2 August 2017 | By Sarah Rock
Link to the original article: Here
Whilst primarily arising from a dispute over contract terms and the value of the works, the decision in Trant Engineering Ltd V Mott MacDonald Ltd  is of particular interest as it is the first published case where BIM features substantively, writes Sarah Rock.
Trant was engaged by the MoD as contractor for a £55m project in respect of the construction of a power station in the Falkland Islands. Mott MacDonald was appointed to provide design services and was also the building information modelling (BIM) coordinator, controlling access to the common data environment (CDE).
When a fee dispute arose, Mott MacDonald suspended its services and blocked Trant’s access codes to the CDE leaving Trant and the rest of the project team unable to access the design materials.
Pending resolution of the substantive dispute, Trant made an application to the TCC for an interim injunction requiring Mott MacDonald to provide access to the CDE (including the design data) both to Trant and to others involved in the project.
The full judgment is not yet available but summarising reports seen to date, (insofar as relevant to the CDE), the TCC concluded that it had a high degree of assurance that Trant was entitled to have access to the design data which had, in fact, already been placed in shared folders.
It was particularly relevant that Trant had previously had access to the CDE before Mott MacDonald had suspended performance of its services. The TCC therefore ordered Mott MacDonald to restore access to the relevant design materials, subject to Trant making a payment into court.
The CDE is a digital data room where geometric information from the contributing designers comes together. All participants to a project are provided with codes to allow them access (usually via the internet) to the CDE and it is then used to share and access information, allowing the project to function and progress. It can also be used to share to registers, schedules, contracts, reports and other information.
Specifications for how a BIM CDE should work can be traced back to BS 1192-2007, and the publicly available specifications and British Standards which followed and make up the 1192 suite of documents. These documents form the bulk of the pillars of BIM Level 2.
To date, in these admittedly early stages of BIM adoption in the UK, the question of who will actually host the project CDE has tended to be decided primarily on practical factors ie yes, who is at the centre of the information flow process is very important but, perhaps most significantly, which party has the technical capability in addition to sufficient knowledge and experience of BIM technology to ensure that the project is able to progress smoothly from this perspective.
Clearly, appointing a host without this capability could have disastrous results.
The Common Data Environment: The digital space where BIM data flows
A CDE could take the shape of a project server, extranet or file-based retrieval system. Increasingly CDEs use cloud-based software to provide the digital space to hold and share the information.
Parties in a construction project are unlikely to own their own digital storage space to the capacity required for a BIM-enabled design and construction scheme, and so the digital storage space is often outsourced.
Contracts for the hiring of such spaces tend to come with little or no liability on the cloud outsourcing vendor’s behalf. Therefore, the party responsible for hosting the CDE may be unable to pass down any risk to the cloud outsourcing vendor.
The Trant case highlights the vital role of the host of the CDE within a BIM design and construction project, as the host holds the keys to the data room for the entire project.
By denying access to the CDE, the host not only withdraws access to their own designs (which a contract may well allow, for non-payment or suspension) but potentially also denies access to all other designs held in the CDE, as well as access to the programme, schedules, contracts etc.
The host is therefore the gatekeeper to the entirety of the project information held digitally meaning that the role (as highlighted by the Trant case) is crucial to progress, and therefore, the successful completion of the project.
Following this decision, fresh debate has begun in the BIM community as to who is best placed to take on the responsibility of hosting. Should the employer host, allowing them full control over access to the data room for the entire project?
Thus if a dispute arose between the employer and one participant in the CDE, this would potentially have less impact on the rest of the project. The employer could either revoke the access of the party in the dispute (subject to contact terms) or the party could remove or stop uploading their own data. But do all construction employers have the technical knowledge and capability to fulfil the role of CDE host?
Potentially, the role can remain within the project team, but with regular extraction of data to be stored locally by the employer. In this way, the employer could ensure that if access was suddenly denied, it would still have up to date data to allow the project to continue to function, albeit it would have to procure and run a new CDE.
Alternatively, as we have seen on some larger scale BIM projects, the responsibility for hosting could be split between the employer and a member of the project team. Utilising the 1192 CDE work flow and gateways, design materials could be hosted entirely on the project team member’s CDE up until the point where they pass through the published gateway.
At this point the design becomes valuable to the employer and so is moved from the project team member’s CDE to one hosted by the employer.
How the CDE is to be hosted remains a project-specific decision, bearing in mind factors such as capabilities, technical knowledge, size of the project and risk allocation – and must be clearly reflected in the contract conditions of all relevant parties.
