Blog: Digital Construction SECBE Awards 2019 finalist - Lyons O’Neill

14 May 2019

sponsored by Clearbox

Nexus Training & Production Facility - Lyons O’Neill Civil & Structural Engineers

BIM is increasingly important in construction yet challenges remain for information sharing across the supply chain of a project. Information from creating state-of-the art models must be quickly and accurately shared between groups if it is to increase the speed and efficiency of a programme.

BIM was clearly the answer but it was essential to use a system that didn’t require costly training so that anyone could quickly and easily access the information. They chose to pioneer the new application Kubity on Nexus: the first mixed reality multiplex designed for the construction industry. It incorporates AI and VR technology to accurately allow a visual representation of the structure, foundations and drainage to the detail and scale required. They chose Kubity after trialling a different BIM modelling software that they discovered was too complicated and impractical for every member of the supply chain to use (as it required training).

Their use of Kubity allowed them to truly connect all members of the supply chain in a way that hadn’t been experienced before, with the site operatives able to view models on their mobile phones to see the complete design of what they were building and to guide construction. This digital technology meant the project achieved full One Team collaboration: the gold standard for construction projects.

Their use of Kubity allowed them to create and share incredibly detailed models of all aspects of their Nexus project, overcoming information silos, which are a key concern for any project, especially with 150 people engaged during its peak. Kubity represents the cutting edge of construction technology in its combination of AI and VR to produce 3D models, which can be virtually ‘walked through’. As well as shared via scannable QR codes - this allowed the Nexus site operatives to view the models in real-time on their mobile phones.

They also created a common data environment through their use of Viewpoint for Projects, a cloud-based document and information management solution, allowing all the project teams to share and coordinate project documents. This was vital in ensuring everyone was working from the same, up-to-date information so costly errors were avoided.

It was bold to pioneer new technology on such a large-scale project as Nexus, valued at £40 million across 60,000 square feet, but the decision paid off. The success of the new technology’s use is demonstrated in the project itself - dramatically reducing RFIs, which saved vital time and money on the programme. However, the success in implementing new technology was long-term as well as short-term, leading the contractor to adopt the practice of adding QR codes to designs, as well as basing all joint future projects on the new BIM technology.

A Senior Project Manager from the contractor Willmott Dixon commented:
"Lyons O'Neill introduced us to Kubity last year and it has since been used on all joint projects. We find the software useful in Design Team Meetings, its responsiveness makes coordination very user friendly. Kubity is particularly suited to civil engineering applications as underground services are particularly difficult to visualise even for industry professionals; it helps not only with coordination but also informs logistics and construction programme sequencing."

"We have shared Kubity models with clients and building users enabling them to visualise what the finished building and spaces would look like. The model communicates the benefits of BIM and coordination during the preconstruction phase to people outside of the construction industry."

This project demonstrated new techniques and pioneering ways of working to benefit and progress the wider construction industry as a whole, creating the vital One Team Culture needed to progress the sector.

In summary:

  • Pioneered a new BIM application and document sharing software on a £40 million public sector project
  • Streamlined the construction process while dramatically reduced RFIs, saving stakeholders crucial time and money
  • Triggered industry change through the introduction of new technology, causing other firms in the sector to emulate this and improve their working practice

For more details:

Visit Lyons O'Neill.

The SECBE 2019 Digital Construction Award is sponsored by Clearbox.

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