Spotlight on Lionel Lambourn of Syntegrate: Looking Beyond BIM to Improve Construction Efficiencies

By Akio
4screen

Admiralty Station, Hong Kong

Lionel Lambourn, director of Syntegrate, first gained familiarity with the possibilities afforded by BIM during his studies at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, before putting those possibilities to use at Gehry Technologies. During his tenure there, he helped set up the company’s Middle Eastern branches, using BIM tools in real-world applications.

Lionel L. Lambourn, Director, Syntegrate

Lionel L. Lambourn, Director, Syntegrate

It was that firsthand exposure to the ways that technology can boost efficiency in the construction process that led Lambourn to launch Syntegrate. The consultancy’s name was coined to describe the company’s focus on “synthesizing disciplines and integrating technologies.”

Why integrated technologies? As Lambourn quite simply explains, construction is a highly integrated discipline. It requires the work and knowledge of multiple disciplines to create something so complicated as a building, but it’s often at the intersection of trades where problems arise.

Today’s advanced software technology can easily be leveraged to ease the coordination required among building professionals and smooth the transitions of trades and materials.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: “#Construction requires multiple disciplines;
problems arise at intersection of trades”

“In this day and age I see integration of technology as the best way to address some of the accepted, in-built assortments of waste and inefficiency in the construction industry,” Lambourn says. “Our mission at Syntegrate is to leverage technology to realize our built environment more appropriately, more efficiently and more sustainably.”

An Environment of Waste

Waste and inefficiency, Lambourn says, are the single biggest challenges faced today by the architecture, engineering and construction industry.

“I believe waste and inefficiency overwhelm all the other issues and encapsulate all the challenges that we face in the industry,” he says. He offers an example to put this into perspective:

“By some reports, worldwide construction and buildings consume 40 percent of the world’s energy. However, we can conservatively estimate from available data that 20 percent of construction ends up as waste. To make these numbers more tangible, let’s put these numbers in the context of national GDP—worldwide construction is comparable to the size of China’s economy and each year the entire output of Spain is wasted.”

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: 20% of #construction ends up as waste.
How can we do better?

Lambourn sees much of this waste and inefficiency could be solved by better coordination among contractors — a collaboration that could be easily facilitated by the integration of technology such as BIM.

A Tool for Coordination and Visualization

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Admiralty Station, Hong Kong

Lambourn offers as a case in point Syntegrate’s work on the Admiralty Station, part of the South Island Line (East) Project, which will become the first four line interchange in Hong Kong.

The ongoing underground excavation and building work, which poses its own inherent risks, is being undertaken adjacent to the existing Island Line and Tsuen Wan Line, and the busy existing Admiralty Station – all within a densely populated area with many other underground structures in close proximity.

MTR Corporation, the owner of the project, recognizes the return on investment that they stand to gain from the comprehensive implementation of BIM on their many Projects, from construction through to operation.

The general contractor on the integrated Admiralty Station—a joint venture of Kier, Laing O’Rourke and Kaden (KLKJV)—were early adopters of BIM technology and are certainly at the forefront of the global construction industry in the implementation of BIM on their projects.

For Admiralty, the joint venture has chosen Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Platform as their BIM platform. Syntegrate works closely with the joint venture to refine its construction sequencing, from the coordination of excavation to concrete pours to formwork erection. By carefully scheduling each step, the general contractor has been able to execute each phase of this highly complex project with minimal rework, which in turn reduces schedule delays.

Moreover, the solution provides the joint venture with a visualization of the complicated underpinning work required to support the existing rail lines and platforms which remain in operation throughout construction.

Repeated simulations of the onsite work helps the construction team to effectively “practice” and perfect its planning, Lambourn says, so that when workers move onsite they are able to perform their work correctly the first time. This allows the joint venture to realize a dramatic reduction in waste of time and materials.

rebar.junction

Admiralty Station Rebar Junction

Broadening Technology Solutions

As projects become more complex, Lambourn believes that the use of BIM technology is a strong first step toward improving the collaboration of architecture, engineering and construction professionals. And he sees many opportunities to bring other technologies to bear, especially given the pace at which new technological advancements are happening.

“These days, we need to broaden our focus of technology to consider technologies such as 3D laser scanning, 3D printing, and even the use of drone technology to improve the way that a building is delivered,” Lambourn adds.

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: “We need to broaden our focus of
#technology for #AEC”

On the Admiralty contract, KLKJV utilizes 3D laser scanning extensively to capture the as-built conditions of the tunneling works at a level of precision that was not available several years ago and that is unachievable by orthodox survey methods.

“When the laser scan is introduced into the BIM platform, we can determine, exactly, how much over-break (excess excavation) has occurred and where any areas of under-break (insufficient excavation) exist. By repeated laser scanning as they proceed, the joint venture can optimize their works so that they achieve just the right amount of over-break with no areas of under-break, ensuring the highest levels of construction quality.”