Forms of appointment, contracts and BIM protocols need to be reviewed to take into account the decision in Trant. Parties need to ensure that they are adequately protected and that data required for the success of the project as a whole is not allowed to be used as a bargaining tool in a bi-party dispute.
Link to the original article: Here
If BIM is so simple then why is it so difficult? asks John Adams, director of BIM at consultant BIM Strategy.
I’ve heard more than once that so-called BIM experts are deliberately making things complicated to make work for themselves – why else would something so simple be so complex in practice?
Things are getting messy, despite a community of wonderful folk from across our industry working exceptionally hard to simplify and improve our processes and project outcomes.
The breadth of subject matter, from the micro to the macro, is showing that the process of trying to bring order to the construction industry through the application of BIM is becoming chaotic.
Luckily, there is more established theory around chaos than BIM, and comfort and knowledge can be drawn from chaos theory to help us along the journey to BIM becoming business as usual.
Chaos is when “the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future”, said Edward Lorenz, one of the pioneers of chaos theory.
If PAS 1192-2 describes a process that most of us agree is a better and pretty logical approach to delivering a project information model, then why isn’t it straightforward?
One possible answer is found when you see the current construction industry model as an eco-system that has found a relatively comfortable balance over the last 50 or so years.
With hundreds of BIM enthusiasts and detractors piling energy into the system, the only mathematical outcome is that all of the current standards and processes will be ripped clause from clause until they can be broken down no further and a new and balance found. The chaotic pendulum shows how adding a simple new component to a balanced system creates chaos.
We have entered a very dynamic stage of our digitisation journey. Without delving too deep into the science, the more energy we expend in trying to bring order, the more chaotic things become, up to point where we have caused so much chaos there is no more to be found.
At this point we’ll reach a new and defined norm, but only when all of the analogue processes have been disrupted. It’s a lot of ground to cover and when you’re in the middle of it all it can look hectic and intimidating.
Imagine a pan of water is the construction industry, all three million of us, our projects and our processes all in the pot together. BIM, or the digital construction agenda as a whole, is the heat we are applying by way of the mandate, BIM champions, new technology, case studies, Twitter discussion, column inches and everything else.
As we heat things up we get bubbles and steam. Until we’ve boiled all of the water and collected all of the steam, and allowed it to reconsolidate we are destined to have chaos. It’s more than a little frustrating, but it is inevitable so let’s make use of our chaos.
Remember that water, grains and chaos are required to create Scotch whisky. The distilleries can’t control the order in which water molecules turn to steam when they add heat, but they can control everything else.
The UK BIM Alliance is now taking control of the tangibles and is turning up the heat, at least for Level 2, and everyone with knowledge to help control these variables will be needed.
As much as the analogy with the car industry and BIM has been doing the rounds for a number of years, and there’s both truth and wisdom in it, we have often taken the wrong slant: “They’ve done it, why haven’t we?”
Simply put, their journey had less scope for chaos. A car is better defined than a built asset, so they had less water to boil. One thing we can definitely learn from their digitisation is that those who tried to shortcut the digitisation process, like Rover, are gone: those who embraced the challenge, like Toyota, have thrived.
We need to acknowledge our chaos. Own our chaos. Not let our chaos distract us from the goal, from the new norm of digital excellence.
buildingSMART Canada releases the Canadian Practice Manual for BIM
buildingSMART Canada (bSC), a council of the Institute for BIM in Canada (IBC), has released a new practice manual to serve the design, construction and operations sectors of the Canadian built environment in the adoption of lifecycle Open Building Information Modeling (BIM).
The Canadian Practice Manual for BIM comes in three volumes designed to provide novice and intermediate BIM users with a framework for developing and adopting company-centric practices to streamline and improve their use of digital information within a Canadian context. For more advanced organizations, the manuals provide approaches to collaboratively exchange models and information between project participants. These manuals complement existing resources for BIM in Canada, namely the IBC BIM Contract Appendix and the IBC BIM PxP Toolkits.
According to Bill Moore, Chair of IBC and member of the board of buildingSMART International, the practice manual is intended to be a guiding document that can be used across Canada. “Compiled by Canadians, for Canadians, the release of the buildingSMART Canada Practice Manual for BIM provides our AECOO Community with highly sought-after guidance and wisdom related to BIM in a Canadian context,” said Moore. Over sixty AECOO professionals from across Canada contributed material and expertise in-kind to the practice manual. “Significant effort was focused toward ensuring the Practice Manual for BIM is recognized as a valuable resource by all stakeholders responsible for the Canadian built environment,” said Moore. Additionally the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program provided financial support to assist this effort.
