Being at the forefront of a building design revolution
In June 2011, the Government announced it’s intention to require its projects to be designed using collaborative 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems by 2016. Given Waterman’s lead in the use of Revit and its continuous innovation in both digital information production and exchange, the company is meeting the Government’s requirements today.
In 1987, the company was one of the first to purchase AutoCAD and rapidly changed from producing drawings by hand on a drawing board to drawings produced by computer. Whilst the computer was used, the product was still a paper drawing. However, by 1995 the industry was starting to exchange information digitally and again Waterman was at the forefront of this initiative. The project team for Bluewater in Kent agreed to exchange all design information digitally. This allowed coordination between the design team to be carried out on screen and therefore reduced the time it took for construction information to reach site. This was a significant advance over other projects at the time.
In 2000, Waterman was one of the first consultancies to invest in Revit, a programme which allows buildings to be designed in three dimensions, also known as object based design. Since then, the company has been assisting with the development of Revit and is now a leading authority in its use. David Fung, Director of Structures, commented: “I’m delighted we entered the Revit platform as the new millennium commenced, enabling us to be at the forefront of the BIM process. We are now in full compliance of Level 2 and we are developing Level 3, which will allow us to be a leader of BIM technology in the future.” Both the software and the hardware on which it runs have developed to the point where it will shortly become the core programme used for building design at Waterman. Whilst Revit is used for both structural and building services design, links have been developed for data exchange between it and analysis programmes. Therefore, the design can be created in 3D, then analysed with the result being fed back to modify the 3D model. This creates a seamless design and analysis process.
In parallel with this fundamental change to the way Waterman designs buildings, in May 2011, the UK Government Chief Construction Advisor, Paul Morrell, called for the adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for all UK Government construction projects of £5 million and over. At the core of the BIM initiative is the use of 3D collaborative building models, such as Revit and the digital production and exchange of all project and asset information, data and documentation.
Waterman is already using 3D collaborative BIM systems on a number of projects and is therefore delivering the Government’s vision for the use of BIM today. For Quadrant 3, a 40,000m2 development adjacent to Regent Street in central London, BIM technology was instrumental in the project completing three months ahead of programme. It was also used on the substantial redevelopment and refurbishment of the prominent 12-15 Finsbury Circus headquarters building in London; the new Shark Walkway at the London Aquarium; 20 Gresham Street, London including complex roofing geometry; Waterman’s multi-disciplinary appointment for One Angel Lane on the north bank of the River Thames; and the Trinity Leeds shopping centre. Phase 1A of the Esplanade Quarter, St Helier for The States of Jersey Development Company is currently being designed using BIM as part of the client requirement.