Using integrated technology is but one solution to what Lambourn sees as a two-pronged approach to solving construction inefficiency.

Realistically, Lambourn says, “We would be naïve to think that the industry alone could tackle such a large problem of waste and inefficiency. Something like that has to come not only from the industry but also from a governmental level.”

Lambourn suggests that governments may need to step in to reward the reduction of waste and efficiency, ensuring this becomes a market factor that the industry must build into the way it does business.

Case in point: Lambourn notes that the industry still relies heavily on the delivery of 2D, paper drawings for contractual permissions.

“A building could be done completely paperless and much more efficiently through a 3D environment. However, governments need to come to the table and recognize that, and change the way that the legislation around the procurement of buildings is formulated so that there is not a real and contractual reliance on paper drawings.”

That doesn’t mean that architecture, engineering and construction practitioners should sit back and wait for governments to do something, however.

By becoming involved with organizations promoting and standardizing the use of BIM, the industry can help determine future technology requirements. Lambourn expects governments initiatives will spread more widely.

For example, the UK government has committed to what they call a “Level 2″ BIM implementation by the year 2016 and several months ago, the strategic plan for “Level 3″ BIM implementation was released under the title of “Digital Built Britain.”

Click to TweetClick to Tweet: Lionel Lambourn of Syntegrate:
Looking Beyond #BIM to Improve #Construction Efficiencies

Related Resources

Syntegrate website

Collaborative, Industrialized Construction from Dassault Systèmes

Realistic Simulation Supports Expansion of the London Underground

By Akio

Dubbed “one of the most complex tunneling projects in the U.K.,” the Bond Street Station Upgrade (BSSU) project is being carried out to satisfy growing traffic demands within London’s busiest shopping district, the West End.

Upon its completion, Bond Street Station’s daily passenger numbers are expected to rise from 155,000 to 225,000.

A project this complex in nature has to consider the existing tunnel infrastructure, as well as the stress and strains imposed by the surrounding soil layers for the development of new tunnels.

Dr. Sauer and Partners was contracted to provide such tunneling expertise. The company took on responsibility for preliminary-to-detailed design and construction on all BSSU sprayed concrete lined (SCL) tunnels.

Tweet: The Bond Street Station Upgrade utilized realistic #simulation to test preliminary tunnel designs. @Dassault3DS #AEC http://ctt.ec/X4UWh+Click to tweet: “The Bond Street Station Upgrade utilized
realistic #simulation to test preliminary tunnel designs.”

 

Using FEA simulation, they were able to virtually test the ground through which the tunnels are being dug alongside the existing tunnel structures.

Model1.000

This realistic assessment enabled them to improve upon the preliminary design, as well as bring greater confidence to the overall approval process.

To learn more, read the case study, “Tunnel Vision” to see how realistic simulation plays an important role in tunnel excavation.

We also encourage you to download the whitepaper by Ali Nasekhian, Sr. Tunnel/Geotechnical engineer at Dr. Sauer and Partners, which highlights the merits and shortcomings of large 3D models in tunneling.

Tweet: Realistic #Simulation Supports Expansion of the #LondonUnderground @Dassault3DS @3DSAEC #AEC #BIM http://ctt.ec/dU4NO+

Click to tweet this article.

 


Related resources:

White Paper: “Mega 3D-FE Models in Tunneling Bond Street Station Upgrade Project”

Case Study: “Tunnel Vision”

Collaborative and Industrialized Construction Solutions

SIMULIA Solutions page

Spotlight on 3-im: Bringing a World View of BIM to Italy

By Akio

 

Edmondo Occhipinti founder and Director of 3-im

In some ways Edmondo Occhipinti, founder and director of BIM consultancy 3-im, is starting from the ground up—again.

Occhipinti spent more than eight years with Gehry Technologies, working from his role as a consultant to ultimately manager of the company’s European and South American divisions.

During that time, he grew from an individual with strong technical knowledge of 3D technologies to a manager who taught others how to apply these tools.

Now, in his new role with 3-im, Occhipinti is teaching a whole new group of players how advanced modeling can solve some of the most complex challenges facing the AEC industry.

Tweet: @treiemme is teaching players how 3D modeling can solve the complex challenges facing the #AEC industry @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/UOVub+Click to tweet: “@treiemme is teaching players how 3D modeling
can solve the complex challenges facing the #AEC industry”

Tech-Created Challenges

Many of these challenges are created by the technology tools used most widely today.

For example, on the project management side, one of the greatest problems Occhipinti sees is the fragmentation among systems.

“Every single department is on its own system,” he explains. “There is no integration among planning, procurement, etc., and everything is spread out on a thousand different documents that are really not connected at all.”

This fragmentation leads to problems in communication, errors and emailed updates that are outdated almost before they are sent.

Then, there are issues of scalability.

