We have embarked on a series of presentations to industry to show some of the workflow practices we have developed in house for managing IFC design deliverable.
In previous blog posts I have explained the IPD workflow we have been using on projects where we work with Engineers and use their IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) export file from Revit as a means of an accurate model in terms of member size and placement.
In the past few months we have met with Engineers, Builders and QS firms to show some of the work we have been delivering to industry and explain what some of our in house developed applications allow us to deliver in terms of project information resulting from data harvesting from our 3D models.
The work flow is based upon IFC files being issued from the Engineer to us as a controlled document, just as a drawing would – controlled by revision, accurate in terms of member size and placement and triggers to identify two critical project status:
- Approved for modelling
- Approved for detailing
There are other status triggers we make use of as well, such as paint specification and design change communication.
The IFC model issued by the Engineer comes to us at a point in time where design collaboration between them and the Architect is well under way and finessing of completeness is at a point where the model is either 100% ready for handing over or partially ready. The model can be issued before design documentation in 2D format is still being developed, we do not require a full and complete set of documents if the model is accurate and the connection details are delivered.
The aim is for the design team to lock down areas that are deemed ready for issue and not to change. It is understood by all that there may be some minor changes, however on handover to us where the project is switched to a status of “Approved for modelling” it is understood that the manufacturing side of the BIM (Shop Detailing) process is ready to begin.
At this point an IFC file is exported from the design package with objects “Approved for modelling” switched, the IFC file is revision controlled for the purpose of traceability. We then reference this model into our Tekla model and begin connecting up steelwork that is “Approved for modelling” and make use of the connection design provided – quite often in sketch format.
The IPD workflow and information exchange is best described by the diagram below. The Detailer (us) is brought into the design development much earlier than if traditional workflow processes were being used.
From a technical perspective, this next matrix explains the workflow steps taken at the design development stage.
From a technical perspective, this next matrix explains the workflow steps taken at the design finalisation stage.
While developing a trusted workflow platform is important, equally as important is communicating the project status to the client.
We have a standard production report for all projects and the information contained within makes use of data harvested from production models. This means that the information displayed is accurate as of the day the report was generated.
Items such as “Project Narrative” and “Key Activities” are found on the first page of the report and this report is updated weekly and issued to the client.
Production Progress % is also reported and the figures displayed are a result of internal model workflow processes we have developed. We don’t have to guess the status of a project; the model data reported does that for us.
Project status can also be reported in a visual manner with a model image, the colours reflect workflow status and the % of each phase is reported accordingly.
You may be asking yourself why are we doing all of this? We believe early engagement of the manufacturing side of BIM is essential if the industry wishes to deal with delay and waste. At the moment under traditional workflows many of the same tasks are being done by various disciplines and this has been the case for years, this accounts for duplication and waste.
In a tight market which we are experiencing now, so many are going off shore in a vain attempt to deal with the cost of developing design, this is a band aid solution to a much bigger and for many, a more complex problem. Those that are running off shore are still doing “business as usual” when it comes to workflow, they haven’t dealt with process at all and to throw another issue in the mix, many have employed untested and untried resources at projects. This has risk written all over it!
We believe 21st century technology needs a 21st century workflow, and that process plays a very big part in the order in which the design is being developed. Our systems, many of which we have developed in-house make use of digital communication methods and the development of the manufacturing BIM is being done in a linear method – Our processes aim at reducing the back and forth of our collaborative works, thus minimising rework and focussing on the progressive development of the manufacturing BIM model.
So what are the benefits of using our services, IPD workflows and processes?
Comments from one of our builder clients:
- “IPD delivery method has proven to guide the design and shop drawing process to manage risk and produce accurate drawings to build whilst affording ADCO more time to negotiate subcontracts to meet budget targets”
- “has allowed us to meet a fast tracked program and meet target budgets with the comfort of knowing the construction documentation is of the highest quality. If we had of followed a conventional method I am confident to say that this would have put our on site structure activities approx 2-3 weeks behind schedule, with a higher risk of inaccurate construction drawings which would lead to expensive on site added costs”
- “IPD has certainly been proven to save time on programme and provide better opportunity to meet fast tracked programmes with minimal risk. It has provided certainty that procurement will meet milestones and lower trade costs due to the accuracy of quantities. The building industry is forever evolving and IPD is a delivery method which is proven to provide value to our design and construct delivery methods”