The three completed volumes work together to explain the context, terminology, approaches, and best practices of BIM. Volume 1 is a primer document that covers BIM terminology and overall approaches. Volume 2 lays out the most common approaches for organizations who are considering using BIM internally. Volume 3 approaches BIM from the project perspective, particularly when it comes to collaborative use of BIM, where models are to be used by multiple stakeholders.
The practice manual is available in both print and digital forms with English and French editions from buildingSMART Canada. The print version is a bound copy of all three volumes. The digital version is available in PDF format and can be acquired individually or as a complete set. In addition, for a limited time, Volume One: BIM A Primer will be available in digital format at no cost to practitioners who join buildingSMART Canada. Further details are available at www.buildingsmartcanada.ca.
Get your copy: HERE
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3D, gaming and design have all merged in the design and building of the Radisson RED hotel, a new brand from Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group aimed at millennial travellers.
Design visualisation specialist Soluis Group and design consultancy Graven Images teamed up to design the hotel, with Graven developing sketches and rough ideas, which Soluis then converted into 3D visualisations.
Usually, it could take several hours for each frame to render, making the design process, especially small changes to areas such as lighting and materials, particularly drawn out and cumbersome.
However, using the real-time capabilities of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine – traditionally used in video game development – Soluis Group was able to visualise scenes and all changes live, effectively building a high-end, fully interactive virtual environment where clients could experiment with different lighting and materials live.
The client could also effectively walk through the hotel and truly experience what the end result would be.
Link to the original article: Here
Rapid liquid printing is being billed as a faster and stronger alternative to conventional forms of 3D printing for manufacture. Skylar Tibbits, co-director of the Self-Assembly Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, explains the benefits and potential applications for architecture and construction.
What is rapid liquid printing?
An experimental form of manufacturing, developed by MIT in collaboration with US furniture manufacturer Steelcase. The prototype device physically draws objects in 3D space, by extruding a material compound from a computer-controlled nozzle into a stabilising gel. The technique allows for the creation of large-scale freeform objects, such as items of furniture, much faster than conventional 3D printing.
Just how fast is it compared to regular 3D printing for manufacture?
It depends on the object and features you want to print, but in general our process takes seconds-to-minutes rather than minutes-to-hours, with traditional 3D printing. For example, we printed a part that took 10 minutes, compared to 50 hours in a traditional 3DP process.
The use of a quick-setting compound in a stable gel enables printing in single strokes that solidify fast without the impact of gravity. Regular 3D printers build up objects in layers that have to be extruded and fused, resulting in extended print times.
What’s the largest object you have produced and what size is the system capable of?
The largest object we have printed is a coffee table top, a product for Steelcase, inside a metre-diameter tank at a demonstration at the Furniture Fair in Milan.
This printing technique could potentially be used for almost any large-scale printed object, including furniture, products for automotive or aerospace, sports equipment/apparel or other products.
The only real size constraint is the size of the machine and the quantity of gel. It could also be used for smaller printed structures with high-resolution features, although they would likely be slower to print.
What makes it stronger?
Objects are formed of continuous material, rather than a series of layers that typically cause structural weaknesses when printed and fused together. We have printed using regular high quality materials, like plastic, foam and rubber.
What are the limitations of the technology?
The main constraint at the moment is super fine/high-resolution features because we are trading speed/scale for feature size. But in the future we could imagine using multiple nozzles or multiple passes to create small features with high-resolution as well as larger features.
Ultimately, any line or series of lines in 3D space can be printed using this technique.
The objects photographed don’t appear to have flat planar surfaces, is that currently hard to achieve?
The parts we print look like a frozen liquid, they have smooth curves, radiused edges, smooth surfaces etc, because it is essentially a liquid suspended in space and then cured without the forces of gravity or build plates. So far we have tried to harness that design aesthetic, rather than force it to look like other 3DP parts.
What sparked the idea to develop the technology?
We started with the question: how can we print a furniture-scale object in minutes? That resulted in a rethink of how we might print in way that is different from today, ie trying to eliminate the scale constraint, the speed constraint, the material property constraints, and the layer-by-layer approach.
What could be the wider applications for architecture and construction?
This technique is generally applicable to any industry that is looking to print large parts, at high-speeds, using high-quality materials. It may not be suitable for printing buildings, which would require very large tanks of gel, but architectural components with highly customised details could be quite low-hanging fruit.
