BIM has great benefits for early stage designs. Visualising a project in 3D is not a new concept in architecture, but software allows us to analyse our buildings during design stages to give clients the most effective buildings. BIM allows clients to get involved in the project’s decision-making and communicates the design intent, not only the pretty pictures, according to Marelise Dann, BIM Manager for Boogertman + Partners (B+P).
The Menlyn Maine Central Square Project
The Menlyn Maine Central Square (MMCS) is a mixed-use development that forms part of the greater Menlyn Maine in Pretoria. The R1.8bn project consists of a boutique shopping centre, commercial office building and hotel. Being such a large, fast-paced project, it served as a great development to make the case for BIM.
“MMCS has been a great case study for us in terms of internal operations and collaborating with our consultants and contractor. Because of the size and complexity of the project, our team had to push the limit of processes and protocols to deliver a highly coordinated outcome in a short period of time,” states Dann.
Internally, MMCS was a great example of how teams should be put together to stay productive and innovative. The workflows on Revit and Navisworks and the BIM Execution Plan was optimised to achieve specific project goals.
“The team’s structure in terms of expertise was planned to perfection. Every team member had a specific role and responsibility. Our MMCS team became an inspiration with their comradery towards each other and the rest of the project teams.”
Externally, the MMCS team’s dedication spilled over to the rest of the stakeholders in the project. MMCS had been earmarked as a BIM project from the get-go. “Due to the time constraints, getting to zero clashes onsite seemed impossible, which only served to inspire the team further.”
The bi-weekly project meetings evolved to bi-weekly workshops that included all project stakeholders, with Navisworks clash detection at the forefront – to reduce issues onsite before drawings were issued. “The project was of course not without its usual hiccoughs, but I have never seen a project team come together like this, with one goal in mind: excellence.”
“Boogertman + Partners (B+P) is focused on human-centric design. Human centricity entails having a connection with all stakeholders inside and outside of our business. BIM plays a big role in bringing our staff, consultants and clients together as a team to deliver excellence,” explains Dann.
B+P mainly use Autodesk software, leading with Revit and Navisworks. Dann and the team also integrate with other BIM software like Rhino, “to keep up with the latest innovations in architecture, and to ensure our workflows run as efficiently as possible”.
B+P’s modelling standards have been created according to the AEC (UK) BIM Protocol for Revit. Its BIM standards and processes are aligned with the UK PAS:1192, where South African methodology permits.
“I think all companies go through the same challenges during any kind of transformation. BIM is not unique to that. One of the biggest challenges, usually, is dealing with change,” says Dann when recalling the early days of the company’s BIM execution.
“When I started at B+P in 2014, our biggest challenge was to make the time between projects to implement our BIM strategy. What made our transformation successful was the determination of a leader and an amped team, to drive B+P into the future with BIM by changing our culture to a culture of learning. It’s our culture of learning that is still driving our passion for BIM today,” Dann continues.
“BIM is moving at such a fast pace, our next challenge is to get into a culture of change. New technologies will need constant adaptation of workflows and we need to be ready,” she says of the company’s current strategy.
One of the greater benefits of using BIM in early design stages is that it sets the BIM workflow for the rest of the project stages, by visualising complexities and anticipating potential risks, making the project more efficient all around.
“Up-skilling staff on BIM processes is not necessarily challenging. The more you work on BIM software, the more the BIM processes, workflows and protocols make logical sense,” says Dann with a smile.