Multidisciplinary BIM collaboration  As mentioned earlier in this piece, multidisciplinary collaboration using the BIM model only occurred between the Architect and the Structural Engineer. For this, both parties benefited from using the same suite of Revit solutions (Architecture and Structure). As further explained in the Structural Engineers section, importing and exporting between the two disciplines was seamless and did not require the use of Industry Foundation Classes (IFC - see Glossary). In an attempt to achieve the highest level of interoperability between packages (outside the Autodesk products) a BIM consultant on behalf of the client suggested the use of IFCs on 1 Bligh Street. Thus, an IFC approach together with the implementation of a centralised IFC server was proposed early in the project. However, Architectus considered that an IFC server would require additional resources not included within the scope of the project (e.g. dedicated server and additional software licences). Furthermore, in-house ‘IFC round-trip’ experiments done by Architectus using the 1 Bligh Street model highlighted the current limitations of this technology.

Figure 8.

Internal render of 1 Bligh Street.

Image courtesy Architectus and Ingenhoven Architects.

“We did a separate 3D model for the [Development Application] submission and for the competition to get the best visual quality out”. - Project Architect, Architectus.

One of the first problems identified in these experiments was the large file size that IFCs generate. Given that IFC models are uncompressed and not optimised files (usually 4 times the original file size) they are difficult and slow to manage. This proved troublesome for a file that was already considered too big – even in its native format. There was also a considerable amount of (extra) time required to generate an IFC file. As revealed by the Design Technology Director: “The time that this

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1 BLIGH STREET process takes [using IFCs] is at least 3 hrs between transfers, 3 hours compared to nothing [when transferring from Revit Architecture to Revit Structure]”. The architects also experienced data degradation when exporting to IFCs. They attributed this to the fact that Revit has more categories than IFC classes, creating data loss in the process. For example, in the experiments done on 1 Bligh Street curtain wall mullions were fused with glass in the model. Architectus considered that in a project like 1 Bligh Street, where they feel that technology is being pushed to the very limits of its current capabilities, they could not afford to add a developing process to their workflow. Thus, they considered it too risky to introduce IFCs in a commercial project.

Management purposes. However, it is not a requirement that the Contractor uses a BIM model during the construction stage and could do an ‘asbuilt’ model at the end of the project. Nevertheless, the Contractor is aware of the potential benefits of using the model during construction and prefers to use the model during this stage. However, this requires a well thought through communications plan and careful management of the model. Architectus have developed the following BIM conceptual model for 1 Bligh Street that would allow the Contractor to use the BIM model for construction. A key component of this model is the BIM manager.

In addition to these issues, IFC as a term (let alone the technology) is not widely understood in the industry. When the architects offered to export the model in an ‘IFC format’, people did not understand what they were talking about: “[When we said to people] ‘We can export to IFC...[They replied] into what?!, What is an IFCs? How can we use it? –no one understood that”, said the Project Architect.

Intellectual property  The architects were aware of potential loss of Intellectual Property (IP) by sharing the model with other organisations. Hence, they have developed a ‘BIM Deed’, a legal document prepared by their solicitors. This document established the rules of sharing models and their content, between consultants.

BIM manager role  In this project, the builder contractually needs to supply a BIM model at the end of the project to be used for Facility

Figure 9.

Architectus proposed BIM conceptual model for 1 Bligh Street project

The role of the BIM manager is to manage the information flow from the architects model (which includes all others consultants) to all the parties involved in the construction and supply

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1 BLIGH STREET chain of the project as well as other stakeholders (including the owner). Since the flow of information is bidirectional (that is, information could come from the site back to the model, for example) the BIM manager must also be able to update and maintain the model as required. As defined by the Design Director: “The BIM manager is an IT role. Somebody who is setting the protocols and driving the knowledge further down through the consultants, minor consultants, contractor and supply chain. A general technical, communication and education role”. It is thus, perceived to be outside the consultancy fee of the Architect.

Given the novelty of this role, the BIM manager role is full of risks (including unknowns) that could be responsibility of the BIM manager. As explained by the Project Director: “Any new, ground breaking process has risks associated with it.”

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Although there are intrinsic benefits in the architect being the BIM manager, the Contractor has the option of engaging other companies to fulfil this role, and they have. At the time of the interview, the Contractor was evaluating other companies to manage the BIM model and no one had been appointed as yet.

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that their involvement in the project will be between 5 to 7 years in total.

BIM background  Before 1 Bligh Street, the engineers were using and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of structural packages offered by Bentley13 and Autodesk. As a result of their review process, they considered that Autodesk Revit® Structure14 would allow them to comply with the BIM requirements set by the client for 1 Bligh Street as well as their overall BIM strategy. Whilst Enstruct had used Revit Structures to document projects in the past, the models were only used internally (BIM Stage 1) and the functionality offered by the system was not fully incorporated. 1 Bligh Street was Enstruct first multidisciplinary BIM collaboration project.

BIM benefits 

Figure 10. Finite element analysis of the structural design using Strand7. Image courtesy Enstruct.

The involvement of Enstruct as structural engineers on 1 Bligh Street started with Stage 1 DA (Development Application) and continued through Design Competition, lodging of Stage 2 DA and preparation of the tender documentation. The engineers were then engaged by the Contractor to take the design through to construction and completion. Enstruct are responsible for the entire superstructure building including floor plates, columns, basic structure and foundations. Then Engineers estimated

The first reported BIM benefit experienced by Enstruct was an increase of productivity. This increased productivity stemmed from being able to generate multiple views (floor plans, elevations, sections, etc.) from a 3D model. This benefit soon translated into an embedded quality assurance process because all the views are coordinated by the system rather than manually generated in accordance to, but independent from each other. 3D visualisation also allowed Enstruct to better understand structures, as noted by the company Director: “being able to look at something in 3D gives you a far better understanding of what is going on, rather than an old fashion 2D plan.”


Bentley, refer to: 14 Autodesk Revit® Structure, refer to:

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1 BLIGH STREET The structural BIM model  “Linking the architects’ model to our own was seamless; we did not have an issue with it. When we received a new architectural model, I overwrote the last one and there was no drama whatsoever”. –BIM Manager, Enstruct

“It is seamless to export between Revit Architecture and Revit Structure. That part is very simple”. -Design Technology Director, Architectus

Figure 11. 3D view of the structural model in Revit Structures. Image courtesy Enstruct.

Architect and Structural Engineer  model‐based collaboration   Enstruct developed their model based on the Architect’s model, and given that structural engineers do not require the same level of detail in their model, the file size is not as large as the Architects one. The structural model was reported to be roughly half the size of the architectural. As previously mentioned, Architectus and Enstruct did not experience problems whilst transferring the model across the two different Revit platforms (Architecture and Structure).

Architectus Design Technology Director attributes this apparent seamless process to both platforms sharing the same file format. He argues that the only difference between different ‘flavours’ of Revit (Architecture, Structure and even MEP) is the tools that are in the user interface. The tools are what can be done with the system, but once created, any ‘flavour’ of Revit can read that information and manipulate that information. Whilst Enstruct has an FTP site dedicated to transfer information between consultants, they are moving towards commercially available electronic document control systems. In 1 Bligh Street all consultants are using Aconex15, which was introduced on this project by the Contractor. Given the reliability and performance of these types of systems perceived by the Engineers, they believe that their FTP site will no longer be used for this purpose. However, due to the file size of the model and the fact that they cannot use Aconex for model collaboration, they shared the model via CD’s and limited the use of Aconex to sharing drawings. 15 Aconex, refer to:

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1 BLIGH STREET Intellectual Property  Like the Architects, Enstruct perceived a risk of losing Intellectual Property (IP) by sharing the model. The engineers considered that sharing a BIM model could have higher risks than the ones currently exposed to by sharing DWG’s (AutoCAD drawings file format). Enstruct see their BIM knowledge as a competitive advantage and believe other companies (competition) can benefit by having access to their models. As pointed out by the Director, “it is probably a bit more risky at the moment because not as many people are using BIM to document things, so we are definitely more sensitive about who we share the model with at the moment”. Still, they believe that this risk will be less once BIM solutions are more commonly used.

BIM training   Enstruct has a 3 to 4 year structured apprenticeship programme used to train young staff on their office and structural detailing procedures. These apprenticeships include training on the various systems used for structural analysis. Revit training will be included as part of these apprenticeships. Initial Revit training in the company was provided by their Autodesk reseller (CAD Group16). During the first training stage, CAD Group sent their training staff to the engineers office, which was followed by a more casual, on-going training. Whilst Enstruct Director acknowledged that there is always loss of productivity whilst training people to use a new package, the downtime “is far easily outstripped by the benefit that you get from that person when [he/she] knows how to use it”.


CAD Group, refer to:

1 Bligh Street created a steep learning curve for Enstruct as it not only required good Revit skills, but multidisciplinary model-based collaboration. “It is the first time that we have collaborated like this. So it is a learning process for everybody involved”. - Director, Enstruct Although they lack a proper BIM manual, there is consensus by the Director and BIM manager that they have achieved a “good distribution of Revit knowledge through the drafting side of the office” based on the initial training provided by their Autodesk reseller and then followed by in-house project-based training. Nonetheless, they are looking at documenting their process, in the form of a manual, to standardise their procedures.

Structural analysis packages  Enstruct use an array of softwares to do various types of analyses. Initially they used Etabs®17, but abandoned it as they were unsuccessful in making the link with Revit work. Then they moved to Strand 7®18, which was predominantly used for the lateral analysis of the building. At the time of the interview, Strand 7 was not compatible with Revit, so the structural engineers exported DXFs from Revit and imported them into the analysis package. However, some information (like loads and materials properties) were lost in this process and needed to be re-created in the analysis package. Ram Concept®19 was another analysis software used for floor plan analysis. As per with the other analysis packages the 17

Etabs, refer to: 18 Strand 7, refer to: 19 Ram Concept, refer to:

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1 BLIGH STREET export/import from Revit was troublesome and content needed to be recreated.

Figure 12. Analysis and design of posttensioned and reinforced concrete floor systems using Ram Concept. Image courtesy Enstruct.

In terms of beam element analysis programs, the engineers used a system called Space Gap. A link between Space Gap and Revit had just been recently released (two months before the interview).

you have to go back to IFC ... I do not see that as being the future.” On the other hand, the Architect’s Design Technology Director preferred not to use a single BIM model across packages and was comfortable having the structural engineers working on exports with a ‘human interface’ in between. This was basically because structural packages (mainly UK or US softwares) might do the analysis based on different assumptions than the ones required in Australia. Thus, the Architects prefer the analysis to be made in a separate model and any changes must be first reviewed and approved by the structural engineers and then made in the collaboration model. To allow that, monitoring tools were used to track and coordinate changes between the structural and architectural models.

Despite the previously described seamless link between Revit Architecture and Revit Structure, it is between specialised analysis software - like the aforementioned - that interoperability becomes an issue. In the opinion of the Engineers’ Director, a single software system cannot do all the different analysis done by specialised analysis software: “I cannot see one package doing everything, all things to all men, I cannot see it doing that”. Thus, the need for interoperability. Like the Architects, the Engineers also experimented with IFCs and attempted to perform ‘round-trips’ between the packages. They found the process of having to export the model to an intermediate file (IFC) to be ‘not optimal’. As suggested by the Director: “The way to do it would be a direct link. It would be very clunky to export something to an IFC and then into this [a different package]. Then to go back,

Figure 13. Structural coordination report generated by Revit Structure. Image courtesy Enstruct.

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1 BLIGH STREET Collaborative Trust  Trust between consultants was identified as a key factor (as important as the technological aspect) for good multidisciplinary BIM collaboration. Based on years of collaboration, Enstruct and Architectus have developed a level of trust that has allowed them to collaborate to the point of jointly developing BIM families. This process allows each party to ensure that the model will have information that is relevant to them - as well as to the other consultant(s).

“Architectus have specific requirements for their families. They worry about the surface finish on the wall maybe. Whereas for us, we are only really concerned about the thickness of the concrete structure, we do not care about the surface finish. So in terms of setting up families we are collaborating with them now. So they can set their requirements in the family and then structurally we would add in instance parameters like the concrete strength.” - Director, Enstruct.

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1 Bligh Street was the Services Engineers team first BIM project and at the time they lacked the content (families) required for the model. As opposed to the view of the Architects, the Services Engineers felt that the outof-the-box content included was poor and developing it would take a considerable amount of time - with an already tight deadline. “We have to draw every component. The data in a chiller is totally different from the sort of data that you get out of a concrete slab. There is much more involved in getting everything right, you need to have all your data correct first”.

Figure 14. Mechanical services of a typical floor using Revit Services. Image courtesy Arup.

Arup are the services engineers of 1 Bligh Street project - responsible for the mechanical, electrical and fire services as well as the façade design consultants. Whilst the Engineers used Revit® MEP (services) to model a typical floor, it was not used to produce the documentation. Services documentation was done in AutoCAD and AutoCAD MEP®20. As recognised by the Services Engineers and the rest of the 1 Bligh Street team, MEP services were not part of the BIM model. Arup’s Project Director identified the tight programme and the complexities of producing services documentation using BIM as the two main reasons that prevented MEP services being included in the BIM model. “Today, for MEP services BIM requires more time to document than traditional methods”. – Project Director, Arup

- Project Director, Arup Nevertheless, Arup did some isolated simulations including a thermal simulation to calculate the sizing of the air conditioning equipment. In parallel, the Project Director is also concerned that BIM could be perceived as a potential threat for MEP subcontractors. As described, one of the advantages of MEP sub-contractors is that when they receive a design from a consultant they can increase their profit by modifying what the consultant has proposed - in a way that it achieves the same performance, but done in a more economical way. Therefore, the more documentation that is given to the subcontractors the less room there is for them to modify the design. “We thought that if we developed a BIM model and gave it to the sub-contractor we would save them a lot of work. Whilst it would save them a lot of work, it would take away their ability to make some money in the grey areas”. – Project Director, Arup

20 AutoCAD MEP, refer to:

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1 BLIGH STREET Moreover, as noted by the Contractor’s Design Manager, in a Design and Construct project (like 1 Bligh Street) it is the Contractor - through its subcontractors - who produces the services documentation for the design. Thus, it will ultimately be up to the subcontractors to develop the services BIM model.

