How Traditional AEC Processes and BIM Level 2 Reinforce Silos

By Marty

The following is an excerpt from End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices.

Download the full paper here.


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Siloed Collaboration with BIM Level 2

Construction project contributors can be categorized into teams:

  • Design Team: Architects, engineers, and special consultants
  • Supply Team: Building product manufacturers, fabricators, and suppliers
  • Construction Team: General contractors, sub-contractors, and trades
  • Operations Team: Owners, operators, and facility managers

Feedback loops, task management, design coordination, and other limited collaborative elements certainly exist within each team; however, the ambiguity, rework, and RFIs that persist between teams are symptomatic of broken collaboration across the extended project delivery team.

Research by the U.K. Construction Industry Council indicates the benefits sought by owners—reduced costs, increased value, increased sustainability—are not achievable by BIM Level 2 only.

The inherent handoffs and rework processes prevent integration among the teams and lock value within silos:

Traditional Design, Construction, and Operations Process

BIM Level 2 Benefits Are Locked in Silos BIM Level 2 Benefits Are Locked in Silos

Traditional-Design-Construction-and-Operations-Process-BIM-Level-2-Benefits-Are-Locked-in-Silos

Collaboration on documentation and deliverables exists within each silo, but a lack of collaboration between teams causes errors, rework, RFIs, and inefficiencies.

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Siloed Collaboration: Weaknesses of a Broken Process

In a BIM Level 2 framework, construction projects suffer from a lack of data integration, disconnected documents, and insufficient data for process simulation—three root causes of unforeseen project delivery issues.

No Data Integration

Siloed collaborative approaches require data to be exported and files to be exchanged. Exchanging files is an inadequate solution, creating massive version control problems as multiple parties provide key data at various points in the process.

Because there is not a Single Source of Truth mechanism, contributors are missing meaningful, contextualized data that would help them make better decisions. Architects make decisions based on design intent, but are missing construction and manufacturing data that could impact the end result. Contractors receive incomplete, ambiguous design information that causes RFIs and change orders.

No Document Continuity

The design team creates permit drawings. The systems manufacturers and fabricators then redesign the drawings for their own purposes. The construction team, in turn, creates sequence documents based on top-down estimates, and spends significant resources processing RFIs, submittals, and change orders.

Permit Drawings ≠ Shop Drawings ≠ Sequence Drawings

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The differences between the drawings required at various stages in the process create vast productivity challenges.

Ultimately, the project delivery process resolves most document inconsistencies, but by then the changes are costly and disruptive.

No Process Simulation

An animated 3D model (also known as a 4D model) is an insufficient imitation of how a project is built. Process-based means and methods cannot be represented accurately without adequate process information and integrated design data.

Most of the considerable waste that occurs during a construction project happens within the project delivery phase, when steep material and labor costs are incurred. Without a bottom- up simulation process to predict points of conflict and sub-optimal work sequences, a project team is making an educated guess at how the building will come together.

The inherent limitations of the siloed collaboration model that persists with BIM Level 2 are preventing the industry from moving forward.

Barriers to Effective Collaboration

Change is difficult, and a number of obstacles have stood in the way of the industry evolving its practice of collaboration.

Definitions

Each team has traditionally defined “collaboration” differently, focusing on its individual need:

  • The Design Team tends to think of collaboration as working on a single BIM model.
  • The Supply Team tends to think of collaboration as a review of shop drawings or other supplier-produced documents.
  • The Construction Team tends to think of collaboration as using a structured project management system.

Legal Implications

Contractual relationships and interactions between parties can create indemnity insurance issues. Insurance objections and legal concerns are occasionally raised when parties are unfamiliar with modern collaboration technologies. Reliable governance and traceable workflows create accountability and mitigate legal risks.

Point Solutions

Standard industry tools facilitate coordination within each team, but unfortunately, not effectively across teams. End-to-end collaboration is made impractical with a patchwork of proprietary systems, causing version control problems and opportunities for human error.

Point solution providers position BIM Level 2 tools as collaborative, despite the evidence that they offer limited collaboration support for project contributors outside their application suite.

These challenges—varying definitions of collaboration, presumed legal implications, and insufficient point solutions—contribute to the difficulty of inter-team cooperation, reinforce silos, and cause massive inefficiencies.

