This is the second in a series of conversations, or ‘BIM Chats’ with construction industry stakeholders in South West UK. The aim is to provide first hand insights into how the construction industry, its clients and delivery teams are engaging with BIM since the UK Government mandated BIM level 2 on public sector projects over £5M.
In March 2017 I met with the energetic Louis Bonay, founder of Project Entity, a Constructing Excellence South West Leadership Council member, current Chair of Constructing Excellence South West’s Dorset Club and Chair of Constructing Excellence South West Innovation Forum. I wished to find out more on how Project Entity was engaging with BIM. Louis himself is trained in architecture, industrialised construction and project management as well as being an arbitrator in France.
Project Entity is in its first year but is already operating on a global stage, with a remote-working but highly collaborative international team (its 5 current collaborators are based in London, Bath, Sherborne and as far as Afghanistan) and private clients from around the world, including the US, Canada, France and Italy.
The practice’s work currently relates to a range of projects, many high-security residential (for those, it has an in-house security consultant), high-end retail as well as commercial projects. It also supports the initiative of Prof. David Coley from the University of Bath on refugee shelters. All projects are focused on designs that employ offsite construction and manufacturing along with techniques to minimise waste, improve energy efficiency and optimise quality control. The practice works in accordance with the latest Building Research Establishment (BRE) BIM guidance and Building Standards Institute (BSI) PAS documentation.
Building Information Modelling -v- Building Information Management
Louis’ first point was BRE’s PAS 1192 did not refer to BIM as ¨Modelling” but as “Management.” The acronym BIM is misleading. It is no longer about Building Information Modelling (he suggested the influence and power of Autodesk has contributed to the perception of this) but instead about Building Information Management. He also feels that the wider AEC sector needs to come to terms with this and fast ! For this is now BSI 1192. He also noted that the provision of a standard for shared parameters of BIM objects with structured data from manufacturers is still a much needed area for development.
Performance Design and Performance Levels
If you look at Architects, Louis said, many are used to ‘first designing shapes’ and ‘then designing for uses.’ He believes this emphasis needs to change. He suggests they need to focus on the latter more and move away from creative–artistic conception to adopt a more industrial approach and avoid becoming “distracted by the temptation to formalise shapes too soon.”
His overarching theoretical view is that “buildings should be considered as whole machines,” not simply “buildings with services inside.”
How can we be “super-reactive, spot-on and resolve problems?
Louis pointed to a clear 3-part strategy for Architects to achieve this:
1. Interrogate the Brief
2. Involve all stakeholders
3. Ensure early stakeholders involvement
For the last he explained that this includes contractors (the practice works with upto three contractors up to RIBA stage 4 in an open-book manner and with quantity surveyors to “value engineer” projects as they develop.
In essence he explained that this means that a “return to total design management” is required to meet the demands of the private sector as Project Entity needs to be super-reactive, very innovative and resolve problems.
Integrating Low Carbon Design research into BIM projects.
Louis explained that Project Entity’s current work includes off-grid projects using prefabricated assemblies including involvement with the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, part of Swansea University, on innovative solar panel systems.
Image Credit : Project Entity | Private Project – all spaces
Image Credit : Project Entity | Private Project – first level
Image Credit : Project Entity | Private Project – second level
Project Entity is an international collaborative multi-disciplinary practice registered in Dorset, and a regional member of Constructing Excellence South West.
By: Mary Bon RIBA | AEC Collaborator