Trant Engineering v. Mott MacDonald: The importance of contract drafting for BIM

Link to the original article: Here

With BIM used more and more often on projects, it’s important to remember to properly draft contracts to deal with the issues that may arise.
Building information modelling is now widely used for designing, preparing and integrating project design data for use by multiple parties on a single platform. It promotes collaborative working and knowledge. But what happens when there’s a dispute? Who controls the BIM model?

In Trant Engineering Ltd v. Mott MacDonald Ltd [2017] EWHC 2061 (TCC), the consultant blocked access to the BIM model during a dispute with its client. Concerned about the potential delay and disruption to the project, the client contractor successfully sought an injunction for access. The decision flags up issues for other users of BIM-enabled contracts.

Background to the case
The claimant, Trant, made a bid to the Ministry of Defence to provide a new power generation facility in the Falklands Islands. Trant engaged the defendant Mott MacDonald during the tender period to provide design consultancy services for a modest payment. The plan was for Mott MacDonald to carry out the full design consultancy services if Trant’s bid was successful.

When Trant was awarded the £55m MoD contract, Mott MacDonald sent its consultancy contract to Trant for signing. The contract, a construction contract under the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act (as amended), included a licence for the client to use the designs subject to a right of suspension if full payment was not made. Mott MacDonald then proceeded with design co-ordination and the preparation and implementation of BIM.

How did the dispute arise?
Trant did not sign the contract and disputed Mott MacDonald’s claim that the scope of works had increased. When Mott MacDonald invoiced £500,000 on account of work done by it, Trant paid up. However, Trant did not pay two further invoices and only issued a pay less notice in relation to one of them.

Unpaid and with no agreement on the contract, Mott MacDonald denied Trant access to the design data by changing the passwords. Claiming there was no contract, it later suspended its performance and revoked its copyright and intellectual property rights in the design data already provided. Trant terminated the contract and sought an injunction to secure access claiming it had paid for and was entitled to the design data.

Was it just and convenient to order an injunction?
The court concluded it was fair and reasonable to grant the interim injunction and order Mott MacDonald to give access, on the basis that:

there were serious questions to be tried: both parties had potentially valid arguments on the contract and its scope;
damages would not be an adequate remedy for TEL – without access, its potential losses on this high-value project would likely exceed the £1 million cap on Mott MacDonald’s liability; and
the balance of convenience and the least risk of injustice lay in granting the injunction to Trant. Without access, Trant would have to restart the design process. Besides, Mott MacDonald had already given the design data in pdf form and there was “a high degree of assurance” that the court would later find Trant entitled to the data.
The issues flagged up
Seeking an injunction is not a cheap process and not all will achieve success (albeit temporary) like Trant. Early in the negotiations, those involved in BIM-enabled projects should consider the following:

Who “hosts” and controls the BIM model site and is a separate hosting agreement appropriate, particularly in circumstances where there are only interim contractual arrangements in place?
Who will access and contribute to the BIM model?
Are the parties prepared to collaborate?
Who will co-ordinate it, protect it from cybercrime and ensure it is backed up?
Is there a design licence provision and is it appropriate for the project? Is the client’s design licence dependant on full payment? Will that licence survive suspension or termination? (If not, amend).
Will a BIM protocol form part of the contract? Consider amending or deleting the right to suspend the design licence in the absence of payment.
Is the BIM co-ordinator’s contract a construction contract regulated by the Construction Act? Is there therefore a right of suspension for non-payment that extends to the design licence?
Failure to agree on these issues creates additional risks for the project – such as increasing the risk of delay while new design data is created.

BIM is a collaborative tool – don’t let your project’s BIM model become a pawn in future disputes.

CASE Study: BIM Unlocks Swedish ReConstruction

Link to the original article: Here

Case study: Slussen lock, Stockholm

  • Client: City of Stockholm
  • Lead Contractor: Skanska
  • BIM Tools: BIMEye, Autodesk Navisworks, Revit

Slussen lock, located between the islands of Södermalm and Gamla Stan, the Old Town of Stockholm, has been rebuilt four times since 1642. The current facility (built last century) was in such as bad state of disrepair that a decision was made to demolish and rebuild it from scratch at a cost of €1.2bn (£1bn).

