PracticeDigital Collaboration

Digital Collaboration

Recent advances in digital collaboration technologies and practices represent the most exciting developments in building design and development since computer aided design.

Recent advances in digital collaboration technologies and practices are the most exciting development in building design since computer aided design (CAD) and represent a step change in the way design teams can work and collaborate to produce a better product. They create the potential to create buildings which are more efficient and aligned to client need whilst making use of all available space. At the same time these technologies and practices facilitate more interactive design and enable the creation of digital platforms which can be used during construction, handover and ongoing operation easing first occupation and use of new (and sometimes refurbished) buildings.

Central to these approaches is Building Information Modelling (BIM). We have an extensive track record of successfully delivering projects in BIM an see it as an integral tool in facilitating collaborative design within the context of increasingly complex built environment projects. Utilising BIM helps the design team to improve coordination, reduce risk and provide improved data rich information at all stages of the project. The coordination of the model between different design team members enables all to gain a greater appreciation of the requirements of all disciplines during design, significantly improving collaboration and ultimately improving the delivery and quality of our designs.

Working in a BIM environment forms a key part of our delivery model, allowing us to design in the model to optimise plant and riser space, identify, develop and maximise opportunities for prefabrication or modular construction. It also allows improved design team coordination, reduced project risk and improved programme certainty while increasing confidence throughout the design and construction phase.

On our recent Hanover Square Crossrail project, BIM allowed us to deliver a robust and coordinated design for an extremely complex project incorporating 123,257 discrete elements, 11.6 km of cable containment, 28km of pipework and 9.5 km of ductwork. Other examples of successfully completed projects include 20 Fenchurch Street, 240 Blackfriars Road, 25 Churchill Place and 12 ‐ 14 Fetter Lane, along with an extensive list of live projects where we are successfully applying BIM processes and technologies to create benefits for our clients.

But we don’t stop there. We are constantly looking to enhance our digital capabilities and have created bespoke templates in Revit to speed up workflows and productivity along with introducing new tools such as Solibri, Revizto, Dynamo and BCF to further improve collaboration capabilities and introduce robust validation to our designs. Led by our Head of BIM, Dave Lee, the practice has also pioneered the use of scripting within Dynamo for Revit, our practices primary authoring tool. This has allowed us to automate the vast majority of administrative or repetitive tasks, allowing our designers to spend more time actually thinking about design along with improving interoperability with our scientific scenario driven software.

Currently we are experimenting with Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to further enhance our models and provide designers and clients early insight into emerging design. Exciting stuff!

Hilson Moran @HilsonMoran