Could the system be used to hybrid components that incorporate more than one material?
Yes, we could potentially print with various materials, resolutions, nozzles sizes, pressures etc. This is all possible and currently under development.
Is a commercial system planned and when might it become available?
This work was developed over the past six months and we are still in the research phase, we have lots that we want to continue to explore related to materials, speeds, scales, applications and so on.
Article written by: Akiko Yasuhara
Link to the original article: Here
Construction sites in Japan are enjoying a wave of automation amid an increasing shortage of laborers, with the introduction of robots to do heavy lifting and drones that instantly collect aerial data.
As the industry ages along with the country’s graying society, construction companies are forced to look for ways to boost productivity and efficiency.
According to the Japan Federation of Construction Contractors, there will be 1.28 million fewer construction workers by fiscal 2025 compared with fiscal 2014.
In 2015, some 30 percent of all construction workers were aged over 55, while those below 29 accounted for only about 10 percent, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
“We will probably have a total of 900,000 workers joining the industry within the next 10 years, but the 300,000 shortage will need to be covered by boosting productivity,” said Atsushi Fujino, a spokesman at major construction firm Kajima Corp.
“That’s why we are all scrambling for a solution.”
Kajima has started using unmanned, automated dump trucks, bulldozers and vibrating rollers with GPS systems at its building sites. Using a tablet device, a worker directs the preprogrammed heavy equipment to carry out various tasks.
Only one person using a tablet, for example, is required to operate a sequence of tasks carried out by five machines that dump soil, and compact and smooth surfaces.
The automation ultimately leads to a higher level of productivity.
Currently, the machines are being used on a trial basis on a construction site for a dam in Oita Prefecture.
Shimizu Corp., another major construction firm, has developed an arm-shaped robot that lifts reinforcing rods.
It usually takes six to seven people to carry one 200-kg rod, but using the machine it requires only three workers to direct the robot and move the rod.
“This is a realization of human-robot collaboration,” said Tomoaki Ogi, a manager at the civil engineering technology division at Shimizu who helped develop the arm-shaped robot, which is now being leased out at construction sites.
Even with technological advances, construction sites are still far from being fully automated. In fact, Kajima’s Fujino said he doubts that all tasks at construction sites can be done by machines.
“There are things that only people can do, for example, getting small corners done or interiors that require artisan skills,” Fujino said. “Machines and humans excel at different levels.”
Shimizu’s Ogi agreed, saying every site was different in terms of area, soil or weather and each time a robot must be reprogrammed to fit new conditions.
Construction sites are also not like the manufacturing industry, where robots are stationary and the tasks are identical, with products moving along an assembly line.
Ogi suggested making use of the strengths of robots and humans, emphasizing that robots cannot understand nuances like their human counterparts.
“Let the robot do the heavy work under people’s (guidance),” he said.
Still, construction firms are hoping robots and building automation will encourage younger generations to join the industry.
Young people have not been attracted to construction work because of the long hours, hard work and low pay.
Yohei Oya, a 38-year-old construction supervisor at Shojigumi Inc. in Shizuoka Prefecture, uses robots and other automated machines. He said building sites were undergoing significant change.
“Productivity has boosted by five to 10 times through automation and we’re not at the site all night like we used to be. You don’t even have to be highly skilled anymore to get the work done,” Oya said.
“The burden has been reduced on our workers and on management. Work is completed in half the time it used to take.”
Oya launched a network in 2015 that connects construction firms across the country that wish to try new technologies at their sites and share information.
Thirteen companies have joined the network and use the latest technology, including drones that instantly offer a bird’s-eye view of a site and can be used for surveying and loading shovels with systems that dig soil to a set depth.
The government has also been promoting the automation of construction sites by way of its i-Construction campaign.
The infrastructure ministry said it will financially support public works projects that plan to use drones and other technology for streamlining works.
The amount of support will be calculated based on cost estimates for the construction project.
“When we think about the shortage of workers 10 years from now, this is the last chance for the government to invest and conduct radical reform (in the construction industry),” said Yasushi Nitta, senior deputy director of the ministry’s public works project policy planning.
BuildingSMART Canada is proud to announce the launch of an online forum for ‘BIM in Canada’.
The forum is supported by industry experts, and offers a unique opportunity to discuss issues and topics relevant to Canadian industry implementation.
Access the forums: http://forum.buildingsmartcanada.ca
Network with your peers from across Canada today!