People’s attitude to BIM 

“For the mechanical, the hydraulic and electrical services we go straight to our sub-contractors and they will document it in Revit”.

All in all, there is consensus from the Project Director and BIM modeller that BIM will become the norm in the future.

– Design Manager, Grocon It is expected that 1 Bligh Street will have a complete BIM model once the sub-contractors model the services.

According to the BIM modeller the people in their organisation that were the most highly skilled in BIM were so because they were personally involved and interested in it, ‘like a hobby’ or ‘a video game’. It was finding people with this passion that was seen as the key to a successful BIM implementation.

“We strongly believe BIM is the way to go, we want to be in the future before anybody else...but it is taking time.” - Project Director, Arup

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THE CONTRACTOR Grocon was the chosen contractor after a successful tender for the construction of 1 Bligh Street and had already taken possession of the site at the time of the interview (July 2008). However, the Contractor has one year’s worth of demolition before construction starts. As previously mentioned, BIM was a client requirement from the inception of this project and although the consultants have developed the main model (with the exception of MEP services), the Contractor is obliged by contract to submit an ‘as-built’ model at the end of the project. 1 Bligh Street is the company’s first BIM project (nationally and internationally) and Grocon perceive themselves as pioneers in implementing BIM during the construction stage in Australia. As a result, they feel hesitant about what to expect out of BIM. As remarked by the Grocon Design Manager “we can see the ‘ultimate advantage’ but are finding it not quite as simple as some people want us to believe.” “Potentially and theoretically [BIM] is a great idea, but we see some issues. There are not that many projects that have been done with it. A lot of people claim they have done it, but in fact we found that they haven’t. They do BIM wash.” - Design Manager, Grocon

BIM benefits  The Design Manager anticipates that the following benefits could be gained by embracing BIM as a Contractor. One of the most significant benefits expected from BIM was receiving fully coordinated (including clash detection)

documentation from consultants. It was expected that building from a coordinated model could translate into smoother construction. “The whole sales speech of BIM is that it will not change on site, because theoretically you built this cyber building, so we just have to build it that way. If BIM is truly successful, all the clash conditions that we currently experience on site will be resolved by the consultants at the documentation stage.” – Design Manager, Grocon 3D visualisation closely followed as the next benefit. The Design Manager believes that having access to a 3D model on-site would improve the understanding of the design, its communication and planning between trades. Thus, they were prepared to make some changes to be able to benefit from 3D visualisation on site. “We want every laptop to have a model viewer so they can access the model and view the elements for the area that they are working on.” –Design Manager, Grocon The Design Manager has also expectations that BIM will assist them with construction estimating, scheduling and programming. Even though the Design Manager could see the benefits of 4D modelling, he identified current skill incompatibilities that are preventing this technology from being successful. Whilst Grocon have experienced programmers in construction and procurement processes who know very well how to develop a good construction timeline, they cannot produce a 4D model because they do not know how to use specialised 4D software. On the other hand, the people

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1 BLIGH STREET that might know how to develop a 4D model, do not have the same level of experience and knowledge to develop an accurate programme. Despite the above benefits, it is the Design Manager’s point of view that the discipline to benefit most from BIM will be Facilities Management (FM).

Sub‐contractors One of the selection criteria for the subcontractors on 1 Bligh Street was their ability to work with a BIM model. “It could be said that in the BIM sense, we are as good as our sub-contractors. But, we are actively bringing them forward so that we can deliver a project and in our next project we would have that [expertise]. We are enabling the sub-contractors for other builders, but you can’t avoid that.” – Design Manager, Grocon.

Interoperability The Design Manager is aware that subcontractors might have to re-model the Revit model provided by the Consultants as it might not be compatible with the sub-contractors’ specific manufacturing softwares.

Training   The Design Manager commented that as builders they do not see themselves developing expertise in BIM beyond the ability to visualise the model. Thus, they will rely on a BIM manager (architect or Autodesk reseller, etc.) for the coordination of the model. The BIM manager will then become another subconsultant for them. Refer to BIM Manager section. However, he also acknowledged that their site engineers would have to be trained, “because right now they are quite competent technicians with a construction focus, but they are BIM illiterate.” The Design Manager commented that due to BIM, their site engineers will tend to have a higher IT skill level. Thus, BIM could be advantageous for lessexperienced people (e.g. recent graduates) “as they can be given a higher level of responsibility than they would normally have due to their IT skills”.

“The problem I see for the industry is standardisation. The link between different platforms will be the key for BIM to work.” –Design Manager, Grocon However, there is disbelief that the current efforts are successful.

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IN SUMMARY 1 Bligh Street is one of the first commercial projects in Australia to implement multidisciplinary BIM collaboration. There were different levels of BIM implementation across the consulting team. The Architects had the most experience using BIM and led the implementation. Collaborative trust was found to be an important factor for multidisciplinary BIM collaboration. The closest BIM collaboration was between The Architects and The Structural Engineers. Interoperability issues between them were minimised by relying on a common BIM platform. However, interoperability was still an issue and a source of rework between specialised analysis software used by The Structural Engineers. Consequently, there is some scepticism that the current interoperability efforts in their present state are successful.

Services (MEP) were not part of the BIM model. However, it is expected that the sub-contractors will complete the services components in the as-built BIM model. In terms of training, on-the-job-learning was the preferred long term strategy. Documenting BIM procedures in the form of a Manual was considered valuable, but not essential for a successful BIM implementation. 3D visualisation is one of the main perceived benefits of BIM seen by The Consultants and The Contractor. The Architect also stressed that fast access to accurate building information is a major benefit of this technology. Whilst The Contractor seems convinced of the benefits of using a BIM model for construction, they are yet to experience the actual benefits of BIM first hand. The ability to use BIM was included by The Contractor as one of the selection criteria for sub-contractors.

A ‘BIM manager’ –a new role identified by The Architects– is needed to coordinate the information flow between stakeholders and maintain the model during the construction phase. The BIM manager role was believed to be beyond the original scope of the standard architect consultancy. Given the novelty of this role, it was perceived as quite risky and with many unknowns.

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Building Information Modelling

Case Study 4 Brisbane City Hall Contents Case Study Participants ..................... 2 The Organisation .............................. 3  The Client ........................................ 3  The City Hall, a challenging building .... 3  Modelling the City Hall ....................... 4  The BIM Process ............................... 5  Implementation, Training & Support ... 6  A final note ...................................... 7 

Figure 1.

City Hall: auditorium view 1

This Case Study discusses the experiences of an architectural team as they undertake their first pilot BIM undertaking. The project selected is a complex multi-layered heritage structure posing a number of challenges and opportunities. The choice of the pilot project and its project team is atypical and provides more than one lesson to be learned.

This case study was conducted and analysed by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team as part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project sponsored by the CRCConstruction Innovation. The RMIT team would like to express its gratitude to all interviewees and those whose actions have greatly facilitated this effort. For more information about the project and project participants, please visit

BRISBANE CITY HALL Case Study Participants  Four interviews were conducted covering the Architects role in the Brisbane City Hall project:

Project Architect 

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The Project Architect responsible for the City Hall project has joined City Design Group in early 2008. His background is in heritage-listed architecture has no background knowledge of BIM concepts. Also, the interviewee and has not received any BIM tool training before assuming responsibility of this project.

Architect The architect interviewed was one of the first staff at City Design to embrace Building Information Modelling. After receiving 3 day offsite-training on Revit® Architecture through one of Autodesk’s resellers. She is currently working on multiple library projects and her role typically ranges from schematic design to contract administration.

Figure 2.

City Hall

Project location

Figure 3.

City Hall: legacy handdrawn plan

©Google and MapData

BIM Modeller 1  The interviewee joined City Design group in the past two years and has a CAD drafting background. After being selected to work on the City Hall project, he received 3 day offsite-training on Revit® Architecture through one of Autodesk’s resellers.

BIM Modeller 2  The interviewee joined the City Design Group to specifically work on the Revit® platform. He did not receive any formal BIM tool before joining the project team.

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BRISBANE CITY HALL The Organisation  The interviewees are part of the ‘Built Environment Group’ consisting of Building Services Engineers (3 engineers), Architects (around 20) and Landscape Architects (around 20). The Project Managers and Structural Engineers are part of a different department within BCC. The above disciplines and staff are part of what is termed the ‘Building Infrastructure’ group (check website to confirm). BCC handles many types of architectural/engineering jobs including parks, libraries, pools, bathroom structures and bus depots. BCC has multiple ‘internal’ and ‘external’ clients ranging from governmental departments – like Library Services - to private sector commissions. Not all projects are acquired through a tender process and some are a product of a long term relationship with other publicsector groups. The City Design Group within BCC do not automatically utilise the services of BCC engineers but only do so if they have the adequate expertise needed for a job and their price quote is acceptable. The City Design Group may thus opt to employ engineers from outside BCC if they deem that necessary. Brisbane City Council works closely with Project Services, Queensland Department of Public Works. PS is sometimes a client of the City Design Group within BCC.

The Client  The client is City Assets (a purchasing services group) and City Management which manages the City Hall on behalf of the Brisbane Council.

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Figure 4.

City Hall: auditorium view 2

The City Hall, a challenging building 

The City Hall1 was built in the 1920’s and is now due for a services upgrade and other works to improve fire safety throughout the building. The services/fire upgrades included the need for compartmentalisation, adding fire alarms, sprinkler systems and firetreatment of the steel structures. The fire-risk reduction strategy not only aimed to reduce threats to occupants but to protect the heritage-listed building itself. It is important to note that City hall is landlocked within Brisbane, has an original structure, original finishes and original spaces which are all heritage listed. There are limited vertical services shafts that can be used for the services upgrade and there are pre-existing uses of the roofs preventing location of new service plants where actually needed. Also, there are 1

Brisbane City Hall, refer to

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BRISBANE CITY HALL external ‘rigging consultants’ as part of the project team. All this invariably increased the complexity of this project and increased its challenges. The City Hall is currently under review by the Lord Mayor through a specialised committee (Oct 2008) and the architect aims to provide the fully modelled project to assist in that review. Room allocation to councillors and commercial usage will also be decided. Accordingly, no construction programme has been generated yet noting that the Project Manager is also part of BCC.

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Modelling the City Hall  The Architect received a succinct 17 point brief from the client and City Design considered using 3D modelling to simplify the complexities of the project and meeting the provided brief. In a sense and ‘given the three-dimensional nature of the problem’, the Project Architect saw an opportunity to model the building in three dimensions and integrate the architecture, structure, services and heritage layers that needed to be analysed and understood in context. The fire-protection effort has been the major driver for modelling the whole building but the architects calculated that the model may eventually play a role in facility management. The project started in earnest in March 2008 and it has been mostly resolved by August using two full-time modellers (with design detailing experience) while the Project Architect took care of coordination. From a collaboration point of view, the fire engineers were part of the BCC team but the services engineers were external consultants.

Figure 5.

City Hall: aerial view

Figure 6.

City Hall – model of auditorium and adjacent spaces

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The BIM Process 

City Hall auditorium: laser scan superimposed over object-based model

The modelling of the City Hall was based on dimensions manually lifted from site, legacy CAD and archive hand-drawn documents. Using this data, the City Hall was first modelled in ArchiCAD®2 during the Sketch Design phase. At this stage, the model was used to generate a couple of studies, namely Thermal Analysis through Ansys TAS3 and Daylight Studies through Autodesk Ecotect4. After that, the City Hall was modelled using Revit Architecture after the software has been introduced late 2007. During the progression of the Revit® model, it was ‘overlayed’ with a laser dot-cloud survey to test its accuracy. The laser scan was generated by a third party and covered the round auditorium and surrounding foyers. The laser survey was delivered in 3DS format (around 2MB in size) and then imported (maybe as DWG format) into the Revit®5 Model. Upon comparison of the overlay, the laser survey proved to be ‘like a hand in a glove as it meshed ‘beautifully’ with the Revit model. This of course boosted the architects confidence in the model as a basis for future works.

2 Graphisoft ArchiCAD ®, refer to 3 Ansys Thermal Analysis System (TAS), refer to 4 Autodesk® Ecotect, refer to 5 Autodesk Revit® Architecture, refer to

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Figure 8.

City Hall: Building Information Model – axonometric view

The project was first modelled generically (using generic walls for example) based on the available CAD and hand-drawn legacy data. Once more accuracy is deemed necessary for a specific area or room then a visit to site would ensue and more up-to-date measurements are taken. According to one of the modellers, countless site visits have been conducted to crosscheck the legacy information against actual site conditions. As the project progressed, each of the modelled elements were given a code (0 through 4) designating its heritage sensitivity where the highest code (4 for example) designates a heritage status preventing any modification to the onsite element. The Project Architect would sit next to the modellers as they generate the 3D and would sometimes include the inhouse structural engineer in on-screen discussions. The architectural modellers however took responsibility for modelling the existing structural trusses after taking extensive on-site measurements. The architect has also encouraged the

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BRISBANE CITY HALL Services Engineers (BECA6) to use BIM and provided them with regular updates of the architectural model. After some ‘hesitation’, the engineers resolved themselves to generate an independent model – using Revit® MEP7 - which included new ducting routes for the auditorium area. The model was also used by the Project Managers (part of City Design Group) and had access to the continuously updated model from their site offices.

Implementation, Training  &  Support  City Design have started deploying Revit in March 2008 and - at the time of these interviews – had up to seven Revit® Architecture, two Revit® Structure and one Revit® MEP licences.

Figure 10. City Hall – 3D model of the central dome showing heritage listed layers

Figure 9.

City Hall: Building Information Model showing the structural layer

The 3D model was intended to simplify the complexity of the problem-project. Some of the design studies (like new entry door system) was modelled in SketchUP8 while most of the building was in Revit®. According to the architect, the Revit model included a lot of information and produced ‘complex pictures’ – a counter intuitive product of this process. This ‘complexity’ has prompted the Architect to avoid showing the model to the client until more clientsuitable visuals are generated.


