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Taking the construction industry to new heights


Since the turn of the century, the global construction industry has seen increased demand for end-to-end digital information across all phases of construction, with the goals of improving productivity and efficiency, reducing carbon footprint and creating a more sustainable built environment.

With this as the backdrop, Professor Nashwan Darwood and his teamat Teesside University’s Centre for Sustainable Engineering have used novel planning and co-ordination software to embed business information modelling (BIM) capabilities within both the design of buildings and the operational phases of facilities management.

The Research

At the core of this work, the research team developed a standard classification system for the construction industry. This brought together previously disparate information systems (including visual and project planning, elements of the building and construction operations) into a single system through the creation of a suite of software tools. As a result, construction businesses can now run digital rehearsals of building construction (through 4D simulation) and identify potential pinch points.

Further development of the 4D functionality of one of these tools – nDCCR – brought together all aspects of the supply chain to provide better oversight and management of delays during the build, significantly reducing waste and delays on construction sites.

The research team later established key performance indicators, including actual versus planned progress, to measure the benefits achieved from deploying its suite of digital planning tools. The results showed a “schedule hit rate” 17% higher than the industry average.

Elsewhere, specific research by Dawood and Kassem into the adoption and implementation of BIM in facilities management (FM) demonstrated how BIM could significantly improve traditionally manual processes of information handover and increase the accuracy of FM data.

The Impact

This research has been implemented in the business environment via Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, significantly pushing forward digital construction capabilities in the UK and internationally.

It has enabled architectural, engineering and construction businesses to expand their client bases, win new clients, increase turnover and create jobs. While, for clients and partners, the research has translated into efficiency and productivity gains and enhanced sustainability throughout the stages of design, build and operation.

Among those businesses to have benefitted is Ryder Architecture Limited (RAL), an international architecture business specialising in designing buildings in the education, healthcare and public sectors.

Since 2010, the adoption and development of BIM allowed RAL to become one of the earliest providers of lifecycle building design. RAL now advises clients on the digital handover of data to the facility management phase of existing and new buildings. This new business strand for RAL has brought in over 500 new clients in 19 countries and additional offices in Hong Kong, Australia and Vancouver to meet demand for its BIM for facilities management services.

“As of December 2020, this has led to an estimated additional fee income [due to expansion of our service to other clients in other sectors] of £10m and consequent efficiency savings to our clients due to workflow productivity gains which have an indirect impact on the reduction of carbon emissions.”

Partner, Ryder Architecture Limited

Centre for Sustainable Engineering

The Centre for Sustainable Engineering focuses on the design, development, and enhancement of engineering systems, processes, and products that are efficient and sustainable without compromising the natural environment.

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