Sir Robert McAlpine implements mobile-linked BIM tool for all teams

Project teams at Sir Robert McAlpine can now access 3D construction models from their smartphone and tablet while working on site.

After testing on approximately 20 construction sites, the contractor is implementing Dalux BIM across all projects to give employees access to linked construction drawings with combined models through their mobile devices.

The purpose of Dalux BIM is to help construction workers understand and view architects’ and engineers’ intended design when on site, minimising the risk of errors and improving clarity.

According to Sir Robert McAlpine strategic BIM manager, Nick Leach, the new BIM tool adoption is part of the company-wide digital strategy toolset to further improve their project delivery.

“Dalux BIM is an important addition to our armoury of tools. It fulfils a need required in our business for easily accessing construction models while outside on site through handheld devices,” said Leach. “We feel most of our teams will be using it regularly as business as usual within the next six months – especially with our business mandate of BIM use across all projects.”

He added: “The next steps in our evolution of its use will be when our project teams get to see how well the integration of the 3D model with the augmented reality functionality performs, and I predict we will see high levels of uptake and enthusiasm in its increased importance and adoption.

“It will enable understanding and communication of the design in relation to the real world state on site and provide an excellent visual means in supporting validation of the build process – both what is to be built and what has been installed compared in comparison to the intended design.”

Trainee engineer at Sir Robert McAlpine, Matthew Hartley, believes the new tool leads to a better build. “It allows me to use the 3D model on my tablet while I am on site. This makes it easier to understand the build-up of different elements and components. On site I can show the subcontractors the exact location and build-up in 3D, without having to go back to the site office to use my laptop.”

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  1. Embracing new technology is excellent as long as the non electronic methods are still taught. Maybe I am now old fashioned but having worked in a post-extreme weather environment, where you have no main power, water and thus no electronic communication for several months. One still needs to be able to operate with the pencil and paper and intuitive experience, which are the hallmarks of design teams and contractors.

    I am grateful of my Sir Robert training now 30 years ago, where junior engineers were not allowed a calculator on site and were forced to work out setting out in their level book. We were trained to mentally think and use technology as a tool. BIM, like Chief Architects before it, is only as us good as the technician programming it. The art of the contractor is to take the presumed design and make it work in the real world with real world variables, which are not always predicted in the design world. But beware of solar flares and junk in-junk out and remember our training – if it does not seem right it is probably wrong!

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