Future BAM Ireland projects will be up to 90% digital after validating BIM strategies on the Cork Courthouse project
by on November 06, 2019•
Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality faced a daunting project: constructing seven new Irish courthouses as part of the Courts Bundle Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The design, construction, finance, and 25-year maintenance of all seven civic courthouses was ultimately worth €150 million (approximately $170 million), and each courthouse had its own unique challenges to address. The Cork Courthouse Project was particularly challenging as it required the refurbishment and expansion of six new courtrooms, custody facilities, court offices, and a regional Department of Justice and Equality office.
To tackle this massive project, the Department of Justice and Equality chose BAM Ireland, the Irish subsidiary of Dutch Royal BAM Group to deliver the PPP project. BAM Ireland recognized the importance of approaching the project systematically, helping to achieve little-to-no wasted materials or wasted time during construction, while ensuring deadlines were met. The company used lean and digital construction solutions, leveraging Autodesk Revit, Navisworks Manage, and BIM 360 solutions to achieve a sustainable approach to construction and complete the project by May of 2018.
“From a delivery point of view, we wanted to better coordinate the information that was being issued by our designers and our supply chain to avoid clashes and other issues on the site. One of the outgrowths was in and around sustainability.”
—Michael O’Brien, Digital Construction Manager, BAM Ireland
According to McKinsey statistics, large construction projects typically experience delays of about one year on average, and costs exceeding 30 percent of the project budget. These setbacks are typically caused by clashes in the design that go unnoticed early in the pre-construction process. Larger projects often have dozens of teams and building elements to consider in the overall design, and clashes are common for many projects. BAM Ireland recognized the importance of avoiding clashes on the Cork Courthouse Project. The Justice Department had strict deadlines in place for the team, due to court hearings pre-scheduled immediately after project delivery. Penalties for late delivery could be expensive.
Additionally, BAM Ireland signed a 25-year contract to maintain the courthouse. To make maintenance simple for the onsite facilities team and future BAM teams, approaching the project with a strategy that made building information easily available to all parties was key.
“Using BIM 360 Glue, we were able to ensure that what was actually installed on the site was represented in our 3D model, which we uploaded to BIM 360 Field and pushed the data through to Autodesk BIM 360 Ops, to give our facilities-management team the full traceability and history of an object, whether it’s a sink or a radiator. If you have a boiler and a pump system, for example, all the datasheets for that equipment are linked through QR codes and accessible on mobile devices. When the facility manager wants to do scheduled maintenance on that equipment, he simply scans the QR code and all the information comes up on the digital plan.”
—Michael O’Brien, Digital Construction Manager, BAM Ireland
From the outset, BAM Ireland began to shift its construction approach, starting with the way the project was planned. Traditional construction planning is done in pieces, and individual plans are sent out to the different stakeholders. BAM chose to bring all stakeholders into one kick-off meeting and planned the project in reverse to help catch potential snags before they occurred. To maintain this early alignment through the entire project, BAM created a single-source-of-truth view of all construction activities, dependencies, deadlines, and inquiries using the BIM 360 platform.
Digital solutions were used beyond the planning phase to ensure efficiency during construction as well. Revit, Navisworks Manage, and BIM 360 solutions, which provided a shared view of construction plans and activities, also helped the team order, inventory, and track materials. Tracking materials methodically ensured teams only ordered what was needed, resulting in less waste.
“Before, we had a paper-based system for documenting construction. Instead of a room full of shelves filled with paper, now we have only a couple of folders for documentation must be kept on paper for legal reasons. We’ve much more control over information now. We’re making environmental savings. We’re saving on storage. And we’re saving on accessing, handling, and transferring data.”
—Simon Tritschler, Technical Development Specialist, BAM Ireland
Thanks to the strategic approach, BAM Ireland delivered the Cork Courthouse Project on time in May of 2018. BAM envisions that all of it projects will become digital, and those that use a Building Information Modeling (BIM) approach are now trending towards a 90 percent digital environment. All these projects experience improved transparency, increased accuracy, and fewer change orders resulting in fewer delays.
Using 3D modeling helps to improve overall construction efficiency, reduce costs, and reduce energy use. These models also create legacy data for future use. BAM can more effectively honor the 25-year maintenance contract with a digital model that can be accessed by the current facilities team as well as BAM. For the next 25 years, and possibly longer, the two teams will have the latest building data available at any given time to help make regular maintenance more efficient.
BAM’s overall approach of doing things right the first time meant the project as a whole was a much more sustainable way to complete a construction project. Not only did the team see reduced material waste thanks to careful project planning, but the digital solutions meant the team used a lot less paper as well.
The end result of efficiency in communication is a more efficient and sustainable approach to construction. As more projects at BAM take on this approach, the firm will continue to see the evidence that these solutions are beneficial for its clients, itself as a business, and the future of the planet.
“The whole principle of ‘right first time’ is the cornerstone of what we’re trying to achieve within BAM. Getting it right the first time is key to our financial success.”
—Michael Murphy, Technical Operations Manager, BAM Ireland