Many façade contractors already are using 3D technologies. The challenge, however, is finding a scalable solution that allows them to grow their business beyond one scope. Products suitable for coordinating the sizing of 300,000 cladding panels haven’t always been able to handle the highly detailed engineering of smaller components — or smoothly interface among these details.

3-im, a Dassault Systèmes partner, has heard time and again the surprise of clients who realize a solution already exists that can improve coordination among trades and components.

A New 3D Market

That surprise often comes because the Italian industry is relatively new to 3D design possibilities.

The country is home to some of the strongest construction companies in the world, particularly in the field of infrastructure. Many of these players have branched out worldwide and have led to the rise of smaller supporting players.

The painful irony, however, is that many of these companies are struggling in the regional market, even as they grow internationally, due to the ongoing economic crisis inn which Italy is mired.

It’s within this unique contradiction that Italian contractors are beginning to ask about 3D technology. Occhipinti notes that as a result of these economic forces, Italy has been moving much slower than some of the Northern European countries into its use of technology tools.

“What we’re seeing is these companies that are now technically very strong, but technologically very weak,” Occhipinti says.

That is about to change.

A Partner in the Process

Because many of these contractors have offices around the world, these Italian companies are comparing their capabilities to joint venture partners that are prepared to bid on projects requiring 3D delivery.

This recognition is leading many regional projects to seek out partners such as 3-im.

“They are looking at partners in Italy and thinking ‘if I want to get more competitive abroad, where my main market is, I need to be able to compete with the others and bring myself to another level. How do I do that?’” Occhipinti has found.

It’s a question that 3-im is well suited to answer. The company is made up of Italians whose careers have been built on technologically complex projects entirely outside of Italy. Since arriving in Italy in 2013, the company has established work with several major contractors, and is setting out to wow the rest by way of example.

A Complex Example

Among those examples is 3-im’s current work with Morphosis Architects on the San Donato Milanese headquarters of Eni S.p.A., the Italian oil company with worldwide operations.

05.CDE_02 (1)

The 117 million EUR complex will feature three buildings covering 120,000 square meters. Each building will be connected by various platforms. The double-skin façade is designed with a level of geometric complexity that made 3D design a near necessity.

Tweet: The geometric complexity behind this €117M, 120K-sq-meter complex made 3D design a necessity @treiemme @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/3SL01+Click to tweet: “The geometric complexity behind this €117M,
120K-sq-meter complex made 3D design a necessity”

During its design development, Eni decided to implement a BIM process for the design allotment, construction documents and tendering process. “It was looking for a partner that had the experience to run this particular process,” Occhipinti said.

At the start of this project, 3-im found a partner in Dassault Systèmes, finding the company’s 3D technology the perfect product for defining the scale and complexity of the Eni project.

For nine months, 3-im experts have worked to build a dense 3D model for the project, bringing it to LOD 350, which not only represents the shapes and sizes of specific object, but also the interfaces among building systems.

05.CDE_01.000

Occhipinti explains that using 3D helped ease three key areas:

  • Coordination of systems: 3D allowed 3-im to model the work of the different trades that would be involved. Occhipinti notes that many basic 3D programs would not have been enough to handle this coordination — because of the changes that were happening on an almost daily basis.
  • Geometric complexity: The double-skin can be complex to fabricate on its own, but this one employs some fairly unique geometry. In addition, each entry is made up of a double-curvature glass reinforced concrete panel that will ultimately be carved one by one due to their individual designs.
  • Data structure: The model was structured so that all of the necessary materials and specifications, and all of their information and features, was included and could be effectively pulled out of the model as needed. This not only proved helpful with scheduling, but with cost control.

A Fresh Opportunity

Despite the challenges facing Italian design and construction companies, and their partners around the world, Occhipinti sees major opportunities.

“We are living in an extremely complex moment where the global economy is shifting from one phase to the next, and this shift is a great opportunity for every industry to think about itself and propose new ways of improving processes,” he says.

As he points out, the construction industry is infamous for its inefficiency, so at this point there are no wrong answers — except for maintaining the status quo.

“Things like this don’t happen quickly,” Occhipinti adds. “When I started in this industry more than ten years ago, people were saying ‘in five years BIM is going to be standard.’ Five years later we heard the same thing. Things take time to change — and that’s good for us. We have the time to bring new value to the market.”

 

Tweet: Spotlight on @Treiemme: Bringing a World View of #BIM to Italy @Dassault3DS @3DSAEC #BIM http://ctt.ec/3alyT+

Click to tweet this article

 

Akio Moriwaki

Akio Moriwaki
Dassault Systèmes’ head of global marketing for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry, Mr. Moriwaki led the launch of the groundbreaking Lean Construction Solution Experience and is a member of buildingSMART.


Related Resources:

White paper: Technological Change Brought by BIM to Façade Design

Collaborative and Industrialized Construction 

Façade Design for Fabrication  Industry Solution Experience



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