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Blog: Digital Construction SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - BIM Station to improve digital engagement

01 June 2020

sponsored by Clearbox

Digital Construction SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - BIM Station to improve digital engagement (submitted by Kier Highways)

The M23 J8-10 Smart Motorway Kier team deployed a suite of BIM tools across their scheme, addressing blockers to a successful BIM implementation. The team utilised BIM as their collaborative document management system - for online forms completion on tablets and as a common data environment that incorporates designs from the various parties into a coordinated 3D model. From previous experience, the team understood the challenges in successfully deploying BIM and that successful deployment means increasing the daily use of BIM by those constructing the works.

From the outset, the team spoke with their people and established potential blockers to successful BIM implementation. Key issues raised were access to models and slow running speeds or crashes of models on personal laptops - all putting people off using 3D models on previous schemes. To combat this, they developed the ‘BIM Station’ solution. It is a bespoke standalone pod located centrally in the site office, where the 3D model is constantly open for instant reviews by the Kier construction team, designers and supply chain partners for collaborative discussions and problem-solving. 

Its main impact over the past year has been increased interaction and use of the schemes' 3D models by all parties. By utilising a variety of navigation aids and always having the model open and ready to use, it has led all involved to collaborate, with cross-functional teams regularly gathering around the BIM Station to discuss buildability and proactively solve problems. This increased digital usage led to greater BIM participation, with construction teams requesting enhancements and improvements to the model to assist them in their day to day work.

Continuous expansions and improvements are regularly implemented. Exclusion zones from the ecology team were added allowing these important environmental constraints to be seen by all users when planning works. Traffic Management layouts are included allowing planned closures to be visualised and discussed at the station, which has led to works being carried out under joint closures thereby reducing the overall number of closures to the benefit of the travelling public. The BIM station has also positively impacted health & safety on the scheme as the CDM model from designers contains hazards to be aware of throughout the project and all teams can visualise their work area and make safe co-ordinated work plans prior to going out on site.

Together with their weekly BIM drop-in clinics and monthly BIM Champion awards on M23 J8-10 SMP, they have seen a real step-change in digital delivery. The BIM station is a concept that could be used by any organisation in any environment. They have developed a standard Kier Pod Housing that has been shared across their organisation, but any company can easily develop their own.


Highlights:

  • The BIM Station was developed as a 'lean' improvement initiative, in response to feedback and involved end-users throughout its development
  • They used Kier's 'Forward Thinking Innovation Fund' to develop the BIM Station, and a template to replicate the station on other schemes is available across the Kier Group
  • The BIM Station has increased the daily team interaction with their BIM model, helping people to plan their works and overcome challenges safely before work commences on site, saving valuable programme time and realising benefits of over £380k to date


About the Digital Construction Award: 

Digital Construction embraces BIM, GIS, Big Data and other evolving technological advancements.  Technology has transformed the world we live in and has potential to revolutionise the construction industry. This category rewards organisations, projects or initiatives that have adopted, advanced and achieved excellence in Digital Construction.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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