The design, by Foster + Partners, has been adapted to meet the needs of modern city dwellers, including more venues, increased space for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, and to provide clean drinking water.

Sweden-based consultancy Tikab is BIM project manager for the scheme – it defined all BIM working methods and aspects of information delivery. The project is thought to be the largest ever to produce all its design information digitally during the design phase, with no paper drawings.

The cloud-based BIM data management platform BIMEye was used to plan and manage the complex piling operation for the lock’s foundations. A total of 3,600 steel piles will be installed, each one driven down 70m to hit bedrock on the sea floor. The old piling was not deep enough to reach the bedrock, causing subsidance and damage to buildings.

The piling operation accounts for around 20% of the total project budget, each pile has unique dimensions and detailing and costs about €20,000 to produce.

To avoid having to produce 3,600 sets of drawings, the piles were modelled as “coarse” geometric items in Revit and Navisworks, with simple place holder information for the pile number, location coordinates, direction and length.

A total of 3,600 steel piles will be installed, each one driven down 70m to hit bedrock on the seafloor.

This information was synced to BIMEye, where foundation contractor, Skanska, input detailed text information on each pile, covering 80 separate parameters needed by the structural engineer, ELU Konsult, plus 30 parameters for its own use. The software syncs the data back to the Revit and Navisworks models to give users real time access to all BIMEye information with the click of a mouse.

As each batch of 50 piles is drilled and installed, Skanska feeds as-built data back into BIMEye to enable the structural engineer to check progress against the design. As-built parameters include final X, Y, Z coordinates, depth, the number of extra steel sections that had to be welded, and technical data on ground pressure.

Progress is checked in BIMEye

“Using BIMEye we didn’t need to produce any drawings for the piling,” says Johan Stribeck, area business manager for BIM and VR at Tikab. “Although we could have recorded the data in Excel spreadsheets, the information would not have been accessible in all the BIM models. It means we can have one team entering information online, without requiring any knowledge of Revit, while the design team still has all the information available at its fingertips.”

According to Stribeck, using BIMEye eliminated the possibility of information “gaps”, where information in drawings is sometimes not entered into spreadsheets. In addition, having one source of data available in several locations – in the database, in Revit models and in Navisworks for coordination – guaranteed the quality and accuracy of information.

With the first 50 piles now in place, the process is running as planned, but it won’t be until 2022, when all 3,600 have been installed, that the real impact of BIMEye can be fully assessed.

Blockchain and construction: the how, why and when

Link to the original article: Here


Geniebelt’s Anastasios Koutsogiannis and Nikolaj Berntsen describe how Blockchain – the technology everyone is talking about – could impact construction.

The discussion about the potential impact of the Blockchain on the construction industry is getting more and more intense lately. It’s true that it could help the industry in a number of ways if used smartly. However, there are still many steps that need to be taken before we can claim the Blockchain is a vital part of the building process.

Before we analyse further how the Blockchain could affect construction, it would be a good idea to provide some insight into what it actually is.

What is the Blockchain?

The Blockchain technology dates to 2008, as a result of the endeavour for establishing a digital currency. The cryptocurrency called Bitcoin is probably the most representative example.

The Blockchain is a new way to store and record transactions. To put it simply, we could define the Blockchain as a peer-to-peer controlled distributed transactional database.

A digital ledger where different types of agreements (eg contracts, financial transactions) are recorded and confirmed as completed.

Its main difference to traditional databases is that it lacks the need for a central authority. There is no middleman, such as a bank transferring money or a lawyer to confirm the conditions of a contract. In that sense, there is no single database or company on which it hinges.

Every node in the Blockchain is containing some type of information, which in a nutshell could be categorised to the following:
•Evidence of a bank’s fiscal transaction;
•Ownership certificate;
•Authenticity statement.

What makes the Blockchain unique, in terms of data safety, is that every piece of information in this database is “chained” to the rest through a digital signature. This allows for a faster and more secure way of data exchange. In other words, it encourages the exclusion of intermediary parties in a transaction which takes place between two distinct members of the same peer to peer network.