Beca Pty Ltd, refer to Autodesk® Revit ® MEP, refer to 8 Google® SketchUP®, refer to 7

The architects at City Design were the first ones to receive basic training from their Autodesk® reseller followed by the engineers. Also, City Design engineers met their counterparts at Project Services (Queensland Department of Public Works), shared ideas about BIM and adopted some of their BIM-specific standards (Folder Structures for example). While one modeller expressed an opinion that learning Revit is ‘easy’ while another expressed a feeling that – with only 3 days of basic training – he ‘was thrown into the deep end, a sink or swim’ when placed on such a complex and layered project. The lack of sufficient training has manifested itself in modellers using the wrong tools to manage their workflow (example: using the ‘worksets’ work-subdivision tool in Revit as a layering system). It also appears that Revit implementation was not based on a carefully-prepared implementation plan (example: basic components were not prepared

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BRISBANE CITY HALL beforehand but were being generated ‘on the go’). BCC receive support from its Autodesk® reseller, have access to short training videos developed by a third party (CADclips9, an online service based in Canada) and there is an internal CAD newsletter. There is an apparent high regard for what the BIM team is attempting to achieve at City Design as CAD drafters who used Revit on this project were labelled as ‘Champions’ by many of their colleagues.


A final note  Because of the sensitivity of this project for Brisbane’s City Council and the strict confidentiality agreements governing the remodelling/upgrade project, much information cannot be shared with other parties at this investigation stage. While that limits the amount of information accessible to the research team and conveyed through this case study, there are many successes and lessons learned that can be shared. One such success is the unconventional selection made by City Design to undertake a complex multi-layered project as its pilot BIM undertaking. City Hall and the spirited BIM team working on it has generated many evident results that have been touched upon in this case study.

CADclips, refer to

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Building Information Modelling

Case Study 5 Willawong Bus Depot

Contents Project Overview............................... 1 The area....................................... 1 Information sources ....................... 1 Stakeholders & project ................... 1 Challenging site ................................ 3 Perspectives..................................... 4 Architectural ................................. 4 Civil Works.................................... 5

Figure 1.

3D render of the Bus Depot Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

Landscape Design .......................... 5 Services and Structural................... 6 Construction.................................. 7 Technology and Training .................... 8 Technology Focus .......................... 8 Training Focus ............................... 9 Summary of Issues Arising ............... 10

This case study describes the exploration, documentation and analysis of the use of 3D CAD modelling and BIM in the design and construction planning and scheduling for the new maintenance and storage depot for buses, planned for Willawong. The project paid particular attention to the sustainability aspects of the development for a challenging site.

This case study was conducted and analysed by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team as part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project sponsored by the CRC- Construction Innovation. The RMIT team would like to express its gratitude to all interviewees and those whose actions have greatly facilitated this effort. For more information about the project and project participants, please visit

Willawong Bus Depot PROJECT OVERVIEW An exploration, documentation and analysis of the use of BIM and CAD modelling in the sustainable design and construction planning and scheduling for the new bus maintenance and storage depot planned for Willawong.

The area  The facility is being built in a previously undeveloped area of the suburb of Willawong - some 17 kms south-west of the Brisbane CBD. Part of the extensive site had been used in the past for recycling, waste transfer and disposal facilities, and more recently has been the subject of extensive remediation works by City Design branch of Brisbane City Councill.

Information sources  Three interviews were conducted covering the Architect, Landscape architect, and Civil Design roles within the ongoing Willawong Bus Depot project The project architect is a senior, experienced architect who has been working on the Bus Depot project for close to three years. He has a substantial background of working with CAD and more recently BIM in a number of roles prior to joining Brisbane City Council (BCC). He is self-taught in Revit through a process of studying and analysing existing Revit example files to deduce industry efficient approaches to details, schedules and BIM modelling in building design. The landscape architect is an experienced designer and has recently worked with other Council staff on approaches to quantifying the impacts of

landscaping on building energy effects and usage. He has no background in BIM software and has received no specific training to handle BIM projects. The civil designer has been working with City Design for a number of years, and although not a qualified engineer, he has a speciality in road works, site grading and bulk earth works. He has substantial experience in AutoCAD (2D) as well as in a software system (12d Model) used for land surveying and terrain modelling.

Stakeholders & project  Major stakeholders in the Bus Depot project are 

      

owner/operators (City Property, and Brisbane Transport, Brisbane City Council) architects (City Design Branch, BCC) landscape architects (City Design Branch, BCC) civil designers (City Design Branch, BCC) structural engineers/designers (Arup Engineering) services engineers (SKM - Sinclair Knight Mertz) steel fabrication and erection (Brown Steel) builders (Laing o’Rourke)

The planned bus facility is scheduled to be completed in 2009, and will cover some 6.7 hectares of a 22 hectare site located at the end of Sherbrooke Road, Willawong. It will provide hardstand space for 156 fixed-body and 48 reticulated buses, as well as facilities for maintenance, and amenities for depot staff and drivers. The Willawong Bus Depot is the first of a proposed five new bus maintenance

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Willawong Bus Depot depots to be constructed, and elements of the new facility will include :       

a single level administration building car park for 280 staff members single level, 3500 sq.m. workshop building to service buses single level, 950 sq.m. refuelling facility compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Area, 650 sq.m. single level, 170 sq.m. generator building hard and soft landscaping.

The process for the design of the depot included the following components: sustainability brief, benchmarking studies, funding investigations, technical investigations, options evaluation and design audits, and implementation tracking. Willawong will be one of the first, if not the first, sustainable depot in Australia, and key initiatives investigated and incorporated in the design of the facility include :        

microclimate interventions solar access, reflectivity and shading daylight access and glare protection passive solar cooling and heating natural ventilation operational energy optimisation sustainable materials selection integrated water-cycle management.

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Willawong Bus Depot CHALLENGING SITE The area at Willawong was originally a large landfill site and believed to be one of the most contaminated in Brisbane, however some $40 million has, and is, being spent by City Design in remediation of the whole site. City Design is transforming one of Brisbane's most tainted sites into a recreation area, commercial estate, sporting facility and nature corridor. In terms of innovation, City Design employed a number of innovative measures, including the use of alternative capping solutions and constructed wetlands.

Mr Phillip Lord, Acting Group Manager, Built Environment, City Design Branch, in a presentation to Council noted that many sustainability innovations are planned to be incorporated in the design of the new bus depot to be constructed at Willawong, and listed a number as : Natural environment initiatives included implementing integrated water-cycle management and stormwater and retention management, protecting and improving the biodiversity on the site, soil and plant specification, management of pollution and developing a distinctive character and sense of place for the facility. These factors are also aimed at making sure the facility is attractive for workers by providing amenity and protection from heat, sun and the elements.

The BCC City Design project architect has been working on the Bus Depot project for almost three years, and because of the contaminated nature of the site, substantial work had to be undertaken to obtain the Development Approval (DA) required. Achieving the DA was a major task in itself, with many specialist Reports being prepared and obtained to help smooth the DA process. Figure 2.

Location of the Bus Depot Š G o o g l e a n d M a p D a t a S c i en c e s

In addition, no services were initially available to the planned Bus Depot site, so all services had to be brought to the specific location. The facility is being built on an area that was previously a grease-trap disposal site – chosen as one of the locations within the 22 hectare site having minimal contamination.

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Willawong Bus Depot PERSPECTIVES Architectural An initial massing model for the Depot was developed in December 2006 by the BCC project architect working in conjunction with a staff CAD technician, however as the model’s intricacy grew and the decision was made to move to a full Revit1 (Architecture) model, the technician became somewhat concerned with the level of knowledge required to develop and support the Revit model. The technician became more involved in the presentation side of the design and preferred to build their skills in introductory modelling tools such as SketchUp2 rather than make the transition to working on a full Revit model. The project architect, with an enthusiasm for Revit and the insight to see how a BIM system might be of advantage in the longer term, continued to do development in Revit, but a lack of in-house expertise in the Revit (Architecture) software, coupled with a reticence by experienced drafters - who were already extremely proficient in AutoCAD - to move to Revit, meant that the project was eventually completed using AutoCAD. Comment was made that often “people seem to be either 2D or 3D oriented, so some think in 3D and others don’t”, and this may partly account for the reluctance of some people to embrace newer 3D-based systems such as Revit. In response to a question regarding topdown drivers for BIM adoption, the Willawong project architect volunteered " I don't think it’s going to work until your client drives it (BIM adoption) ". In

the case of Willawong, the client is BT (Brisbane Transport), but it almost “needs to be seen where FM (Facility Management) is part of the process right up front; where you are setting it (the project) up”.

Figure 3.

Impression of Bus Depot staff lunchroom

Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

In his judgement, adoption “becomes a contractual problem because why would people want to do that ? so there has to be an incentive in it, and that's why builders are interested because they're in a position to do it” – an opportunity exists to look at portfolio of bus depots and compare across different facilities for Facility Management purposes. Further opinion was ventured that 2DFM was being done back in 1985 by “a forward-thinking construction company looking at what items were in each room and getting inventory of items - that's been frustrating; nothing has changed “. Pointing at some perceived contractual obstructions, a view was expressed that “the only way to see this (BIM and 4D modelling) implemented seems to be with organisations (such as Brisbane Council) where many things are done inhouse, because otherwise contractual blockages will keep coming up. And then people will hold information and won't want to share it …..”


Revit Architecture see 2 Google SketchUp see

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Willawong Bus Depot Civil Works  The Civil Group of BCC City Design works closely with - but separately from - the "Survey Section" of BCC who produce land surveys in-house. They produce surveys and pass them to Civil Group as DTM (Digital Terrain Model) 3D data. This data goes into the 12d Model3 system - a string- or vectorbased system “like AutoCAD and then strings can be turned into points or vertices (strings become invisible but points can be seen)”. To quote the 12d Model’s website, the system “is powerful surveying, terrain modelling & civil engineering software. It allows fast production in a wide variety of projects including mapping, site layouts, road, rail and highway design, residential & land developments, and environmental impact studies”.

Figure 4.

Impression of refuelling area of Bus Depot

Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

According to a civil designer for Willawong Depot, 12d has been available for many years (he has been using it since 1999) and Queensland Department of Main Roads have taken it on as a major surveying system. Anecdotes from other users who are "into the software" has led to the belief that 12d was more flexible and reliable than most competitive packages. In his opinion, “12d is very flexible and can handle thousands of points and has no trouble with very large projects - even on 3

12d Solutions Pty Ltd


standard computers” reportedly because it uses complex algorithms which have been refined over a long period of time. The Bus Depot itself is a number of buildings set upon a concrete slab, and because of the complex nature of the Willawong site and the important requirements for retention of rainwater and recycling of run-off and grey-water via bio-filtration drainage swales etc. there was close cooperation between the landscape design staff and the civil designers and engineers. 3D CAD capabilities were used to set up the levels for the Bus Depot and a TIN (Triangulated Irregular Network) data file was created which went back to the civil engineers “to check that it all tied in with their kerb levels and so forth - this provided a level of checking and any discrepancies were worked out between the groups”. Unfortunately from a full BIM and interoperability viewpoint, this data was exchanged as data files rather than being an integral part of a synchronous BIM system. In the Willawong Bus Depot project, it seems that the civil designer was never requested to take any data into Revit, so the interface or interoperability between 12d and Revit was not explored in the project.

Landscape Design  In this project, when viewed from a multidisciplinary team perspective, the edges between the disciplines were somewhat blurred with civil engineers responsible for kerb levels and also pathways (traditionally a landscape component) while landscape architects were responsible for courtyard areas and similar. With a focus on innovation and sustainability for the Bus Depot project, BCC landscape architects provided criteria to the service consultants about where lightpoles etc. should NOT be

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Willawong Bus Depot located (for instance in drainage swales etc.) but still had some negotiation if a pole was placed inappropriately. Typically, if required, the landscape designers would relocate a lightpole from such a location - and then verify with service consultants that that was OK and await their sign-off for that change. So a collaborative process was established of slightly modifying their (services) design, then going back to services people and ensuring that the alteration was satisfactory to all.

"With this project we were on-board from the beginning and we were able to provide some guidance in how the building should be laid out in order to provide some microclimate aspects for the landscape areas. We worked very closely with the civil engineers and the stormwater designers to come up with a stormwater scheme across the site which worked both on a landscaped level as well as on a water-shedding level, so quite a integrated project in that respect”. Although the data exchanges were not of a true BIM character, these comments show there is recognition of the nature of BIM and its potential to retain and manage data from the various project stages for early modification or for later further refinement - by a variety of stakeholders.

Figure 5.

Bus Depot landscaping

Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

Some difficulty was seen as arising from the fact that service consultants were working from a different office (not colocated with landscape staff), so they could not simply go around and discuss changes. Opinion was ventured that “it was a much more involved process to carry out that conversation”. From the landscape design side, it was said that the benefit of working in-house was that “things tend to run smoothly because you can just walk over to someone and easily discuss changes”, however in fairness it should be highlighted that there was no discussion of the more traditional or alternative approach to working which the services consultants might have preferred.

Services and Structural  The service consultants for the design and documentation work were SKM (Sinclair Knight Mertz – a large engineering and project delivery company based close to the City), while the structural engineering for the Bus Depot was undertaken by Arup Engineering in Brisbane. The collaboration between the services consultants and the landscape consultants has been covered earlier. The structural consultants did not re-use any electronic BCC model but developed their own 3D Bentley MicroStation4 CAD drafting model of structural steelwork and concrete for all Willawong Bus Depot buildings - based on the architect’s 2D CAD drawings which were used as drafting background.

In a comment on the process and workflow of the project as a whole, the landscape architect commented : 4

Bentley MicroStation see

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Willawong Bus Depot Structural analysis was carried out with Arup's GSA5 finite difference design software which was however not linked to the drafting package. From a structural viewpoint, no real 'BIM' activities were undertaken beyond 3D CAD; however the structural engineers believed that “the 3D drafting enabled improved understanding of building designed forms and developing sections, elevations and details more accurately and quickly”.

Figure 6.

