Building Information Modelling (BIM) was recognised in Construction 2020 as a “powerful tool in driving efficiency and increased productivity in construction”. While the Irish construction industry has developed a strong BIM environment in recent years, the implementation of the BIM Innovation Capability Programme (BICP) is set to cultivate real change and progress towards a sustainable future with the integration of efficient design and improving construction through digital collaboration.
Varming Consulting Engineers implemented BIM as part of their design process a number of years ago. A current project where this is being utilised is Three Park Place, a 12,565m2 office development over 7 storeys on a Dublin city centre site. The development has been designed to achieve LEED Gold on completion.
BIM brought immediate benefits to the client and architect such as visualisation of the finished building with Navisworks walk-throughs. Compared to the traditional method of reviewing 2D drawings this saved significant time. As the design developed the integration of the BIM model with dynamic simulation allowed Varming Consulting Engineers to evaluate the environment impact of the development at planning stage. This included detailed analysis of solar gains to optimise glazing ratios and ensure façade compliance, modelling of all the mechanical and electrical services to achieve the target BER and confirmation that the LEED credits for daylighting, ventilation, indoor air quality and thermal comfort were achieved.
As part of Varming Consulting Engineers‘s fabric first approach and to future proof the development the building envelope has U-values approx. 30% better than current building regulations requirements, with the glazing being 50% better, and a target airtightness of 3m3/h/m2@50Pa. The coordination of architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical models was progressed virtually which will reduce the time required for on-site coordination and RFIs. This was particularly useful for coordinating M&E services within the office floor plates and extracting accurate quantity of items, such as grilles and FCU’s saved a lot of time when compiling the equipment schedules.
Energy efficient features include LED lighting throughout with occupancy sensing and daylight control, a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) with sub-metering of all energy users and Combined Heat and Power (CHP). The development also incorporates Ice thermal storage tanks along with free cooling chillers. The chillers operate at night, using cheaper night rate electricity, to freeze water and build up an ice bank. The ice bank is then used to offset the heat gains produced during the day.
The real value of BIM is the data contained in the model rather than 3D visualisation. It’s about modelling and managing information to include 4D construction sequencing, 5D costing and the provision of a data rich asset model containing all the information relevant to the project to enable efficient operational and facilities management.
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