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To continue to the next section, ADAPTING MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY BEST PRACTICES FOR DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION: Extended Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3, download the full whitepaper: “End-to-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Industry Approach Based on Best Practices from Manufacturing.”


Cover: END-TO-END COLLABORATION ENABLED BY BIM LEVEL 3 An Industry Approach Based on Best Practices from Manufacturing

Related Resources

End-To-End Collaboration Enabled by BIM Level 3: An Architecture, Engineering & Construction Industry Solution Based on Manufacturing Best Practices

Contact Dassault Systèmes for a consultation: Our experts can help you design the most effective BIM Level 3 deployment strategy for your organization

Cristiano Ceccato’s 4 Key Lessons for Integrated Design

By Akio
Cristiano Ceccato, Architect at  Zaha Hadid Architects

Cristiano Ceccato,
Zaha Hadid Architects

During his keynote address at a recent Dassault Systèmes event in Japan, Cristiano Ceccato of Zaha Hadid Architects explained how techniques borrowed from other industries have been applied to some of his firm’s innovative projects.

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Ceccato also examined what happens when designers transfer digital data into the built realm, thereby moving away from the perfection of the computer into the “imperfections” of a real construction environment.

Here is his advice for the architecture community:

1. Build Like Boeing

During his cross-disciplinary research with Boeing, Ceccato saw that the firm was able to take on great risks to develop innovative ways of working.

Their 777 aircraft design required a completely new infrastructure; producing it required an entirely new way of thinking and they created it for a market that didn’t yet exist.

How did they do it? In short:

  • Integrated models of information allowed them to have a much more contained risk envelope, and to produce products much more efficiently across the board.
  • Parametrics allowed them to stretch and shrink the aircraft to meet different markets.
  • A decentralization of components and location helped share risk among partners and bring the product to market more efficiently.

Architects—who are building custom structures one by one around the world—can learn from Boeing’s approach, becoming more flexible and effective in producing solutions for clients.

When architects learn to better manage information and processes, they reduce risk and improve how people work together.

2. See the Pieces Within the Whole

Digital modeling allows for the more efficient production of highly complex projects through the repetition of simple elements. This works on two levels.

On the project level, consider the traits shared among projects. For example, towers as a group can be considered a “family” with an artificial DNA. Digital modeling allows designers to easily search through shared characteristics of towers—the need for privacy among units, certain zoning requirements, etc.—and apply specific solutions to a particular market.

On the component level, projects can be broken down into simple fabricated components that can be repeated in different ways to create the seeming complexity.

By working closely with fabricators, designers can create solutions that can be manufactured and assembled as a kit of parts. These kits can be repeated in a variety of ways to create an intricate end result that can be quickly and easily assembled onsite.

Information systems make it possible to define, correlate and repurpose simple parts on a massive scale.

Cristiano Ceccato, Architect at Zaha Hadid Architects

3. Maintain Interoperability

When using digital modeling platforms, interoperability—among components and tools used by the wide array of trades involved—is crucial.

Digital modeling requires strong managers who can invest time and energy resolving interoperability issues among models to make sure that the final result is a faithful translation of information among platforms and the final project.

This must be an ongoing process. The digital model is not a single, finite element. It must evolve to continuously progress the accuracy and level of development of information.

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4. Don’t Underestimate the Human Element

One challenge of working with a distributed team is ensuring all partners are working toward the same design interpretation. Advanced 3D modeling technologies are increasingly enabling the project contributors to efficiently collaborate, iterate, and come to a consensus on the design intent.

For example, 3D tools help fabricators match the designer’s vision by marrying early models with fabrication templates to ensure that what the fabrication team completes is a faithful interpretation of the original design.

And while mock-ups and site visits remain valid tools for incorporating owners into the design process, 3D tools build client confidence by demonstrating that what is proposed is possible within the given time and budget constraints—and will accurately meet the owner’s vision.

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Related Resources

Zaha Hadid Architects

Collaborative and Industrialized Construction

Watch an 8-minute demo of the Dassault Systèmes Industry Solution Experience Façade Design for Fabrication

The beauty of renovation is more than skin-deep

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar*

Renovating and retrofitting existing buildings can increase their longevity, reduce their energy use and beautify or modernize.