Bus Depot garage internal image Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

Construction It was noted and emphasised by the BCC project architect that ultimately, 3D / 4D modelling has not been a focus for the project – the main focus has simply been on getting the Bus Depot built - to cost, and to schedule. Nonetheless, the project architect believed the builders Laing O’Rourke (LOR) planned to model the Bus Depot for their own scheduling purposes – independently of any existing models. Certainly it was known that LOR have used 4D modelling on various projects in Australia (for instance, see Queensland State Archives case study) and apparently remain keen to implement the approaches wherever possible and whenever economically responsible.

Although LOR indicate they are currently using 4D modelling on a central city tower project, unlike the Bus Depot, that project is based on a design and construct (D&C) contract and has some flexibility in costings. For that tower project, LOR are using an overseas affiliate company with designers and architects to prepare 3D and 4D models, which can then be used by LOR in Australia. It was reported that LOR Australia have been investigating both the Synchro6 range of software and more recently the NavisWorks7 software suite as tools to assist their project modelling and scheduling (again see Queensland State Archives case study). However it is understood that LOR ultimately made the decision not to proceed with using 4D modelling in the case of the Willawong Bus Depot project – it seems because the project was covered by a lump sum / fixed price or “hard contract” with insufficient margins to cover what was seen as the additional costs of modelling for 4D.

Figure 7.

6 5

Oasys Ltd, see

Plan view of garage

Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

Synchro Ltd, see


Autodesk® NavisWorks®, see

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Willawong Bus Depot TECHNOLOGY AND TRAINING Technology Focus  Investment in IT and software appears to be a quite an issue internally within BCC - for instance software was (only) provided to staff who exceed a certain level of billable hours (productivity justification). The project architect acknowledged that the newer BIM software was what he had been “waiting for some 20 years ago”, but never then came to fruition, so he felt he understood why Autodesk bought up the Revit system “to develop and go forward”. He felt it was vital that the lead architect know the ability of the BIM software since he/she must rely on others to implement his/her ideas in the BIM system. He was also adamant that the BIM product should be set-up for projects with issues like “layering already decided and put in place in a organisation or branch-wide approach”, so that different people working on a project were not allowed or enabled to customise things to their own individual liking – which might cause or “clash with another team member’s understanding of the data”. It was noted by project architect that people need to “ get into the advanced side of Revit to really see the benefit otherwise they cannot always see the value in using Revit over SketchUp, and it is in the advanced side of Revit where the time savings are”. “Exciting times when you think of all the (manual) things that can be done more easily - coordinating; dimensioning; scheduling;..”.

The Willawong architects worked with Arup's engineers on the structural model in a limited way as detailed earlier, but have been very impressed with the steel fixers - Brown Steel in Toowoomba – who use a 3D steel detailing model/package based on StruCAD8 - and it was commented that “steel has gone fantastically well - no issues on site. They just model it with StruCAD, and everything comes out “ - using Struwalker as a viewer to look at the StruCAD files.

Figure 8.

Plan view of Bus Depot

Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

The architect’s view was that it would have been great to look at Willawong’s services in 3D as they are quite complicated, however unfortunately that wasn't done. There is a belief that it would be a big benefit in the BCC’s next project to get an appropriate package to help with the services aspects. The Services group within BCC recently obtained Revit to look at MEP, but in a comment on the perceived shortage of experienced users it was said that “ Services need to retain their staff as they may get headhunted ”. In response to a query regarding how technology may affect the landscape 8

StruCAD and Struwalker,see

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Willawong Bus Depot architect profession, it was ventured that “ anything that improves the exchange of information across the project without a doubt is beneficial to us; we are usually at the end of the project ... and it is often difficult to work back up through the project to get things modified ”.

Training Focus  Because the Willawong project architect has good existing knowledge of the BIM software he can encourage / persuade the BCC staff he leads in his team to take up the challenge and look at how the software can be used to do what they all want – and also encourage them to search for knowledge / solutions through the use of search engines like Google; wider reading, and e-mails with local and international user and software forums; etc. "Not enough Revit users in the market yet, and good ones are impossible to get", and "a good Revit user is worth 3-4 drafties just for the coordination ” were some of the comments made. The potential power of Revit had already been recognised by the project architect from other projects where for instance door schedules of 400 to 2000 doors were required to be produced – “an extremely time-consuming process when done by hand ! “ Mention was made of an individual from a private-sector architectural firm who had an excellent knowledge of IT, CAD, building, etc. and the belief was expressed that for BIM to be implemented successfully each office needs such a person – “a champion, definitely need a champion” (or even two - one to ‘bounce an idea off’, plus the team may become too reliant on that one person if he/she becomes ill or must take time off, etc.)

It was reported that no training programme was in place (within BCC) for Revit, but the view was expressed that such a programme needs to be introduced in a well-planned and structured fashion, because the in-house CAD committee seem more focussed on the technical issues of one system versus another - rather than on strategy.

Figure 9.

Plan view of refuelling area Image courtesy of City Design, B r i s b a n e 20 0 8

The civil designer indicated that as a contractor he undertakes occasional (private) training in the 12d Model software from the 12d producers (BCC deal direct with 12d creators rather than through distributors), and there is some in-house training - run by staff within the BCC group. But in general, training in software is not regularly scheduled more ad-hoc, or as required - since in the past it was usually prompted via a specific staff member’s request to management. Training is now offered to (full-time) staff – however many designers and engineers in the various groups are employed as contractors rather than as staff, so they must pay for their own training. The project architect is very passionate about BIM and says "this is the next industry", but has found it frustrating that matters (in CAD, FM, QS, BIM) seem to have progressed so slowly over the last 15 years or so.

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Importance of champion role  For an organisation embracing BIM for the first time, at least one “champion” (or even two) are required in the organisation to lead the way in the introduction, implementation and acceptance of BIM process and procedures.

Knowledgeable leadership role  Considered vital that the lead project architect know the ability of the BIM software since often he/she must rely on others to implement his/her ideas in the BIM system, and a lack of understanding of the potential and pitfalls of BIM could be disastrous.

Layering and standards critical  The BIM product should be set-up for projects with issues like layering already decided and put in place in a organisation or branch-wide approach. This will help ensure that different people working on a project are not allowed / enabled to customise various settings – since many ad-hoc customisations can lead to confusion by others users of the data.

Top‐down push  arrangements vital 



Need to get (suitable) contractual agreement set up and ‘well-established’ before proceeding to implement BIM on a joint project. Hence contractual issues need to be strategically set, and changes to those issues need to be mandated or planned as a project - from the top management level across one or in fact a whole series of projects.

Electronic integration uptake slow  Organisation and specific projects will still require much work and a fundamental culture change by some staff to bring together the traditional civil, architectural, structural, landscaping and services disciplines information in any kind of integrated digital manner – particularly if data is produced from a variety of public and private sources without the benefit of guidelines.

Sub‐contractors use of modelling  In somewhat contrast to an earlier issue, in a “bottom-up” innovation some of the sub-contractors are able to provide excellent modelling capabilities in their specialist areas – the results of which have proven to be of outstanding quality. The potential for integration of these skilled sub-contractor resources with other model information is an innovation that should be monitored and followed closely.

4D modelling  affected  by  contract  arrangements  The type of contractual arrangements in place for a specific project may affect whether 4D modelling (time scheduling of individual building elements) is undertaken in conjunction with .the 3D model. This is because, despite the recognised scheduling benefits, some contractors may see the 4D modelling work as creating additional risk and costs which are hard to justify, or as difficult to cover under fixed price project arrangements.

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Building Information Modelling

Case Study 6 Contents

8 Chifley Square

Project overview ............................... 2 Project stakeholders ....................... 2 Project location.............................. 3 Site background ............................ 3 BIM Adoption ................................... 4 BIM in Architecture ........................ 4 BIM for Structural Design ................ 5 BIM to Fabrication.......................... 5 BIM in Construction........................ 5 BIM FM......................................... 6 Drivers for BIM ................................. 7 BIM innovation .............................. 7 Design and modelling stages ........... 8 BIM Process ..................................... 9 Data transfer and exchange............. 9 HR, training and knowledge.............. 10 Lessons learned and metaphors ........ 12

Figure 1.

3D render of the main access – courtesy of Mirvac

The 8 Chifley Square Case Study documents and analyses BIM deployment within a client / developer scenario. The incentives for the client / developer to embrace BIM are clear and the business benefits as property owners / operators are many, and hard to ignore. This case study of a new project development in a prime location of

8 Chifley Square Sydney Central Business District documents and provides insight into adopting BIM in a high rise development. The process within the design team proved challenging and although the client organisation has resolved to adopt BIM in the long run it was clear throughout this case study that BIM takes more than installing a piece of software and giving it to the design team. There were a number of important lessons learnt through this case study but perhaps the most far-reaching one is that BIM requires a complete different way of thinking and documenting the design of a building. This paradigm shift will mainly have an immediate impact to the practice of architecture, engineering, quantity surveying and construction planning. The following case study accounts and provides insight into the myths, realities and expectations of building information modelling [BIM] in high-rise commercial developments. Images included in this report were reproduced with authorisation as per the following table: Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4 Fifure 5

Mirvac Design Mirvac Design

Google and MapData Sciences

Mirvac Design Photoaerial

This case study was done by RMIT University as part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies research sponsored by the CRC-CI. The RMIT BIM team would like to thank all the people interviewed in this Case Study. For a complete list of case studies please refer to:

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bicycle bays, showers and lockers on every office floor and in the basement. One of the key features of this building is environmental credentials which are set to achieve six-star Green Star and five-star ABGR ratings. In order to achieve this it is expected that it will consume less than half of the energy used by a typical Sydney CBD office building. According to the 8 Chifley Square developers the building’s environmental features include design optimisation with the correct orientation and sun shading for passive energy savings; advanced water recycling systems including backwater treatment; and on-site electricity generation systems and subfloor chilled-beam air conditioning. Completion is expected in 2011.

Project stakeholders   Major stakeholders in the 8 Chifley Square project are: Figure 2.

West façade showing structural expression of 8 Chifley Square. Image courtesy Mirvac design.

A new landmark designed by Rogers Stirk and Partners is to replace the 38 year old Goodsell tower on Hunter Street. The new project features an expressive structural diagrid system, roofgardens and an open public atrium at ground level as distinctive architectural features. 8 Chifley Square is expected to become an immediate landmark in such a prominent location. Building work has not yet commenced but the project will be 30 levels high with an approximate net lettable area of 19,000 sqm. Including 21 office levels ranging in size from 1,800 to 2,600 sqm. Two levels of basement parking, 128

Client organisation: Mirvac Development

Lead Architect: Rogers Stirk and Partners

In-house design team Mirvac Design

External architects: Lippman Associates

Consulting engineers: ARUP

The following table indicates all interviews carried out to project participants. Five main stakeholder organisations were interviewed and respondents represented three organisational levels including:


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8 Chifley Square 

Project principals and

Project architects/engineers


elements of the rationalist movement built in 1970.

Interviewees Rogers Stirk and Partners Lead Architect

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Mirvac Design Senior Project Architect Lippman Associates External architect Architects

Mirvac Design Project Architect Mirvac Design Senior Draft Person Mirvac Design Architectural Technician Lippman Associates Architectural Technician

Structural Engineers

Client / Developer

ARUP Virtual Construction Coordinator ARUP Project Structural Engineer Mirvac Development National Manager Commercial Design

Project location   The 8 Chifley Square site is in the heart of the CBD financial district and adjacent to a number of Sydney's best premiumgrade buildings including the recently completed Deutsche Bank Place (126 Phillip Street), Chifley Tower and Aurora Place. The building on Chifley Square is bounded by Hunter, Elizabeth and Phillip Streets and not far from Sydney botanical gardens. Planning approval included approval for demolition of the existing 20 level Goodsell tower with

Figure 3.

8 Chifley Square, west of Sydney Botanical Gardens. Showing site with existing Goodsell Tower (1970) Google and MapData Sciences

Site background  Mirvac Group acquired the Goodsell Building in Sydney for $60.2 million in a 50-50 joint venture with the Australian Retirement Fund (ARF). The vendor was the NSW State Government, who was also its last tenant. The former Goodsell Building was a 20 level commercial property comprising 13,000 sqm of net lettable area and basement car parking. The value of office space in the area is around $365 per sqm. Mirvac Development provided the architectural brief and initial building parameters including shape, height, lettable space, environmental performance amongst other specifications. The project was launched for competition in 2004 and there were a number of finalist including Rogers and Stirk with the winning entry.

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8 Chifley Square BIM ADOPTION

documentation and project development. Mirvac Design and Lippman Associates are co-located at the Sydney office.

BIM in Architecture  The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) on the Chifley Square project was initially driven by the client, Mirvac Development, a leading Australian integrated real estate group listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) with approximately $27.2 billion of activities under control across the real estate spectrum. Architectural concept and the schematic design of Chifley Square was awarded to Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners in a two-stage design competition. The winning practice - based in London - has attracted critical acclaim and won a number of international awards including the Stirling Prize 2006 for Madrid Barajas Airport Terminal 4. Richard Rogers received international acclaim for his work with the Italian architect Renzo Piano for winning the Pompidou Centre for Paris, competition held in the early 70’s. Other projects conceived by Rogers Stirk and Partners include the Lloyds HQ which is an iconic building in London’s financial district; the Millennium Dome London Docklands; Heathrow Terminal 5 and also major sustainable mixed-use office and housing developments also in London. Recent projects outside the UK include the sites the World Trade Centre in New York; the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg; law courts in Bordeaux and Antwerp and the National Assemble for Wales, Cardiff. For Chifley Square, Rogers and Stirk are the lead design team working along with Mirvac Design studio and Lippman Associates based in Sydney. Mirvac Design provides all design

“In the London office it all happens by pen and over here we make our CAD drawings and they mark them up. This is the London office”. It was said that any new implementation of technology will be disruptive to some extent but in the case of BIM there was the feeling that such disruption would be very strong, especially when all element and object libraries needed to be redone.

Figure 4.