What the Blockchain could mean for construction

The Blockchain is continuously attracting more and more attention due to its incredible versatility. In some ways, it could help construction and add more transparency to every type of agreement and transaction in a construction project.

Below are some of the main reasons why the Blockchain could be, under certain circumstances, a beneficial technology for construction – and many other industries:

Smart contracts

Construction is “the land of disputes” the majority of which are inextricably connected with payments. The Blockchain technology could function as a trustworthy contract administrator by introducing an error-free process based on which the contracts would be both built and monitored.

A smart contract is nothing more than a digital protocol built within the Blockchain network in order to implement the conditions of a contract. Every node is containing all the necessary information about the contractual agreement and the conditions under which the contract will be regarded as completed.

Smart contracts can help the construction industry to get rid of intermediary parties (eg lawyers) as they function under the if/then concept. If a bricklayer is done with building the wall, then he asks for it to be inspected. If the inspection is successful then the bricklayer is paid.

Smart contracts can cover these if/then schemes. They can be registered on the Blockchain and cryptocurrency can be used in order for these contracts to be collateralised.

In a nutshell, more direct transactions can be encouraged through smart contracts. Nevertheless, the question, why the Blockchain is a necessity for a process like that to be established, remains.

Improved workflow

The Blockchain could optimise significantly the project workflow and enhance collaborative working. More analytically, it could incentivise transparency during the construction process and push project members to perform better.

Increased transparency signifies increased accountability and a better control of the project in general. A more open building process will eventually lead to a better alignment of industry and client interests while minimising disputes and risk.

If we take into consideration the way in which construction is structured today (many joint projects, shared equipment etc), we can see that the Blockchain could allow for a faster and more data-driven decision-making process, similarly to what it’s already done with the use of construction software.

On top of that, updates about the project could be delivered to everyone in real-time (eg delivery of materials on site). This would considerably decrease project delays and the need for rework (30% efficiency rate – 10% rework in construction at the moment).

The implementation of BIM technology might also be more effective thanks to the Blockchain. That’s because it heavily relies on information peer-to-peer networks. Additionally, the instant updates to every single team member would encourage the creation of a “Panoptican effect” where every project agent constantly remains focused on the given tasks as a result of the continuous monitoring of progress. This element can allow for a more up-front approach in terms of decision-making and increase liability between the various parties.

Bitcoin for construction

As a continuation of the discussion about smart contracts, the Blockchain could boost collaboration and transparency with the use of bitcoin for construction. According to Construction Manager magazine, there are already two projects, initiated by DotBuiltEnvironment, towards that direction: the ConstructCoin and the TraderTrasferTrust (project banking app).

Regarding the ConstructCoin, the project is mainly focusing on the production and proper management of data related to construction. Similarly to the bitcoin, a reward will be introduced for anyone who generated construction information. As Neil Thompson (CEO of dotBuiltEnvironment) explained at CM magazine: “A spreadsheet of construction information might include a line for data that costs £1 to produce, which the client could buy for £2 when it is completed. This approach could do a lot to incentivise collaboration”.

As far as the TraderTransferTrust app is concerned, the main idea is to put together a system that could digitally provide valid proofs of task completion and based on these proofs it will be able to trigger payments. A precise “pay as you deliver” method.

Lastly, the Construction Blockchain Consortium is a public research umbrella which explores the potential benefits that the Blockchain could have for construction. Its mission is based on three main pillars:
•knowledge transfer;
•research and development;
•education and training.

With more than 60 participants at the moment, the Construction Blockchain Consortium initiative has the potential to pull great weight. But so far it is mostly a structure to start discussing opportunities.

Is the construction industry ready for the Blockchain?

Of course, it’s not everything perfect when it comes to the Blockchain and the potential impact that it could have on construction. It’s no secret that the construction industry is very resistant to change. In that sense, the advent of the Blockchain in construction may not be as effective as we might think.

Administration gap

In terms of infrastructure and administration systems, construction does not seem fully prepared to embrace the Blockchain. It’s simply not mature enough for implementing crypto-technology at its full potential.

We are talking about the least digitised industry where 95% of the produced data is thrown out of the window, according to Klaus Nyengaard, chairman of GenieBelt. It is evident, then, that before we introduce smart contracts, for example, we have to build the right context that will accommodate them.

