These are exciting times we live in. The new technologies which have become part and parcel of the modern building industry are becoming a way of life for large contractors and the results speak for themselves – beautiful structures with intelligent architecture - planned, developed and achieved in an environment where almost anything is now possible. The new BIM software tools, together with the technology now available to access them, has created a whole new element to the built environment and the Welsh construction scene is about to get really interesting. Read on to see how one company is collaborating with its own Supply Chain, taking practical steps to meet the demands modern day methods of construction.
Rachel Davies, Construction Futures Wales
This Spring saw the first event in a series of Network support events take place, led by Wynne Construction and delivered through Construction Futures Wales, to collectively implement a full ‘Asset Information Model’ as part of their BIM process for their upcoming framework projects across North Wales.
Thirty-three representatives from the Wynne Construction supply chain took part in the interactive session in North Wales, working collaboratively to tackle the practicalities of being part of a series of construction projects that demand construction standards to BIM Level 2.
Together with representatives from Construction Futures Wales, Cardiff University’s Centre for Sustainable Construction and software provider CoBuilder, the Wynne Construction team presented a highly educational and engaging workshop covering their own BIM projects, the need for information and engagement from the supply chain, together with an overview of the software tools they will be using to complete the task.
Wynne Construction began their BIM journey using simple modelling techniques for steel framed structures. Over the last year, they have developed their own unique BIM Execution Plan, fully coordinating their procedures for architecture, civil engineering, landscaping and building – creating their own ‘bible’ for BIM project management across all their building projects. The next important step in this journey is the creation of a ‘full Asset Information Model’ - a living database of all the collective products and information which will be used by the suppliers, created collaboratively by the supply chain, for use in all Wynne Construction projects.
Whilst also covering a great deal of technical information, the Wynne construction team were able to provide their supply chain members with a practical and pragmatic approach to the task – namely gathering the product (object) data and asset information for the BIM model – as well as receive valuable feedback and innovative solutions from the group to help improve the process. The Wynne team have produced detailed ‘asset information requirements’ setting out what information is needed from the suppliers and how it should be presented; the data will then be fed into an online asset management portal where it can be processed and made ready for use.
Creating this group and taking responsibility for the information represents a significant shift in the way these Welsh construction companies are able to do business and marks the creation of a formidable market force – this group of suppliers, led by the main Contractor, Wynne Construction is capable of taking on any BIM project and making it work, for the benefit of the whole supply chain.
The whole approach is about sharing and collaboration; the very principle that lies behind BIM. This is one fundamental part of the Construction Futures Wales delivery; true collaboration.
This approach is not without is challenges; the group will need to grow into their shared responsibilities and there will no doubt be issues to overcome, particularly in the M&E areas where BIM can become quite complex and clashes can often occur. However, the innovative, cross-pollination of ideas between suppliers, developing the practicalities of using the full Asset Information Model as a group will enable the Wynne supply chain to realise the true benefit of being a collective.
The supply chain is generally very positive about this approach and keen to engage with the technology:
“We think it’s a great idea. We haven’t used BIM previously, or on any other supply chain projects so we are starting from scratch with no budget and no scope. We are comfortable with using the technology – our only concern so far is related to costs and how this approach will affect our contract value long term.” AMP Engineering Solutions
“It’s a really interesting approach and we are very technology literate so it won’t be difficult to implement – it will probably fit into our current roles as we already get our manufacturers to provide electronic data. Our BIM experience to date is minimal and so far we have mixed opinions on the larger benefits, but we are looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference.” CDL Partitions
“This is our first BIM project and we are excited – the benefits speak for themselves. We are big users of technology so we are not frightened of that side of things. There is a lot of data to input – particularly for us and we would like to know who owns it afterwards and if other companies can use it – I’m sure these things will get answered in due course.” Falconer Electricals
Wynne Construction are keen to lead the way and be ahead of the curve – they are pioneering this method of working and hope that by encouraging supply chain collaboration at a grass-roots level they can influence manufacturers and their clients, the Local Authorities and Welsh Government to ‘up their game’ in terms of their use of technology on building projects and really get on board with BIM. In April 2017, the company achieved BIM Level 2 Accreditation through the BRE to certify their BIM Level 2 capabilities in accordance with the requirements of PAS 1192-2:2013. Wynne Construction are one of the first indigenous Welsh-based SME contractors to achieve this accreditation through the BRE.
For more information about the support available from Construction Futures Wales visit www.constructionfutureswales.co.uk