8 Chifley Square, Aerial view looking from south to north.

From the initial intention of true architectural collaboration, technical problems with the BIM implementation appeared throughout the project. Added to that there is a current perception that the models may need to be re-built because of liability issues, anyone using the model needs to understand exactly what is in them (which in many cases is seen as lack of confidence and trust that the imported model is actually reliable). Unfortunately, there are no automatic checkers. The result is that currently the BIM model is not exploited to its

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8 Chifley Square maximum and the clients may end up paying several times what they envisaged. This situation is exacerbated when the model is shared between different organisations or between designers and fabricators. It was noted that usually fabricators build better quality and more accurate models.

BIM for Structural Design  The engineering consultants also encouraged the adoption of BIM processes and technologies. Arup structural engineers undertook the 8 Chifley Square project. BIM practices for structural design backed the standard within the organization and for the last 3 years every project has been in the 3D environment - at least for the structural side of things. The engineers from Arup take pride in that they also operate the software and understand its capabilities and what it can really do. “I use it as a tool and understand its capabilities and know what it takes to get the right level of interoperability with structural analysis software and the selection of (applications) we tend to use”. Still, BIM collaborative practices between consulting firms is not yet happening in this project - unfortunately as this is one of the fundamental conditions for BIM to be real. In the case of Arup’s contribution to the Chifley Square project, the use of BIM was internal to the organization only and true BIM collaborative practice is not evident in the project under scrutiny. Interoperability is of top priority if BIM is to be the medium for project collaboration. In this respect a lead structural designer for 8 Chifley Square commented :

“We also need to think on how the data will be transferred across software applications especially when changing disciplines. We need to make sure packages talk to each other before we start using them in particular projects. For example in some cases we were documenting the building in Revit1 including architectural projects and then wanted to run the analysis tools but required extensive translation and in some cases data was lost”.

BIM to Fabrication  One of the most promising areas of BIM is that of digital fabrication. In this case study the engineering consultants had experience of digital fabrication throughout a number of projects - most of them in the UK. “We have done projects working on the models that the steel fabricators used. Including the Greater London Authorities (GLA) with Norman Foster and Partners. The GLA building is a steel building and we used XSteel2 modelling tool from the start, especially as we knew that it was the software application that the fabricator was using – so we used it from the start. In that project - executed in 2000 - there was no need for drawings, all went in digital format directly from design to fabrication”. Arup’s BIM engagement for the (Australian) 8 Chifley Square project has demonstrated less interest on current BIM applications for fabrication and automation. It is also to do with the way contracts are organised in Australia.

BIM in Construction  Although construction has not yet commenced for Chifley Square, the use of model viewers for construction planning and site purposes are already of interest to the contractor and 1 2

Revit …. Xsteel from Tekla

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8 Chifley Square builders. Amongst them are NavisWorks3 and a viewer4 to let users query the full building model. The imterface is also simple eough for builders and workers to query the model on-site. For file transfer and BIM management Mirvac has an information network called ADC for all the file transfers. For Mirvac all working documents across projects are stored in a FTP site including all BIM work in Revit. As for the Chifley project 2D and 3D construction drawings will be issued directly from AutoCAD5. A number of Mirvac and Arup respondents believe that as soon as the need for working and reading documentation in three dimensions is created the push for BIM will be accelerated. This will create a necessity amongst stakeholders. Currently a lot of time and effort is spent in endeavouring to demonstrate BIM capabilities to contractors, builders and the supply chain. In this respect Arup sees itself as a leader and also as a facilitator in the uptake of BIM by the construction industry at large.

BIM FM   Mirvac Group has made a strategic decision to embrace BIM - especially as they are both property owners and operators. In the long run an investment in BIM is expected to pay off as it will be a platform to study lifecycle cost as well as to undertake maintenance analysis. The latter as a way to move towards proactive maintenance instead of reactive, also looking more into space planning and as an interface for tenants – users manual.

3 NavisWorks ….. 4 Viewer … 5 AutoCAD …

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8 Chifley Square DRIVERS FOR BIM Building Information Modelling (BIM) was an initiative which was raised within the Chifley Square project. Prior to that, Mirvac Design architects mainly used AutoCAD, MicroStation and TriForma as the design and documentation tools. Aspects of BIM adoption for Chifley Square certainly provide interesting lessons that are important for client, architectural and design practices – the fact that the Chifley Square returned to AutoCAD does not mean that the whole BIM agenda was abandoned.

The strategic view for Mirvac Development and Design is that they will set new standards for adopting BIM for the design, development and operation of facilities. In the Chifley Square project Revit was chosen as the BIM authoring tool. However, unfortunately there appeared to be insufficient preparation in the change process and none of the 10 design members knew much about BIM principles or Revit technicalities before commencing the Chifley Square project.

“… I was asking myself why is it not simple? It is meant to be simple!… still, because you fall off the bike does not mean you don’t ride it again.” The decision to adopt BIM across Mirvac Development and Design came from senior management and 8 Chifley Square was their first attempt to implement it on a large project. In the view of Mirvac the promises of the benefits that come with BIM in operation are so significant that are hard to ignore whereas for Arup, BIM exploitation is a different case as the firm is already much more familiar with BIM and they see themselves as the current industry leaders. Mirvac is a client/developer organisation with a number of different design and property professions under one roof including: design, interiors, architectural services and quantity surveying. They also perform as the client-developer and property manager and are adopting technologies that would allow them to run and maintain their facilities over their life-cycle.

Figure 5.

8 Chifley Square. 3D BIM visualisation

BIM innovation  “BIM is the new order in building and architecture, this is to stay in our practice starting with closer collaboration with construction including changes to cost planning. We see BIM as a way to linking office with site people. Builders linked to our models on-site. We are not there yet but certainly, important lessons emerged for the company as part of this pilot”. On the life-cycle and operation of buildings BIM is also a promising field and as a client organisation Mirvac is

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8 Chifley Square looking at the benefits of BIM for FM (Facility Management) and building operations. “We also have a property management section. We saw the potential in linking our Facilities Management systems to initial project information and contract documentation. The BIM models will be a tool to run our facilities, as an interface for facilities managers”. The third major driver for BIM adoption by Mirvac has to do with automation and improved efficiencies. For instance, in the quantity take off and cost modelling fields, both areas are highly attractive to Mirvac since architects and quantity surveyors are co-located under the same roof. It is worth noting that Mirvac Design only works for Mirvac Development, thus the drive for improving the quality of design documentation and design checks is paramount.

Design and modelling stages  A consolidated design team including: Rogers and Stirk as the lead design firm, Mirvac Design and external architects Lippman Associates all formed part of the design team working from schematic design and design documentation. Arup were the main engineering consultants working on the structural design, mechanical and electrical engineering.

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Figure 6.

8 Chifley Square, massing studies using traditional techniques – the client and planning authorities would still request physical models

At the schematic design stage the project was conceived and modelled with traditional design techniques such as hand sketches and massing studies using wood and acrylic models. Most of this work was carried out primarily by Rogers and Stirk as part of the preparations for the design competition. The Mirvac Design team had responsibility to fully design and document the project. Initially they would receive hand sketches from Rogers and Stirk. External AutoCAD consultants do assist with the architectural detailing and mainly at the design documentation. In their view this is the stage where BIM can be an effective tool and method for the management and timely delivery of a complete quality project.

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8 Chifley Square BIM PROCESS BIM process and collaboration is radically different to that of AutoCAD which is a more lineal one, it is expected that BIM should be a concurrent process where various teams are solving aspects of the project in real time. The concurrent design process can happen at both levels within an organisation or externally with other consultants, project team members or organisations. “In our view a BIM is not just another architectural model, it is a model where different tools are used including those for structural engineers, quantity surveyors, architects and so forth”. Within the organisation the challenge relies on breaking the gap between design staff and technical staff including CAD operatives. In the case of BIM the lead architect, more often than not, would need to understand very well BIM processes and possibilities. In the case of working with a wide range of consultants such as the case with Chifley Square engineers to make calculations do not usually work on geometric modelling and this was a frustration for the architects as there were also pretty much by themselves not a single BIM expert present in the office. In a BIM design environment it is important to model some aspects of the building first, especially the main structures and then architectural and finally mechanical. Ironically, structural design tends to wait for architects to provide detailed modelling and instructions. One of the problems identified for implementing BIM on the Chifley Square project was the lack of understanding of construction and building processes by

architects, which is a problem that will not be solved in the short term because architects often do not have detailed knowledge of construction processes. “It all looks too simple in the computer, but some elements that we specified as single one-piece elements were actually too large to be built. The BIM documentation and break down had to be organised in such a way that matches the way the building will be built. We did not do this and we did not know it was so important”. This was the case with some of the structural elements for the Chifley Square project. The engineers would provide the dimensioning but the architects would have to do the geometrical modelling. During this process is where the architects modelled large structural elements as single piece, which for buildability purposes they had to be segmented 10 or 20 times. Ironically, the one-piece elements are the easier to deal in a computer whereas on-site is the other way around.

Data transfer and exchange.  In transferring and exchanging data files, the Chifley Square architects team experienced problems from the beginning - particularly in saving files and sending large files to the ‘ftp’ site. They believed that the main problems lay with the (large) number of team members (10) all accessing the model, and also with the size of the Revit files. The inclusion of a large product and material library – which had to be created for this particular project – would also create file size problems. The other problems with optimising team size and file segmentation may be explained by the fact that there was no BIM expert within the team.

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8 Chifley Square HR, TRAINING AND KNOWLEDGE Right from the start of the project, Mirvac Development as the client organisation requested the full project be documented using BIM. The design team was sent to a 3-day training course on the use of Revit – selected as the main BIM authoring application tool. In many ways the problems seemed to spring from a lack of understanding of the full implications of utilising a BIM approach, and it seems architects and designers assumed that BIM was just another way to produce AutoCAD documentation. This presents a real problem at the implementation stage. “There is a misunderstanding from the design team as to what BIM really is. I do not know if we were trying to create short cuts or if we just simply did not understand what we were doing. The lesson is that you have to give people enough time to learn to do things properly even if things need remodelling”. According to feedback from Mirvac Design personnel, the best way to introduce BIM would be by training and learning on the job, and then back to training, and most importantly to have at least one BIM expert in the team. There was also seen to be a need to provide extensive and sufficient thinking and planning when introducing something such as BIM to a project or to a team - especially when it is being introduced for the first time in a project and within an organisation. A team that was not successful in achieving full BIM implementation will

find it hard to return back to BIM, a team member commented: “We were at the front-end in setting a new model with all the initial BIM architectural and structural elements for the overall BIM model. It was very tough for everyone but especially for the BIM manager as we needed to deliver a project on time – we were managing a lot of data exchange and frustration”. Another crucial aspect of BIM is the fact that beyond being a documentation tool one would argue that it is a knowledge gathering methodology, thus one of its main challenges would be to integrate designers, operatives and technical people. This is a challenge not just of knowledge but one of culture and attitude within the industry. One of the team members pointed out that BIM was actually hindering collaboration. With BIM you have less people doing more: “We all need to be on the same level to really collaborate in a BIM environment. Currently there are layers of people in between designers and draftsmen so in our experience keeping the same team structure and knowledge base is not productive – is counterproductive. With BIM we had the feeling of a production line was even stronger as we had to get approvals for any changes made on the BIM. At the moment it is easier to print, have mark-ups on paper, and then give them to the CAD guy”. This seems to reinforce that in 2008 senior architects sit at the shoulder of junior architects and CAD operatives and this breaks the ability of using and controlling BIM outputs, somewhat like the metaphor of the ‘brain and hand’ working as one entity. In the view of the respondents, in future students coming out of University will do all in 3D - naturally - as this has been the norm for them from day one.

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8 Chifley Square At the moment most senior architects and project architects were trained in the pre-CAD era where the transition into CAD has already been a challenge. “What happens with us is that the people who are thinking about the projects are not those who are drawing, and what happens with our office is that some guys are asked to present these beautiful 3D images and created many problems because they do not know that BIM is more than renders”. Junior architects suggested that senior people should also assess BIM programs as to be more aware of the ‘real’ capabilities and not just accept what the media tells them - understanding the challenges including what it really takes to put the collaborative process into practise.

it would have to be remodelled or redone for real BIM use. In terms of team dynamics, the team structure for BIM needs to be flat. Team work arraignment such as round table and the studio-type approach is important as team members can learn from each other. It is also very important to have at least one BIM expert in the team. Ideally projects would be divided in different elements such as rooms, zones ore areas so that everyone has some sense of responsibility and ownership, one of the good things about BIM is that the imput from each architect is directly visualised and realated to the overall project – it does not matter how small this might be.

Many enlightening comments were made on a range of issues by design staff from several perspectives. Finally, it is very important that all team members are on the same level. To work on BIM everyone needs to be on the same level in this way we all can really exchange information in real time. Unfortunately more often than not we get CVs of good people but sometimes you are looking for people who are ready to use specific software applications and here is where time seems to be a real problem as we would train them in Revit. Some people would get up to speed with BIM technologies - especially graduate architects. In some cases there is a misunderstanding from the design team as to what BIM really is, it is quite common that people ask why would you use Revit if you could even use a free tool such as SketchUp6 ignoring that SketchUp is not even a parametric authoring tool and thus anything done in


Google SketchUp.

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8 Chifley Square LESSONS LEARNED AND METAPHORS This Case Study has provided insights into the process of implementing BIM on a high-rise building project. The case study describes the transition from CAD to BIM in terms of Drivers for Adoption, BIM Adoption Process and HR and Training. The case study also documented the lessons learnt on one organisation’s initial attempt to move into BIM - including organisational, technical and knowledge aspects. “I was asking myself why is not simple? it is meant to be simple! Still, because you fall off the bike does not mean you don’t ride it again”. For most if not all of the architectural staff the biggest thing they learned with Chifley Square project is that BIM is a fundamentally different thing to designing and documenting a building in AutoCAD. “It is not a bunch of drawings, it is a model; in one respect it is a lot simpler but in another way everything is interconnected”. Another lesson is to start with smaller projects and smaller teams. Although there can be substantial repetition on a high-rise building including ‘typical’ floor plans, it is better to begin with an smaller project such as housing. Or even with smaller systems within the large project such as the services on certain floor level.

for it. Especially if the work goes towards a large commission such as Chifley Square. This will certainly put them in a better competitive advantage but for the time being the company needs to bring in clients and keep employing its staff. “It is a really exciting concept – if we use it as a design tool it will change the way architects design – at the moment it seems more of a documentation tool which is not as exciting”. This case study provides insight into this case scenario and some of the lessons to share with others. 

