Integrating old and new – Skanska’s BIM-built Bristol office scheme

  • Client: Workplaces by Skanska
  • Lead Contractor: Skanska
  • BIM Tools: Autodesk Revit and CADMEP; Tekla Structures; Autodesk Navisworks Manage; Autodesk Design Review

Commitment to implement BIM throughout the supply chain led Skanska’s 66 Queen Square project in Bristol to be named BIM Application of the Year at the British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) last October.

Revit BIM models were used by both Skanska and steel contractor Metsec, which designed the structural frame of the five-storey office block that tops out today (5 February 2015).

The 5,667m2 office development, designed by AWW Architects, includes a grade II listed Georgian terrace, Queen Anne House, which is being retained and converted.

Derren Masters, design director at Skanska, says: “The fusion of new and old on this site has been an incredibly tough challenge. We were aiming to be sympathetic to the design of the listed building existing onsite but we also needed to find a reliable way to connect the new office building to Queen Anne House, without damaging its basic structure.

“It seemed only logical, then, that we capitalise on a collaborative approach using BIM to attain cutting-edge building design. Our BIM model has truly become the information powerhouse that we needed in order to visualise our ambitions and establish the project’s technical feasibility, without losing sight of budget requirements.

“Beyond the modelling benefits, however, the BIM process has integrated our work with that of our supply chain partners to help achieve technically excellent, coordinated structural designs more effectively.”

The office development includes a grade II listed Georgian terrace, Queen Anne House

Essential to the project was the creation of a steel frame that would smoothly integrate with the existing listed building. Skanska employed Metsec as the company had experience of working in BIM and could offer its own BIM-compliant digital model for the steel framing system.

Metsec created a BIM model that contained all the required elements for its SFS [structural framing system] infill walling solution: incorporating stud, track, deflection heads and compound members, as well as fixing accessories. This file was then used to inform Skanska’s structural design plans.

Masters continues: “Metsec supplemented our expertise by supplying a Revit model that smoothly plugged into our master model and whose level of detail really helped us to see where the SFS was going to touch the reinforced concrete frame adjacent to the listed building.”

Roy Burns, managing director of Metsec’s purlin and framing division, agrees:  “From a technical viewpoint, it was important to be able to feed our designs into the contractor model as it illustrated exactly how our framing system was going to sit within the wider structural solution. We fully detailed the cold rolled steel elements in a 3D environment and shared our design information with Skanska’s construction team and BIM coordinator, Daniel Reucroft.”

This early design input from Metsec meant that potential errors which may not have been spotted in 2D drawings were eliminated, a factor which “directly translated into cost savings”, according to Reucroft.

Software can be a major challenge in implementing the BIM process, as contractors and suppliers do not necessarily have access to the same programs. Through the use of compatible Revit files the model of the structural frame could be integrated with Skanska’s design.

“We simply coordinated Metsec’s model into the construction model and with the help of the BIM 360 FIELD application all construction information was taken out of the office and onto iPads onsite,” adds Reucroft.

Burns believes that manufacturers’ and suppliers’ knowledge of BIM is increasingly crucial to being appointed on benchmark projects like 66 Queen Square. “Seeing that BIM modelling expertise is requested more and more frequently, especially for commercial and residential developments, getting involved in the BIM journey is indispensable to delivering added value to our clients.

“As far as 66 Queen Square is concerned, I am excited to see that the BIM approach has successfully contributed to a tailored SFS solution.”

To see Metsec and Skanska bring BIM to life onsite at 66 Queen Square, watch the video below

Our BIM model has truly become the information powerhouse that we needed in order to visualise our ambitions and establish the project’s technical feasibility, without losing sight of budget requirements.– Derren Masters, design director, Skanska

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