Cooperation between designers ensures a good BIM result!

Good cooperation between designers ensures a quality BIM model. This was shown by the victory at the Tekla BIM Sight BIM model contest of the Panorama City design CADS Planner Electric, user Melior Projekt OÜ. The winning BIM design is remarkable in its volume, as Panorama City is going to be one of the largest shopping centres in Estonia with a total surface area of 93,350 square metres.

Panorama City is an entertainment and trade centre in Tallinn developed by ELL Kinnisvara, which should be completed by 2015. The Panorama City design is interesting due to its use of various CAD applications by different design bureaus. The architectural design of the consolidated model was designed in Revit Architecture, the electrical design in CADS Planner Electric, the KVVK design in MagiCAD and constructions with pieces of Tekla Structures software. The BIM part model saved with the help of these programs was managed in Dropbox and consolidated into an integral model with Tekla BIM Sight model control software.

The author of the Panorama City electrical design, Melior Projekt OÜ, was started in 2009, when three young, yet experienced, specialists in the electrical field tried their luck and established their own electrical design company in the middle of a deep economic crisis. The risk was worth taking because today the electrical design bureau Melior Projekt OÜ, with its six employees, is one of the most experienced BIM electric model designers in Estonia. Several apartment buildings, office buildings, as well as a factory building, military campus and shopping centre, have been solved in BIM. Of the entire portfolio of Melior Projekt, nearly 80% of the designs were carried out in BIM. The number is remarkable, as approximately a mere 20% of electrical designs are carried out in BIM in Estonia.

The first BIM design experience for Melior Projekt OÜ was in 2010, when, in addition to the 2D electrical design, the main contractor Skanska also required an electric model in BIM. As CADS Planner Electric was ready to make BIM models, the only issue left was initiative. Dmitri Gridin of Melior Projekt states that at first the BIM model creating process and quality standards were new for the designers of the company, but from the model design instructions of Eesti Riigi Kinnisvara and the respective Finnish Senaatti Kiinteistö all the necessary info concerning BIM model requirements was obtained quickly. Lots of material was found on the Internet and Kymdata was also of great assistance. An especially important teacher and landmark was Skanska, which is one of the leading BIM specialists and users in the world. A visit to the Skanska BIM Competence Centre resulted in an entirely new dimension concerning the use and necessity of BIM models. A token of the first successful cooperation with Skanska is also the fact that to date the third BIM design is already being designed for Skanska.

According to Dmitri, the biggest gap between traditional 2D and BIM designs is the fact that one has to think in 3D. Therefore, creating a model takes a little bit longer, but this results in easily comprehensible integrity, a 3D info model, accurate specifications and a verified consolidated model with no overlaps. In the working process, an important role is played by model verification, for which enough time should be planned.

At BIM design, you must first collect info, create product models and databases, and only then will drawing commence. This is exactly the working process that is the fastest and most flawless, according to Dmitri. The databases and production models created can always be put into practice in the future and this is exactly what makes the work all the more efficient in the future. To date, we have consolidated remarkable databases of production models in CADS, which can be used in new designs. We are also looking forward to the new version of Tekla BIM Sight, which will allow us to communicate with the other parties of the design in real time, and this will definitely render the model verification working process faster, says Dmitri. In addition to work efficiency, the efficiency of the design program is also crucial and, according to Dmitri, CADS is of great help here.

In addition to the use of various design software, the Panorama City design is also of interest for the use of the Dropbox cloud service in real time for the administration of BIM models in the design process. Dmitri explains that the designers of the various parts regularly saved newer versions of the part models in a shared Dropbox folder and every time a newer version was uploaded, Tekla BIM Sight always informed the other designers on the fact automatically.

The design models were saved in the build info model based IFC 2 x 3 format. In connection with the large data volume of the IFC format, the data volume of the entire design turned out to be nearly 800 MB and the data volume of the electric model 50 MB. Without model optimisation, the data volume of the entire design would have been a few gigabytes, but fortunately company Solibri Inc. has developed a file compression freeware Solibri IFC Optimizer. The program reduces the data volume of an IFC file several times, so that the whole information from the model is preserved. For example, the data volume of the electric model decreased nearly 3 times after compression – to 50 MB, while the data volume of the CADS file itself, without reference drawings, was 20 MB.

The BIM models of the Panorama City design were consolidated into one model by the main designer, Arhitektuuribüroo Pluss. In order to consolidate the models, observe them visually and verify overlaps, Tekla BIM Sight freeware was used, which automatically finds all the mutual overlaps of the models and lists thereof. The main designer appointed persons responsible for overlaps in the lists and therefore it was up to the designers to remove these collisions between the models in their pieces of design software. Dmitri states that the main collisions of electric models were in sprinkler and ventilation models, yet changes can be made quickly with a mouse, instead of Hilt. Putting BIM in practice has proved to be a strong competitive advantage for Melior Projekt OÜ.

See Panorama City BIM model on Youtube:

Article on Tekla BIM Sight webpage:

Return to current affairs