BIM is more than installing just another CAD software – you can delete one door and all doors will disappear.

Have a back-up plan – not just for a return to CAD but to keep your team morale afloat.

Think big but start small – a highrise sounds exiting but perhaps a carpark is more achievable in the short term.

The final lesson is that after all the pain, BIM is a good step in the right direction. “This is a step along the way to an ideal situation, to some extent I get frustrated, I have used CAD all my life but I get frustrated because is like building a ship in a bottle so you can only ever access this much (indicating with hands) of your model at any time. Drawings always come up in different scales - the scale is never the same. You cannot really display on the screen 1/100 so you don’t get a true sense of the size of things”.

As for smaller practices or individual architects there are clear benefits for the shift into BIM. The external architects for the Chifley Square are considering the shift but not unless the client pays

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Building Information Modelling

Method Case Study Protocol

Contents Research Objective ............................ 2 Case Study Method ............................ 2 Unit of analysis.............................. 3 Interview agenda........................... 4 The Pilot ........................................... 4 Data Collection and Analysis ................ 5 Research Timeline.............................. 5 References........................................ 5

Figure 1.

Case Study analysis using MindJetÂŽ

This section defines the research objective and describes the method and approaches adopted to achieve it.

The following method was implemented by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team for the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project sponsored by the CRC - Construction Innovation. The RMIT team would like to express its gratitude to all interviewees and those whose actions have greatly facilitated this effort. For more information about this project and project participants, please visit

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE The research objective is to explore and share the learning experiences of AEC organisations implementing and using Building Information Modelling [BIM]. This research is part of the BIM National (Australian) Guidelines project and as such needed to collect experiences and information of Australian companies using multidisciplinary BIM. The research here presented covers a broad range of BIM implementation and use scenarios based on a Case Study research method. Individual Case Studies can be read as independent documents.

CASE STUDY METHOD The case-study method was preferred over other research methods (Yin 1994) especially as this project was set to investigate and share knowledge and experiences of BIM implementation across six case studies. The specific case study method is based on a framework for building knowledge in information systems research known as Structured-case (Carroll and Swatman 2000). The approach is summarised as having three main elements: the conceptual framework, the research cycle, and the scrutiny of knowledge built. 

Plan: concepts and relationships are used to select a research design;

Collect Data: during data collection, researcher examines and analyses the data, record’s interpretations and may adjust data collection to respond to opportunities, unexpected outcomes and emergent themes;

Analyse: using concepts in the conceptual framework as initial codes to guide the analysis which may be an iterative or on-going task to better ensure understanding of the data and underlying themes; and

Reflect: reviewing the research process, evaluating outcomes, reviewing the case structures, building knowledge by looking beyond the data, through to changing conceptual framework to incorporate the knowledge accumulated.

Structured-case builds knowledge from multiple cases that are used to sequentially enrich and revise the conceptual framework. Therefore, it is particularly suited to building knowledge of the middle range, as iterations of the research cycle lead to increasingly abstract concepts that have broader applicability than lower level, concrete hypotheses. This iterative theory building process can also be described as moving from substantive theory (applicable to the particular case) to formal theory (may be applied to a variety of situations) (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). It is not only inductive (moving from the data to theory) but also tightly interrelated with practice: field work leads to theory building which leads to further research into practice. In the time-frame of this particular case-studies project data was revisited through meetings and review sessions. Eliciting lessons learned was the prime objective of this project including operational and business aspects of BIM implementation, and to a lesser extent theory building. However the scrutiny of the practical outcomes could

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enable theory building for future publications including future critical reassessment of findings or re-examination of the data with new insights. Structured-case not only helps in performing the research, but also documents the links between the research themes (in the conceptual framework), data (observations and interpretations in the field), the data analysis (coding using the concepts in the conceptual framework, and emergent themes) and the theory and knowledge accumulated through the research process (the series of conceptual frameworks). This documentation captures the dynamics of knowledge building.

Unit of analysis  The unit of analysis in this research were the six building projects selected as Case Studies for investigation. All projects were selected by RMIT University research team within and occasionally outside the pool of projects involving CRC for Construction industry partners. The projects were selected based on the expectation of satisfying minimum requirements of multidiscipline BIM collaboration. Finding suitable projects with multidisciplinary collaboration was both a condition and a challenge in the Case Study selection process. The following Figure 2 illustrates the selection criteria. .

Figure 2.

‘The project’ is the unit of analysis and the purpose of BIM implementation. The information obtained from the project was its scope, stakeholders and BIM features. The companies provided the context of the implementation. Each case study participant was interviewed, depending on their profile, on different aspects of the company’s BIM implementation and method. The focus of the research was the collaboration between companies.

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The following list describes likely profiles of targeted participants: 

Senior Manager: Person in a position of leadership and decision making– not necessarily a Director, or not even having a full-time management role, but a person with a “strategic role” and vision for the organisation, and ideally with some level of financial knowledge of their organisation.

Project Leader: Likely to have the most experience in the case-study project team. Considered essentially as the project director – i.e. responsible for the project, for example the Project Architect (in Architecture), or Line Manager (in Manufacturing), or Project Manager (in Construction), or Maintenance Specialist (in Facilities Management).

BIM Coordinator: Likely to develop or oversee implementation of company Guidelines & Policies regarding BIM. Responsible for data exchange policies, for support, and for industry feedback to suppliers. However not necessarily the BIM ‘technical specialist’. For example an IT Manager, or CAD Manager.

Team member/Modeller: Normally a “hands-on user” of the BIM system. For example a documenter in design, or a detailer in structural engineering.

In order to satisfy RMIT University’s research ethics requirements1 all participants were given a letter (‘Plain Language Statement’) in advance explaining the research, and inviting their participation. Before the interview commenced, research participants were asked to sign the prescribed Consent Form.

Interview agenda  An interview agenda was developed in order to standardise the type of information collected across the various case studies. The interview agenda (see Appendix A) covers four different areas of BIM that are of interest to this research: Technology, Process, Human Resources and Policy. The agenda is composed of over 70 questions, however the questions were grouped according to the four respondent profiles, as defined above, and only those applicable to a particular participant were applied. No respondent was interviewed on all the questions.

THE PILOT A pilot case study was undertaken in early April 2008. The objective of this pilot was to test the design of the interview agenda. A Senior Manager (see above classification) of a structural engineering consultancy with BIM experience was invited for the pilot. The participant was aware of the test nature of the interview. The duration of the interview was 40 minutes. Minor amendments in the nature and structure of the questions were made to the interview agenda as a consequence of the pilot. The pilot was recorded, but the interview was not documented as part of any case studies. The pilot was however used as a benchmark to estimate future research efforts such as coverage of questions, transcription time and quality of the content. 1 The Design and Social Context Portfolio, Human Research Ethics Sub-Committee at RMIT University granted the research Risk Level 2 Ethics approval on the 16th of May 2008.Register number HRESC-A-028-03/08.

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DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Interviews commenced in May and finished in early September 2008. Interviews were conducted at the offices of various participants in Brisbane (Queensland), Sydney (NSW) and Melbourne (Victoria). The sequence of questions was determined by the flow of each interview rather than by the order shown in Appendix A. However, at the end of each interview the interview agenda was used as a checklist to ensure that all data was collected at some point during the interview. Interviews were voice-recorded for reference with the approval of the interviewees, and following the interviews the recordings were then transcribed. Using different analysis techniques, like the one shown in Figure 1 (cover), transcriptions were analysed and the findings reported in the individual case study reports. In order to minimise any bias during the analysis two researchers were present at the time of the interview.


REFERENCES Carroll, JM. and Swatman, PA. (2000) Structured-case: a methodological framework for building theory in information system research, European Journal of Information Systems, pp. 235-242. Glaser, B. and Strauss, A. (1967) The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies of Qualitative Research. Wiedenfeld & Nicholson, London. Yin, RK (1984) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.

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Building Information Modelling

Lessons Learned Based on Case Study Analysis

Figure 1.

M ulti- di s ci pli nary m odel from Ca se St udy 1

This section explores lessons learned through conducting and analysing case study discussions and transcripts. The lessons identified in this report are either recurrent themes across many projects, lessons highlighted by one or more interviewees or resulting from cross-case study analysis performed by the research team. The lessons chosen for inclusion in this report are those with – arguably – broader applicability outside the confines of individual case studies; references to individual projects and interviewees have thus been muted.

These lessons learned reported are the result of analysis performed by RMIT University’s BIM Research Team as part of the BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies project sponsored by the CRC- Construction Innovation. The RMIT team would like to express its gratitude to all interviewees and those whose actions have greatly facilitated this effort. For more information about this project and project participants, please visit

Contents The Fourth Dimension ...............................................................................3 4D modelling may promote programme transparency ............................................. 3 The 4D modelling gaps ....................................................................................... 4 Flexibility of the 4D model is directly proportional to its subdivision .......................... 4 BIM’s Effect on Organisational Behaviour .................................................5 BIM disrupting roles within industry...................................................................... 5 The skill/experience paradox ............................................................................... 5 BIM may dilute organisational experience.............................................................. 6 BIM’s perceived cognitive load ............................................................................. 6 The Pilot Project........................................................................................7 The experimentation-delivery dilemma ................................................................. 7 Resource selection and training ............................................................................ 7 The Modelling Process ...............................................................................8 Detailed vs. early and fixed vs. fluid workflow dilemmas ......................................... 8 Defining the right level of detail ........................................................................... 9 Difference between modelling structures and services........................................... 11 Difference between mechanical engineers’ and sub-contractors’ model ................... 12 The Collaborative Process .......................................................................13 Stakeholders proximity may enable collaborative innovation.................................. 13 Implementation Enablers and Barriers....................................................14 Customisation as an Implementation Barrier........................................................ 14 BIM is not an evolution of CAD procedures .......................................................... 14 The interoperability issue: contrasting opinions .................................................... 15 Model rights .................................................................................................... 16 3D visualisation is still the main deliverable of BIM implementation ........................ 16 Trends and Views ....................................................................................17 The emergence of Building Information Modelling as a service ............................... 17 Listening to industry stakeholders ...................................................................... 17

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THE FOURTH DIMENSION 4D modelling may promote programme transparency The use of 4D modelling - in one occasion noted - caused the alignment of the Contract Programme (programme shared between the contractor and the client) and the Target Programme (the internal programme used by the contractor and not typically shared with the client). 4D models constitute two interconnected efforts: 3D modelling and timesequencing where 3D components (construction elements or groups of elements) within a modelling application are connected to respective tasks within a scheduling programme. The contractor, faced with the prospect of generating two different 4D models, opted to disclose the Target Programme to the client without committing to delivering the project according to it. In effect, the use of 4D modelling may well have promoted additional transparency between the contractor and other project stakeholders.

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The 4D modelling gaps For the 3D design model to be used beyond the Design Phase, it is important to identify who will be responsible for adding the necessary details - often missing from the design models yet needed for construction. On their own and without adhering to some sort of modelling lifecycle guidelines, design models (architectural, structural and services) are typically inadequate for construction use: modelling objects are often grouped in layers (ArchiCAD 1) or object-categories (Revit 2) and not organised according to construction trades or schedulable tasks. This highlights a significant constructability gap within design models - a gap which needs to be bridged by either side, or satisfied by a new BIM player. However even with the availability of a new BIM player engaged to progress the design model towards a 4D format more suitable fo r construction/procurement, it is still not clear whether this effort will cause significant delays in actual model-driven construction as the model undertakes its necessary transformation. As noted by one Case Study participant: ‘to allow adequate planning of construction activities, the virtual model should be made available in a mature and detailed form prior to the contractor taking ownership of site’. Therefore, it may be argued that constructability and model subdivisions may be better performed early within the design phase, a process not without its specific challenges [refer to Detailed vs. Early Model dilemma] and [The emergence of Building Information Modelling as a service].

Flexibility of the 4D model is directly proportional to its subdivision For the 4D model to be adequately used for constructability, plant desig n and construction sequencing, the model and the attached programme (work breakdown schedule) should be subdivided significantly. Only 4D models with enough granularity will be flexible enough to be usable by different stakeholders. As an example of this granularity, concrete columns within a building project can be grouped and subdivided as follows - from low granularity/usability to high granularity/usability: columns grouped by building level and linked to a single task, columns grouped by zone and thus linked to multiple tasks, each column linked to a single task and each column is linked to multiple tasks. Adequate granularity of 4D models allows construction managers to plan resource allocation and movement more efficiently. It also allows near realtime virtual representation of the construction site and better costallocation against individual construction activities rather than as generic percentages. 1 2

Graphisoft ArchiCAD ®, refer to Autodesk Revit® Architecture, refer to

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BIM’S EFFECT ON ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOUR BIM disrupting roles within industry Some of the contractors - interviewed as part of the Case Studies project indicated that digital models are allowing them to increasingly offer additional services ‘directly to’ construction clients. One contracting company expressed the belief that it ‘only needed the schematic design’ prepared by the architectural consultant for them to prepare a 4D model. These digital models, production of which may be out-sourced to affiliate companies in developing countries, include the architect’s design intent yet are actually generated by the contractor. The contracting company has also started recruiting ‘architectural’ staff to enhance their deliverables for D&C (Design and Construct) projects allowing the contractor to sidestep the architect’s role altogether. As such, the architect’s role in some of the D&C projects utilising a BIM-enabled contractor has been reduced to generating the initial ‘original idea’.

