The investment we’ve put into BIM is helping with our visibility in the market place. It shows intent and capability. Working with BIMStore and the National BIM Library has helped our knowledge grow, and having our content hosted there has been good for getting our brand out in the market.– Graham Roche, ALUK
Door, window and curtain walling supplier AluK is investing in building up its BIM expertise. Graham Roche, national architectural manager, talks to Will Mann.
How many projects are you currently working on involving BIM?
We have completed four projects to date, three of them schools. The other was the RNLI Lifeboat Factory (pictured above) in Poole, Dorset, where we used BIM for the curtain walling – producing project-specific BIM content – and the windows. From our current pipeline of projects across the UK only around 10% have BIM content.
What makes AluK’s BIM offering stand out from the crowd?
We started our journey three years ago. There are four of us within the business who form the “BIM team” and who have driven our BIM strategy, outlined at board level, comprising representatives from the architectural project management, technical and marketing departments.
We all have been through the two-day BRE training to achieve accredited professional status for BIM and the principles of BS1192. The training was very worthwhile and the exam was tough, and has given us a strong BIM knowledge base.
BIM components for our windows, doors and curtain walling systems are now available from BIMStore and the National BIM Library and our own website in Revit and IFC formats. We worked with both organisations to create content, though we now have the expertise in AluK to create BIM content ourselves, and whenever we launch a new product, that comes with BIM content.
Additionally, we now offer bespoke BIM content – as well as “off the shelf” content from our online catalogue. If an architect has a particular requirement for a BIM component on a project, we will create it. I don’t think anyone else in our market offers that service.
We have also created what I believe is the only RIBA-approved CPD seminar for BIM in the architectural aluminium glazing systems sector. We’ve been running these for just over two years.
How have you found BIM take-up among architects?
By now, we were expecting a higher percentage of projects where we would be asked for BIM content.
What about your experience with main contractors?
Main contractors say they struggle to find manufacturers in our sector who provide BIM content. Suppliers and subcontractors cite investment as a big barrier. In our experience, as with architects, there is a variation in requirements from main contractors. On a recent tender enquiry from a schools project, a tier 1 contractor issued a full BIM model with their tender enquiry, whereas another tier 1 contractor had no mention of BIM at all in their enquiry.
Is your business benefiting from BIM?
The investment we’ve put into BIM is helping with our visibility in the market place. It shows intent and capability. Working with BIMStore and the National BIM Library has helped our knowledge grow, and having our content hosted there has been good for getting our brand out in the market – we’re a relatively new brand, having used the Beaufort Secure Design and Blyweert Beaufort brands before 2013.
Also, having the only RIBA-approved CPD seminar in our sector has helped us get into some major architectural practices.
How do you think the April 2016 deadline will affect you?
We’re hoping it will focus minds and we will see a significant increase in the projects coming through which require BIM content and therefore anticipate increased requests for content from architects, main contractors and our direct customers.
We will also be working with our approved fabricators/installers to offer them support and running workshops in the first quarter of 2016 in the run up to the deadline – to demonstrate our BIM capability and how it can help them.
And having gained some experience of BIM we aim to develop our involvement further, becoming more involved with BIM working groups and help define future progress.