There is a strong demand for the building process to be restructured and come closer to the needs of the supply chain. Only then, we can introduce smart contract technology as a supportive rather than a punishing measure.

For instance, one thing that the Bitcoin (or some other established crypto-currency) could do is to cut the invoice payment path. A smart contract could be created involving data generated by real-time project management software, an inspection checklist app and drone imagery certifying that a part of a 3D drawing stands built as designed.

Currently, the exchange rates are probably too fluctuating to be interesting for this case, but in the future, they can reach to a stabilised state.

Construction isn’t digitised enough

It’s not long ago when Mark Farmer’s review of UK construction was published. The title of this review was “Modernise or Die”. A strong but in any case representative title regarding the present and future of construction. Lack of investment in innovation, limited collaboration, and structural fragmentation are only a few of the problems that the UK (and global) construction are battling against.

With this problematic situation in mind, it becomes evident that an extensive implementation of the Blockchain technology in construction may not be realistic before we heavily invest in digitization.

A representative example could be smart contracts. They could be an amazingly useful element for construction if we get to a point where the generation of a building’s real-time digital twin is an integral part of the construction process. That could happen with the help of drone technology and real-time data connected to project and inspection management.

Every industry is different

The fact that the Blockchain has already a successful application in other industries, such as accounting and Esports, doesn’t necessarily mean that the same will happen in construction. This claim can become stronger if we consider that some of the advantages (eg. real-time project updates, data-driven decision making etc.) that the Blockchain is providing can be acquired without the use of crypto-technologies.

In that aspect, maybe the Blockchain isn’t necessary for construction given the way in which the industry is built. In the end of the day, maybe it’s not so much about changing completely the way construction agents work but making an effort to establish an efficient two-way communication channels.

All in all, the Blockchain is undoubtedly a very interesting technology regardless of the industry you are in. When it comes to construction there are some aspects of it which could be proved to be extremely useful, such as the smart contracts and the bitcoin. Nevertheless, we have to consider whether the construction industry is ready to embrace crypto-technologies and whether it’s all that necessary for construction eventually.

Only then, we can be sure that we can take the most out of it.

Anastasios Koutsogiannis is content marketing manager, and Nikolaj Berntsen, CTO, at GenieBelt

BIM GateKeeper – first published case where BIM features substantively

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 [2017] 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.


BIM: out of chaos comes digital excellence

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.

Canadian Practice Manual for BIM – Now Available

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

Get your copy: HERE


For media enquiries, please contact



Designing a Hotel using Gaming Technology

Link to the original article: Here

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.


The faster and stronger alternative to 3D printing

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.

BIM in Canada | The movement towards a better built environment


Susan Keenliside, Chair in the Member Community of buildingSMART Canada presents the BIM initiatives in the North American country

 Source: BIM Community

Canada is making a huge effort not only in the adoption of BIM, but also in involving all professionals in a growing community where they can learn and contribute to the development of standards, documentation and other activities.

Although BIM in Canada is still relatively nascent, the most recent reports show that new technologies are moving forward in the construction sector: 31% of the Canadian industry is using BIM, 29% is working with integrated approaches and 21% works with lean delivery construction (Source: Tahrani, Poirier&Froges 2015).

There is no a Federal Government Mandate, nor a formal policy mandating BIM implementation on all public projects in Canada, but there are 4 separate and fragmented initiatives across the country:

  • Space Management and Open BIM, led by Defense Construction Canada.
  • Royal Alberta Museum pilot project, from Alberta Infrastructure.
  • Several small pilot projects, developed by the Quebec Society infrastructure.
  • IPD Hospital project, from Government of Saskatchewan.

Canada needs 3 key elements to support the change appropriately on a national level: a BIM Strategy, a BIM Mandate and BIM Standards. Several organizations, including research & education members and industry and constituent members are combining efforts to achieve these goals.

buildingSMART as a catalyst for the change

buildingSMART Canada started increasing its activity in 2004 when they collaborate with the Data Dictionary at buildingSMART, developed by buildingSMART International. From then on, the Canadian chapter has worked hard to promote and enable the movement towards a better built environment for Canada through the development and use of open standards for BIM.