The skill/experience paradox One contractor organisation indicated that an experience/skill paradox is hampering their 4D adoption efforts. On one hand, highly experienced construction programmers with construction and procurement knowledge are typically not skilled in handling computers, modelling software or related technologies. On the other hand, ‘younger’ staff can be highly skilled in software tools yet may lack the construction knowledge and procurement experience necessary to generate a reliable construction programme. Since contractors prioritise on ‘traditional’ and reliable programmes over innovative and ‘not-yet-trustworthy’ 4D models, this experience/skill paradox may be a significant 4D-adoption barrier for some contractors. [also read BIM may dilute organisational experience]

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BIM may dilute organisational experience Two contractors expressed the opinion that BIM/4D may affect the ‘experience threshold’ required on a construction project. This appears mainly due to two factors: one inherent within the technology itself and another relating to technological skills [refer to The skill/experience paradox]. The use of highly visual exploration of construction activities may not devalue the construction knowledge held by experienced construction staff. However, accurate 4D visualisations may assist less-experienced staff in visualising construction problems and their potential solutions. According to case study interviewees, 4D modelling is attributed with many qualities including: ‘enhancing communications’, allowing ‘pre-planning’ and ‘increasing confidence’ in selected site solutions. Static and dynamic visualisations - generated out of the model - are also credited with providing clarity, preventing mistakes and assisting in lowering overall risks - both physical and financial. All these benefits are only realised with the availability of skilled technology operators. It thus follows that ‘younger less experienced staff’ skilled in operating computers and managing BIM models may be given a ‘higher level of responsibility’ than they would typically carry in non technology-saturated environments. In summary, the use of BIM/4D may affect the experience threshold required on construction projects: (a) BIM requires technology-literate, ‘typically younger’ and less-experienced staff to operate the hardware and software, and (b) construction experiences of ‘typically older’ staff can be exposed and transmitted efficiently using 4D visualisations.

BIM’s perceived cognitive load Using BIM software may be placing an extra ‘cognitive’ load on modellers. This view has been expressed by architectural drafting staff as they grapple with object-based platforms. They reported that the need for the continuous and simultaneous consideration of multiple views, materials and relations while generating a view (a Floor Plan for example) can be taxing on the user. They contrasted this perception with the relative ease of drawing lines within a CAD package - lines which do not automatically affect other views or carry extra information, material or relations. This feeling of ‘load’ appears to be particularly felt by junior staff as they start learning and then using object-based software.

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THE PILOT PROJECT The experimentation-delivery dilemma Selecting a pilot project with regular project restrictions (budget and time) on which to test BIM technologies and processes can prove quite challenging. The experimental nature of the pilot will make it less profitable than typically expected from a similar 2D CAD-based project. Depending on an organisation’s culture, this decrease in financial return can be seen as an investment towards establishing ‘what is possible’ under typical conditions. It can also prove frustrating to ‘highly productive’ staff accustomed to timely delivery within the strictest budgetary controls. These issues can be potentially remedied through highly supportive management and prior acknowledgement of likely discrepancies on staff motivation, project timeline and budget caused by the experimentation.

Resource selection and training The selection of a complex collaborative BIM project with tight deadlines as a first ‘live pilot’ may appear counter-intuitive. However, such a choice may have its benefits as a challenging project may well generate a ‘challenge-meeting attitude’ and encourage those undertaking it to think outside their proverbial boxes. This approach, however, has its risks: a poorly-prepared challenge may also generate a ‘change-aversion attitude’ when the resources (human, physical and temporal) are not adequately selected to meet that challenge. One lesson learned is that the ‘success’ of a live pilot project (meeting pre-set objectives) appears to be more a function of staff attitude than it is of project complexity, time allowances or training.

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THE MODELLING PROCESS Detailed vs. early and fixed vs. fluid workflow dilemmas The discussions conducted with case study participants identified two ‘dilemmas’ facing project participants within a collaborative BIM workflow. The first dilemma is between (a) the need to generate highly detailed and accurate 3D models and (b) the need to deliver these models early before actual construction begins. Typically, construction details and ‘shop drawings’ are provided by sub-contractors after the construction/procurement process has begun. However a detailed 3D model is needed earlier – much before the tender process - in order to generate accurate cost estimates, clash detection reports and other BIM deliverables. The second dilemma is between (c) the requirements of Cost Planners who demand early resolution of design issues, materials selection and construction techniques and (d) the requirements of designers and value managers who expect certain fluidity during the early design phases. Although the benefits of introducing cost planning, estimation and assurance early within a project’s lifecycle can be easily argued for, there are significant technological and procedural challenges facing the introduction of these concepts into the workflow. The detailed nature of ‘elemental’ information required by Cost Planners ‘as early as possible’ within the Design Phase are contradicted by the ‘generic’ approach adopted by designers as they try to optimise various contrasting requirements. While the first dilemma can be resolved by including sub-contractors’ input early in the Design Phase, the second dilemma may require a thorough rethink of the BIM workflow to enable early and accurate model-based estimations without totally sacrificing the fluidity required to investigate and generate original designs.

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Defining the right level of detail Defining the right level of detail within a BIM model requires significant consideration early within the project’s lifecycle. If the detail level is too low, the model may end up being less beneficial to its users as it fails to provide the necessary on-demand information. If the detail level is too high, the model may include redundant data, overwhelm users and degrad e system performance. It is thus important to prescribe an appropriate level of detail before modelling even starts rather than follow an ad-hoc process of ‘trial and error’. According to case study participants, the following criteria – once established - will assist in identifying the required level of modelling detail: •

The information to be derived out of the model (e.g. is a door schedule, or an equipment list, expected out of the model?)

The model’s intended use (e.g. will it be used for documentation, multidisciplinary collaboration or fabrication?)

The model’s lifecycle (e.g. will the model’s use extend beyond design, beyond construction and/or will it be used for facility management?)

The above principles have been shown to guide BIM users in their quest to prescribe the right level of modelling detail. Without a similar analysis preceding the modelling process, the model may either end up lacking in information or be seen as overwhelming with too much detail.

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BIM software tools do not cater for all requirements Many case study participants do not always generate all required deliverables out of a single object-based model. This is reported to result from the inability of current software tools to intuitively generate specialised deliverables from highly developed models that are typically optimised for design or construction. For example, generating an acoustic study, a lighting analysis, or a photo-realistic 3D rendering out of the model is hampered by the extensive amount of detail typically embedded within it. To mitigate this limitation, some case study interviewees indicated that they resort to generating different models for different requirements; each with a varied amount of detail, or even structured differently. Whilst they acknowledge that such an approach may be counter-intuitive from a BIM standpoint – where all deliverables need to be generated from a single or federated database – they still depend on multiple separate models to satisfy project requirements. These models are not always mere snapshots of the main model but sometimes persist alongside it. In summary, some project participants using currently available BIM tools still generate project outcomes through non-BIM approaches. Until BIM technologies allow for streamlined delivery of varied requirements, such an approach may well continue.

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Difference between modelling structures and services There are inherent differences between modelling structural and servicerelated components within the Building Information Model. For example, structural steel can be generated in adequate detail early within the design phase as structural material and erection methods need not vary much during the project’s lifecycle. This is however different with respect to electrical, mechanical, audio-visual and other technology-dependent services. The specifications and costs of this type of equipment are comparatively fluid; new equipment may become available and prices may vary significantly in the intervening period between conceptual design and actual tender. Also, the selection of materials and construction methods by the structura l engineer are not typically revisited by any of the structural subcontractors. This is however quite different to mechanical, lighting and audio-visual equipment and routing; selections by designers are considered as ‘recommendations’ and performance requirements. After tender or even after the structure is erected, the services’ subcontractors may well suggest a total or partial substitute of the engineer’s design (different duct routing, equipment and fixtures) that need only meet the design intent and performance criteria. The above understanding is of relevance to design engineers and subcontractors as it affects the BIM workflow. It may be argued that: •

it is possible to incorporate structural sub-contractor’s input into the digital model early in the design phase. However, it may be difficult to incorporate the input of services sub-contractors’ (mechanical, hydraulic, electrical, ...) into the early design model but it must wait until the tender has been awarded.

it may be advisable for services’ engineers to generate design intent, initial routing (for clash-detection with other disciplines), performance criteria and equipment recommendations without investing in a highly detailed model which is likely to be replaced – more probably than not – by another one provided by sub-contractors and specialised suppliers (Note: please refer to Difference between mechanical engineers’ and sub-contractors’ model).

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Difference between mechanical engineers’ and sub-contractors’ model Both the mechanical engineer and the ducting sub-contractor may generate their own 3D models. These may be similar but often are not. Based on the observations of multiple interviewees, it is valuable to convey some of the issues concerning the two different 3D models. •

The mechanical engineer’s model is performance-based and conforms to strict design requirements. The ducting sub-contractors produce their models to meet the performance requirements set by the engineer however their models are vetted against actual site conditions. The subcontractor’s model is usually optimised for fabrication and sometimes allow the generation of CNC files (Computer Numerical Control) for laser cutting.

The engineer’s model is generated before tender (i.e pre-construction for new structures) while the sub-contractor’s model may be generated after the building has been constructed. The subcontractor – with the benefit of an existing structure to literally walk through – may thus be able to produce an optimised design with less ‘runs’ and ‘penetrations’.

The mechanical engineer’s equipment recommendation – made pretender - may be outdated by the time actual purchases are made. The sub-contractor is better placed to recommend equipment replacements that are newer, yet still meet the engineer’s performance criteria and the client’s cost requirements.

The mechanical engineer’s experience in generating detailed 3D models is often much less than that of many ducting sub-contractors who have been routinely using 3D modelling to design and fabricate their ducts.

While the mechanical engineer fulfils his/her role during the desig n process, the sub-contractor works during the construction phase and interacts closely with other construction-phase players. The subcontractor is provided access to shop-drawings and 3D models generated by other sub-contractors to ensure coordination. This may result in sub-contractors generating more accurate 3D models – a necessity also partly driven by the responsibility imposed upon them by the general contractor who routinely shifts the responsibility and cost of any clash-detection downstream.

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THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS Stakeholders proximity may enable collaborative innovation If the participants in a collaborative BIM project are closely knit - similar to a government or an umbrella authority this may facilitate experimentation and innovation within that project. This has been evidenced by the experimental deployment of a technological solution with substantial extra cost to its participants irrespective of short-term return on investment (ROI). The increased possibilities for collaboration on innovative solutions may have been facilitated by the absence of competing interests and adversarial relations typical of construction projects. Also, if participants in a collaborative BIM project are co-located - whether permanently (multi-disciplinary firms) or temporarily (physically co-located project teams) - then there may be increased possibilities for innovation behind the technological and procedural firewalls.

Trust as a main factor in model-based collaboration The contractual relationship governing BIM collaboration is not yet well delineated. Some project participants expressed that ‘trust’ is the main factor – not the technical abilities of project participants - in instigating and sustaining collaborative BIM efforts. Without trust, sharing a highly detailed model, with a great amount of information typically crossing disciplinary boundaries, would be fraught with risks not adequately discussed or covered by copyright, moral rights or liability documentation. Even when taking the technical abilities of project stakeholders into consideration, trust - a ‘non quantifiable human emotion’ – remains a deciding factor in model-based collaboration.

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IMPLEMENTATION ENABLERS AND BARRIERS Customisation as an Implementation Barrier – contrasting views The existence of highly customised CAD libraries has been identified as one reason to delay adopting a BIM solution. When an organisation has invested much time and effort in developing components and procedures on one software platform, it finds more difficulty in adopting a replacement platform because of a range of identified reasons: •

The new application may not be compatible with available legacy data and thus there is a perceived loss of effort and value.

The organisation may fear losing a position of competitive advantage built around its highly customised software solution.

The new candidate application may have insufficient standardised components. This may cause apprehension in potential adopters when they calculate the effort, cost and time needed to generate standard, as well as customised, components to match original levels.

In a contrasting opinion, one case-study participant expressed the view that the perceived benefits from using BIM technologies out-weighed the benefits from maintaining their highly-customised CAD system [also refer to BIM is not an evolution of CAD procedures].

BIM is not an evolution of CAD procedures Case study participants expressed the view that BIM cannot be implemented through a gradual progression from legacy CAD to BIM. Some indicated that adopting BIM concepts and technologies requires a mindset of ‘revolution’; a process that cannot evolve from replicating legacy CAD standards and procedures. BIM is perceived as a ‘disruptive technology’ that requires quite significant changes to the design and documentatio n philosophy. This disruption will necessarily include some ‘pain’ which needs to be absorbed and mitigated over time and through deliberate effort. It follows that adopting BIM may necessitate ‘leaving behind some CAD advantages’ like customised CAD libraries, scripts and other established documentation standards. This shedding of legacy data and procedures is considered – by some interviewees – as a prerequisite for successful adoption of BIM principles and processes.

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The interoperability issue: contrasting opinions Some interviewees stressed the importance of using (a) non-proprietary interoperable formats (like Industry Foundation Classes) to enable more uniform exchange and modelling standards. In a contrasting view, other interviewees believe that it is more efficient to achieve interoperability when stakeholders agree to use the same (b) proprietary formats (like DGN 3 and RVT 4) which often enables them to sidestep exchange formats, model translation and validation issues. Those who support option (a) above believe that there is a long-term benefit in supporting a neutral object-based format which will eventually allow ‘seamless translation’ between most BIM software and generating a shared multi-disciplinary model. However, they concede that this may only be achieved with the availability of IFC ‘Model Servers’, a technology that has not reached commercial maturity yet. Interviewees who support option (b) have expressed the need for a ‘commercial-quality’ set of technologies which are typically found within the proprietary sphere. They argue that much better interoperability, higher accuracy and much less loss of information are achieved when organisations confine themselves to a single set of exchange formats generated by a major software house (like Autodesk 5, Bentley 6, Gehry Technologies 7, Nementschek 8, Tekla 9...). However, they concede that they may be limiting their collaborative potential as the choice of exchange format will necessary filter out many potential collaborators and technologies. The above positions on interoperability are not mutually exclusive; there are many cases where proprietary and non-proprietary formats were used concurrently to meet project objectives. However, organisations showing a preference for one of the above positions have actively modified their software purchase policies and training processes in line with that position.