Building renovation

With commercial buildings that need renovation, “usually the target is to have a result that’s aesthetically nice, healthy and at the least cost,” says Marc LaFrance, energy analyst, buildings sector, at the International Energy Agency. “If somebody comes from that approach but says, ‘I want the least-energy-consuming building possible within my budget,’ that would lead to a different set of measures.”

Buildings consume 40% of the world’s primary energy and are responsible for 40% of carbon emissions. Designing new buildings to be both beautiful and energy efficient is great, but new construction is just a tiny share of overall building stock—only 2% in the U.S., for example. Buildings may last from 40 to a couple of hundred years. Their primary uses may change, and even where a house remains a residence or an office an office, the way people use the buildings keeps evolving. Retrofits tend to be “greener” than demolition for new construction.

See a video about Advanced Retrofit and Design Guides from the U.S. Department of Energy:

YouTube Preview Image

The challenge comes in turning a cosmetic facelift into a deeper change that will result in a building that’s more energy efficient, healthier and—in the long run—cheaper to operate.

A deep renovation done all at once can have a big impact on energy savings. “If you do a system-level upgrade, with new insulation in the walls, new windows, new roofing, and at the same time put in new heating and air conditioning, you can significantly reduce the size requirements for the mechanical equipment,” Mr. LaFrance says. “Doing the entire building at the same time can be very economically viable.”

Why don’t more property owners retrofit? “One of the classic barriers to adoption is split incentives,” he adds. “The building owner isn’t occupying the space, so the energy bill is paid by the renter.”

Mandating energy efficiency standards is one way to get incentives aligned. “Anybody who puts in new equipment today is buying something significantly more efficient than 20 years ago,” he says. “There is still room for improvement in that policy.”

Building codes have led to more efficient new construction, but sometimes renovations aren’t held to the same requirements. A roof replacement might not be required to include added insulation that would bring it up to the latest codes for new buildings.

The European Union has set a goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in the building sector by 2050 to 88%, to 91% of 1990 levels. Key to achieving that goal is “nearly zero-energy buildings,” which not only use renewable energy but also have lower energy needs for heating, cooling and hot water.

Similarly, “net-zero energy” buildings produce as much energy as they use over the course of a year—in other words, their utility bills over a year add up to zero. Only a few buildings are so highly efficient as to fall into this category.

Click here to see a map of net zero buildings around the world

The potential market and payoffs are great. Energy-efficiency retrofits in the U.S. alone could come to $279 billion, generating a 10-year energy saving of over $1 trillion, or a 13% compound annual return on investment. On a different timeline, to 2050, the European Union estimates €937 billion of investment for deep renovation, with net savings of €8.939 trillion.

Here are a few techniques and new technologies for energy-efficient retrofits:

  • Building envelopes: In hot climates, reflective roofs and walls with special coatings or materials can significantly cut the need for air conditioning. Green roofs, which use vegetation to insulate and add beauty, can cut air-conditioning demand 75% in the summer, as well as reduce storm-water run-off. Exterior insulation finishing systems add a layer of insulation to the outside of a building, which is then covered by stucco or other finishes. Integrated façade systems and integrated roof systems place photovoltaic panels over the façade or roof, shading the roof while helping to power the building.
  • Windows: Low-emissivity (low-e) coatings and films on windows block heat—up to 96% of infra-red radiation—without blocking views. Curtains and shades, especially ones with a honeycomb structure, can insulate windows from sunshine, but it’s far more effective to block the sun’s rays outside the window, by using shutters, awnings or overhangs , which allow natural light to come in, but indirectly.
  • Lighting: Since lighting can consume 30% of total energy and since investments pay for themselves in just one to three years, lighting upgrades are a popular first step. New LEDs are replacing inefficient incandescent bulbs, which use only 5% of the electricity they consume as light. Cooler lights mean lower air-conditioning requirements. Better controls and sensors turn on lights when people are around and off when they leave.
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC): With buildings that are sealed more tightly and that use passive techniques to absorb or avoid heat from the sun, depending on the climate, property owners often find they can install much smaller HVAC systems. A building that has uncontrolled air leakage means air is seeping in through “all the cavities of the building, which might be home to insects, or decaying animals,” Mr. LaFrance says. “If you have a tight building and control fresh air with ventilation, it’s much more desirable, not just for energy savings but also for indoor air quality.”

*For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.



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