By joining buildingSMART Canada, individuals become part of a growing community that is promoting excellence in the built environment by implementing collaborative working practices in Canada and around the world. Members can participate in the development of standards, protocols and programs through work groups centered on activities described in the national roadmap, available on the buildingSMART Canada website. You can also follow the Canadian chapter through its Twitter accounts: @buildSmartCan and @InstituteBIMCan.

buildingSMART Canada is a council of the Institute for BIM in Canda (IBC), which was formed in 2010 with the mission to lead and facilitate the coordinated use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the design, construction and management of the Canadian built environment. IBC brings together, for the first time, all the professional industry associations, as well as some of the owners.

Susan Keenliside, Chair in the Member Community of buildingSMART Canada, explained in the symposiumBIM Implementation Strategies‘, how BIM is being adopted in Canada by presenting the roadmap they are following for BIM implementation in the country, defined by 6 areas of activity: Engage, Develop, Educate, Deploy, Evaluate and Sustain. The Canadian roadmap is being used as a guide for many companies from different countries that are facing BIM adoption.


BIM resources to build a better environment

Keenliside also showed the tools and documentation that the Canadian agents are developing, available to all users interested in them.

IBC has produced a number of documents, such as the BIM Contract Appendix, which is in line with what is has been produced by the AIA; also BEP (PxP) Toolkits, with the the execution plan essentials, so that users  have access to the best practices and to show how that would be accomplished in 3 different scenarios: Design Development, Construction and the Handover and Maintenance Phase.


Soon to come up is a Practice Manual for BIM divided in three parts: A Primare, on specific to company context and one specific to the project context. This is the result of the efforts of over sixty dedicated expert practitioners who volunteered for the effort and the text and illustrations for the practice manual have been completed.

The three volumes of the Practice Manual have been reviewed by industry experts and have been approved by buildingSMART Canada and endorsed by the Canadian Construction Association, Architecture Canada, Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, and the Construction Specifications Canada, and public owners via the Steering Committee of IBC. Currently, the three volumes of the practice manual are undergoing graphic layout for publication and translation from English to French.

Another essential tool just launched in Canada is a discussing board forum. “The focus is BIM best practices. We are not focusing on a specific software, but we are getting the conversation going on BIM in general”, explained Keenliside in the symposium, who also repeatedly encouraged professionals to join the Canadian community. You can join the forum here!

BIM World Implementation Strategies

This intervention was part of the symposium ‘BIM World Implementation Strategies‘, organized by Zigurat Global Institute of TechnologyBIM Freelance and BIMCommunity, where speakers from 8 countries presented the BIM implementation strategies that are being adopted in their territory. All the speakers were key figures of different buildingSMART chapters. Here you can see Susan’s presentation about Canada’s case.

Susan Keenliside, as lecturer of the Zigurat an BIM Freelance’s BIM program

Do you know about the Global BIM Management Certification Program from Zigurat? This popular international program caters to the needs of professionals in more than 20 sectors of the AECO industry, by providing with the BIM methodology, tools and skills necessary to become leaders in BIM implementation.

Susan Keenliside is collaborating in the 1st edition of the Global BIM Management Certification Program as part of the faculty board, which features other lecturers such as Bill East, Jared Banks, Jeffrey W. Ouellette, Jacob D’Albora, Mohsen Far and more.

Zigurat’s BIM programs, in English, Spanish and Portuguese, are certified by Canada BIM Council in accordance with the international standards. Specifically, the Global BIM Management Certification Program has achieved the Academic Certification Level 3.0, the highest level of certification.

This certification is recognized globally and complies with the BIM standards stipulated in Canada and the United Kingdom, some of the pioneers and most active countries in BIM methodology. Obtaining this certification will help industry professionals achieve a valuable professional position anywhere in the world and have internationally recognized credentials.

Canada BIM Council’s mission is to provide their professional, educational, construction, fabrication and supply chain members a collective voice dedicated to BIM.
Become a fully capable BIM Manager working in construction projects with high-performance teams from all around the world by joining this global program that begins the 24th May. This is your last chance!

Construction Robots in Japan as Workforce Disminishes

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.