3 4 5 6 7 8 9

DGN is the standard format generated from the Bentley® MicroStation platform, refer to RVT is the standard format generated from the Autodesk® Revit platform, refer to Autodesk®, refer to Bentley®, refer to Gehry Technologies, refer to Nemetsheck, refer to Tekla® Structures, refer to

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Model rights Subdivision of rights and responsibilities relating to a 4D or Building Information Model is an area of specific concern to many organisations participating in this Guidelines and Case Studies project. Ownership of the digital model, especially when it has been collaboratively generated b y multiple parties, is not clear with the absence of policy directives from authorities and umbrella organisations. Ownership is also perceived to be more ambiguous with the involvement of Modelling Service Providers which may use proprietary tools and components to generate the model. In addition to model ownership, other issues relating to design copyright, moral rights and risks inherent in sharing a highly-detailed model are treated quite differently by many participants. While some organisations have opted not to share their digital models with other project participants, others have developed their own ‘BIM deeds’ and ‘disclaimer clauses’ to be added to contracts.

3D visualisation is still the main deliverable of BIM implementation Many participants in the case studies reported that 3D visualisation is the most sought-after benefit of using BIM technologies. The interviewees acknowledged that more benefits can be harvested out of the model through querying its database or linking it to external analysis software. However, these benefits and how to employ them within a project’s lifecycle are not well understood. Many personnel perceive the absence o f procedural guidelines - how to employ BIM software, collaborate with others and achieve an integrated project delivery - as a root cause in slowing the proliferation of BIM concepts and realising its benefits.

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TRENDS AND VIEWS The emergence of Building Information Modelling as a service Collaborative BIM projects, whether within or between the Design, Construction or Operations lifecycle phases, are generating a demand pull for Modelling Service Providers (MSP) able to manage the complexities of model-based workflows. As evidenced by two of the case studies, there is an established need for at least two types of modelling services: (a) collaborative modelling where the MSP is assigned a role to manage the different models generated by different players and (b) 4D modelling where the MSP is in charge of translating or re-creating models suitable for construction planning and sequencing.

Listening to industry stakeholders Contractors believe they need to be involved early in the design process so they can ‘bring their experiences into it’ and provide constructability feedback to designers. Contractors would also like to involve subcontractors earlier in the collaboration process by inviting them to sit with designers and discuss and resolve intricate design/construction issues. This early involvement is believed to be a key in minimising rework and speeding up the design/construction process. Some industry players believe that their voice is not being adequately heard. They agree that inviting a few representative industry stakeholders to workshops is ‘a good way to collect, disseminate and institute BIM knowledge’ but argue for the inclusion of all players in discussions preceding any adoption of Guidelines or ‘BIM rules’. One vocal manager of a sub-contracting company indicated that ‘those developing the guidelines’ have a responsibility to invite players further down the supply chain for adequate consultation. He urged industry leaders to avoid ‘settling BIM collaboration rules’ in a fashion that does not necessarily suit all industry players. It was also argued that ‘rules and guidelines should not be undertaken as an academic exercise’ but should be set through collective consultations of all industry stakeholders along the entire project supply chain.

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Building Information Modelling

GLOSSARY Terms & their definitions

Figure 1.

Hydraulic components with architectural context - from Case Study 1

This section explores some of the many terms used throughout the National Guidelines and Case Studies project and provides succinct yet non-exhaustive definitions.

Th e t er m s e xp lor ed i n t h is g lo s sa ry s ec t io n are par t of th e BI M N at io n al G u id e l in e s an d Ca se S t ud ies pro ject a s spo n sor ed b y t he C R C - C o n s tr u c t io n I n nov a t io n . T he t er m s a nd t he ir d ef i n i t io n s ar e n e i th er ex ha u st i v e nor e x c l u si o n ar y of other pos s i bl e me an i ng s . Fo r m or e i nfor ma t io n about this project, project participants and un d er ly i ng kno w le dg e s tr uc t ur e s , plea s e v i s i t w ww . co n st r u c t io n - i nn o v a t io n . i n f o

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Table of Contents Building Information Modelling (BIM) ...................................................................3 4D or model-based time ....................................................................................3  5D or model-based cost .....................................................................................3  Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) .......................................................................3  Design and Construct (D&C) ...............................................................................4  Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD)..................................................................4 

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Building Information Modelling (BIM)  Building Information Modelling is a term used with increasing breadth within industry and academia. It usually refers to a set of technologies, processes and policies that facilitate virtual design and construction yet extend to cover facility management and lifecycle analysis. The lines separating BIM from other terminology – like nD, VDC and IPD – are faint and do not withstand scrutiny. However, this project intentionally adopts a the following succinct definition to avoid limiting the term’s expanding coverage: Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a set of interacting policies, processes and technologies generating a “methodology to manage the essential building design and project data in digital format throughout the building’s life-cycle”1.

4D or model‐based time  Starting with a 3D object-based model, each object or group of objects can be linked to a construction task which includes time, resource allocation and elemental costs. 4D technologies are not necessarily synonymous with object-based ones (like ArchiCAD2 or Revit3). That is, 4D models can be generated using traditional CAD modellers (like AutoCAD4) or even lightweight face-based modellers (like SketchUP5) where blocks, layers or groups are linked to a project management software (like MS Office Project6 or Primavera7).

5D or model‐based cost  In construction, it’s arguable that the notion of model-based cost cannot be separated from model-based time. 4D (3D model + time) and 5D (3D model + time + cost) are interrelated and depend intrinsically on each other. 4D models explore/define how a construction project will be sequenced and thus influences its overall cost. On the other hand, the project’s cash-flow will determine construction sequencing and thus affect how 4D models are set up. In summary, 4D and 5D may be slightly different concepts but are highly interdependent and cannot be understood fully on their own.

Industry Foundation Classes (IFC)  Industry Foundation Classes refers to a non-proprietary interoperable software schema aiming to improve data exchanges between BIM applications and thus enhance information sharing and collaborative processes within the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Facility Management sectors. Many BIM applications are certified to import and/or export the IFC file format which allows theses applications to exchange


PENTTILÄ, H. (2006) Describing The Changes In Architectural Information Technology To Understand Design Complexity And Free-Form Architectural Expression. ITcon, 11, 395-408. 2 Graphisoft ArchiCAD ®, refer to 3 Autodesk Revit® Architecture, refer to 4 Autodesk® AutoCAD, refer to 5 Google™ SketchUP®, refer to 6 Microsoft® Office Project, refer to 7 Oracle® Primavera®, refer to

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their model data and/or define a shared object-based model. IFCs are generated and maintained by the International Alliance for Interoperability8 and buildingSmart9.

Design and Construct (D&C)  Design and Construct (D&C) is a project delivery option for major construction undertakings and denotes the ‘contractual merger of design and construction activities10’. D&C proponents claim that it improves project time and reduces overall costs although it involves additional ‘initial effort by design consultants and subcontractors as they prepare performance specifications upon which contractors place their bids.’

Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD)  ESD is defined as the “using, conserving and enhancing the community's resources so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be increased”11.


International Alliance for Interoperability, refer to buildingSmart, refer to 10 Design & Construct Projects, Australian Constructors Association, refer to 11 Australian Government, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, The National Strategy for Ecological Sustainable Development, refer to 9

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APPENDIX A – INTERVIEW AGENDA Technology questions  General         

What BIM Tool are you using? Why are you using a BIM Tool? Are you sharing the Model? How do you exchange your model-based information? What network solution do you use for collaboration? Do you use model viewers? Do you have access to BIM software developers? Do you have access to hardware support and is it on-location?

Process Documentation   Do you document your collaboration process?  Have any guidelines or recommended practices been produced?  Do you use a ‘Wiki’ or a shared documentation space with your collaboration partner?

Sharing experiences   

Do you share 'collaboration experiences' with your current collaboration partner?

Collaboration Relationship       

Have you shared BIM models with other companies? Is this the first collaboration project with the current collaboration partner? Are there other collaboration projects with the same organisation? Are there other collaboration projects with the other organisations? How did you form these collaborative relationships? Did your organisation instigate model-based collaboration on the current project?

Collaboration Workflow   What is your current collaboration workflow?  How many distinctive collaboration workflows have you used?  Have you been 'forced' to change your workflow midway within your collaboration project?  Have you found yourself in a position where you had to abandon the model-based collaboration effort before finishing?

Collaboration Experiences  What is the organisation's experience level with respect to model-based collaboration with other disciplines?  How many multi-disciplinary projects has the organisation been part of?  What is the Project Team's experience?  Are there other Project Teams within your organisation that have previously or are currently undertaking model-based collaboration? 

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Object Libraries     

Do you have adequate semantically-rich objects suitable for collaboration? How do you populate your Object Library? Create specifically for each project then reuse in similar projects? Generate objects independent of projects? Appendix Page| 2 of 4

Human resources  Training     

Do you have an internal BIM training Programme? Do you utilise external trainers? Do you provide collaboration-specific training topics? Did training cover sharing databases?

Tutoring  

Do you have a BIM tutoring program? How do you assist staff beyond their initial BIM training?

Human Resource Management   What was the scenario or what is the typical scenario for forming a BIM Collaboration project team at your organisation?  Does your organisation use a (competency-based) selection model for forming collaborative teams?  Do you have a formal skill/knowledge assessment programme?

Human Resources Planning  

Has BIM Collaboration affected how you attract and select talent?

Change      

What are the changes caused by BIM collaboration? With respect to Project Team structure? Investment in technology? Marketing strategy? Do you have a formal change management policy? Who is the de facto change manager?

Marketing and Public Relations  

Have you generated new relationships because of BIM Collaboration?

Team Structure     

How is your Project Team structured? What are the Team Members' roles? What are the technology support mechanisms within the project team? In case you're using a Extranet, Model Server or any 'external' networking service, do you have access to the network administrator?

Risk vs. Benefit    Have you measured the Risk vs. Benefit of collaborating with other disciplines using Object-based models?  Is your current collaboration effort a Pilot Study to establish risks and benefits?

CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

 Do you expect financial benefits - overall cost reduction - out of BIM Collaboration?  Are you measuring financial benefits expected from model-based collaboration?  Do you keep track of BIM training costs/investments?

Leadership  Do you consider your organisation's BIM implementations to be mostly Top-Down initiatives or Bottom-Up proliferation  What was the input from organisation's leadership when moving from an established CAD-based workflow to a model-based one?  How do you characterise your organisation's leadership style with respect to BIM collaboration efforts?

Championship  Who instigated the collaborative effort on the current project within your organisation?

Policy   Contractual     Has deploying a BIM solution affected your Contractual Responsibilities, Rewards and Risk Allocation within the project?  Were new contractual arrangements put in place to allow for model-based collaboration?  Were there any redistribution of rewards/fees caused by BIM collaboration?  Were new insurance arrangements needed to allow for model-based collaboration?


 How has the use of BIM affected your compliance with regulations, standards and other guidelines?

Codes & Standards     Does BIM affect the way to check applicable codes?  Do you use an automated model-based Code Checker?

Performance 

Do you use your BIM tool to check for or enhance Building Performance

Best practices   

Bench marks    

Have you generated any BIM Collaboration best practices?

Do you follow any industry-set benchmarks to assess your BIM Collaboration efforts

Classification Systems   

What is the Product/Tasks Classification System utilised at your organisation?

Preparatory   

What is BIM's impact on Educational Programmes and Vocational Training?

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Research    

Do you think that more research need to be conducted covering BIM collaboration? Where do you think more BIM research is needed?

Educational programmes   Do you think that BIM collaboration will impact vocational training and educational programmes outside your organisation?  Do you think educational and training programmes should be modified to prepare for BIM collaboration?  Do you think that Collaboration Training should be conducted through higher education or on-the-job?

CRC for Construction Innovation, BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies Project (2007-02-EP)

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Guillermo Aranda-Mena RMIT University, School of Property, Construction and Project Management RMIT University Project Leader for the CRC-CI BIM National Guidelines and Case Studies. Guillermo is currently a Senior Lecturer in Property, Construction and Project Management. He holds a PhD in Construction Management and Engineering from The University of Reading and a Masters of Science from Loughborough University, both in the United Kingdom. In 2003 Guillermo was appointed Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle, Australia, working on a CRC-CI BIM research project in collaboration with the Common Wealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Arup and Woods Bagot Architects. He has been principal investigator of five CRC-CI research projects including ‘Business Drivers for BIM’, ‘Mobilising Construction’, ‘eBusiness Adoption in Construction’, ‘Automated BIM Estimator for Concrete Structures’ and ‘Construction Planning Workbench’. He is currently undertaking a one-year certificate in ‘Virtual Design and Construction’ at Stanford University.

Bilal Succar

RMIT University, School of Property, Construction and Project Management email Bilal Succar is an integrated practice consultant and the director of ChangeAgents AEC,an organisation specialising in BIM strategies, process change and knowledge management within the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operations (AECO)industry. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Building Information Modelling, Interoperability and Process Integration at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Bilal is also a researcher at RMIT University and is part of a team working to advance the research, education and delivery of BIM concepts. Bilal is a member of the Conseil International du Bâtiment (CIB) and an associate member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).

Agustin Chevez

email RMIT University, School of Property, Construction and Project Management Since completing his Master in Project Management at RMIT, Agustin has practiced in the Construction and Architecture Industry in Melbourne. His work combines academic research with industry practice. Agustin is a registered Architect and Project Manager and has used BIM for documenting health projects. Agustin is currently undertaking Doctoral at RMIT University in the field of workplace architecture. Agustin’s ongoing education covers a variety of fields including site supervision, contract administration and IT. He recently completed a summer program in Virtual Design and Construction at Stanford University and is currently undertaking post graduate studies in Research Commercialisation.

John Crawford

RMIT University, School of Property, Construction and Project Management email Prior to establishing his own consulting company, John was a senior Scientist with the building and urban planning divisions of CSIRO for 30 years. He has been deeply involved in design research and in working with public and private industry in the innovative usage of ICT in

building, construction and engineering for many years. Some years ago, John co-authored the key Technology Review for On-Line Remote Construction Management (ORCM) project report, as well as more recently undertaking research on Wayfinding Systems and Technologies, on Successful e-Tendering Implementation, and on Early-Stage Parametric Building Development. John has most recently been working as a Senior Research Fellow at the School of PCPM, RMIT.

_Final_BIM National Guideline and Case Studies  

Research Project 2007-02-EP The research described in this report was carried out by: Project Leaders: Thomas Fussell, Project Services Quee...

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