4 Years of BIM – Looking Back at Chiswick Park

4th April 2016 saw the deadline for BIM Level 2 compliance across the UK. This industry-wide shake up has left many scrabbling to conform, and whilst many larger organisations have managed to filter it in, and some smaller companies have shoehorned it into practice, here at TDS Midlands, we have put our feet up safe in the knowledge that we have been BIM compliant for over 4 years.

We know first hand the complications, we have been there, seen the stumbling blocks and are now flying over them instead of tripping up. One of our biggest and earliest BIM projects was in 2012 on Chiswick Business Park.

Building 7, Chiswick Business Park was the last office block to be built on the cohesive and state-of-the-art office development and it was a fully integrated BIM construction process. This was a first for many contractors including developer Stanhope, main contractor Lend Lease and steelwork supplier PAD Contracts. We all had to get up to speed quickly with the new terminology and processes that were required to collaborate with the wider design team. Having Case (a New York based BIM specialist) involved was critical as they had significant experience in co-ordinating the project in a BIM compliant fashion.

TDS undertook the drawing work of 3 external fire escape stairs, two with 24 flights and another with 22 flights, an internal stair consisting of 38 flights and 215m of balustrade to the roof perimeter. Due to the architectural detail of the stairs, there were a number of challenges. The most demanding issue being integrating the LOD400 compliant Tekla model with over 90,000 items into a 3rd party BIM application. From the blind drilled, tapped and counter bored holes for socket head bolts to aluminium extruded and patterned flooring, we had to ensure the highest quality detailing.

BIM was an advantage and a huge benefit for us on this project; we were able to drastically reduce fabrication time and the possibility of error. There was a need to ensure identical plates had individual marks and Tekla software really simplified that process. Having the ability to able to view the interfaces of the external stair brackets which integrate with other trades helped us to resolve issues quicker and more effectively than a traditional 2D process of exchanging drawings.

Being able to collaborate by exporting and then integrating our models into a master project model which highlighted any potential clashes or design changes from the architect’s original concept at an early stage was key. Whilst the benefits of letting technology lead a project is clear, naturally human intervention is sometimes needed. Stepping in the clash detection process is sometimes necessary. For example, where we had purposely provided extra tolerance packing for the stairs connected to the concrete floors, the BIM process picked it up as a clash. The ability to override the software’s decisions is really important, meaning that our jobs aren’t quite redundant yet!

What this project demonstrated was quite simply that ‘BIM works’. We were able to deliver on time, in budget and with no variations or chargeable design changes. As more projects get the Level 2 stamp we are well placed to offer a guiding hand for any company who is looking to take the BIM plunge, we have been successfully completing BIM projects for over 4 years now and if you would like to know more about how and why we did it or how we could help you, contact Daniel.leech@tdsmidlands.co.uk