BIM Academy Seminar Series July 2012 Part 2
Andrew De Silva of David Miller Architects spoke next. You can view a video of Andrew’s presentation on our YouTube Channel
A small practice based in central London, David Miller Architects have a portfolio of housing, education and commercial clients.
BIM Academy is often approached by small practices who are nervous about the perceived difficulty in adopting a new technology and a different way of working. The potential investment in IT infrastructure and training is sometimes seen as a deterrent. “Isn’t BIM just for large practices ?” Well, apparently not. It was refreshing to hear a positive case study from practice who had foreseen that the benefits outweigh the challenges, taken the plunge and is now reaping the rewards. Andrew showed a very compelling illustration of investment costs mapped against fee income which indicated a positive return on investment over their implementation period.
The practice has grown from 4 to 14 staff over three years. Following early use of Revit on trial projects, it was realised that the new technology would allow the practice to punch above its weight during a difficult period for the UK economy. Greater efficiency, quality and added level of service to clients were all factors which influenced the decision to roll out training and IT upgrades for the whole company.
Andrew started by talking about some of the specific uses of the technology which had benefited them. Solving a design problem in 3D is often seen as one of the “low hanging fruit” of BIM adoption but we shouldn’t overlook the powerful advantage it brings to designers, their clients and contractors. Extraction of schedules from the model and avoidance of duplicate information took the drudgery out of day to day tasks and the ability to create standard elements for reuse on other projects increased the practice’s flexibility and responsiveness.
There was a nice slide showing the progression of models created with incremental levels of detail for use during design development on residential projects, from a simple conceptual mass of a 2 person flat which was then broken down into its component elements, bathroom, amenity space, kitchen and then arranged in a series of options. With this design collateral at its disposal, a practice can respond quickly yet creatively to the needs of a residential developer client. A spin off is the ability to quickly visualise spaces and the idea of a “real-time mood board” is very appealing.
Andrew went on to show some examples of development models incorporated into an urban context model for visual assessment during the planning process and the practice have also used Ecotect and Autodesk Green Building studio to undertake early environmental analysis and energy.
The working relationship of a Revit model with COBie data was the subject of Andrew’s concluding slides and it was encouraging to hear that the National BIM Library is now being used in practice following its launch earlier this year.
In summary, David Miller Archietcs adoption of BIM has allowed them to work smarter for a competitive advantage and they are to be commended for their foresight, tenacity and enthusiasm.