Technology and collaboration star in award-winning buildings

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Building twice holds the secret to creating better buildings, as demonstrated by the winners of the Registered Master Builders inaugural Building Information Modelling (BIM) Innovation Awards, announced at the recent Constructive Forum in Wellington.

BIM technology was used by all entrants to model the projects in the virtual world before the physical building was built.

Russell Property Group and Dominion Interiors picked up the Overall Award and the $25 million to $50 million category for their work on Auckland’s QT Hotel.

Dominion Interiors won the under $25 million category for the work they did on the Airways Air Traffic Control Facility in Auckland; and Southbase Construction secured the over $50 million award for the Tūranga New Central Library in Christchurch.

The awards were judged by Jason Howden from architecture firm Warren and Mahoney, and Andrew Field from engineering firm Beca.

“There are great things happening in our sector which are sometimes overshadowed by the challenges we face,” RMBA chief executive David Kelly says.

“It’s refreshing to see the construction sector embracing innovative technology that improves the construction life cycle and identifies potential issues before they become real ones,” he says.

“These awards celebrate the project teams which use BIM to design and build dynamic, innovative buildings. They look good, they work well, and they reduce cost and waste by building in virtual or augmented reality first, before being built physically.

“These projects use 3D and even 5D to take teams through the detail of projects. Clients and construction teams can see possible issues, and move quickly to fix them before they become problems.

“Rather than functioning in a traditional, sometimes adversarial environment, BIM demands a collaborative approach. That’s what the construction sector needs if we are going to overcome our problematic, race to the bottom approach. Teamwork will drive a better built New Zealand,” Mr Kelly says.

The Overall Winner and winner of the $25 million to $50 million category was Russell Property Group and Dominion Interiors for their work on the, QT Hotel, Auckland (see case study, opposite page).

It is one of a few New Zealand buildings that used BIM from early design through all phases of project management to building and asset management.

“This was an exceptional use of BIM,” judges Jason Howden and Andrew Field said.

“By sharing live models with the entire team from designers to contractors and tradies, and using mobile devices, everyone was able to ask questions, communicate quickly and resolve issues.”

Dominion Interiors’ work on the Airways Air Traffic Control Facility in Auckland won the under $25 million category.

“This project used a model prototype on site before building,” Mr Howden says.

“It was a great example of the contractor understanding the client, and approaching a very complex project by holding collaborative workshops involving designers, contractors and subtrades working with 3D technology and LOD 400 (a level of development with advanced detail).

Winner of the over $50 million category was Southbase Construction for its entry, the Tūranga New Central Library in Christchurch.

The BIM process improved stakeholder engagement, and was used as a tool for the Safety in Design review. Consultants and contractors were able to highlight any possible safety issues and remedy them before building.

“This was a large, complex building with significant challenges. Its highly engaged team used a range of innovative technologies to deliver on time and on budget, providing a fantastic result for New Zealand and a great case study for BIM,” the judges said.

“It’s good to see this innovative technology used more frequently across the sector,” Mr Kelly says.

“BIM has been a slow burn in New Zealand but is now starting to gain momentum, and is delivering real benefits to everyone involved. We look forward to future awards celebrating the teams using this technology.”

BIM technology was used by all entrants to model the projects in the virtual world, before the physical building was built.

Auckland’s QT Hotel picked up the Overall Award and the $25 to $50 million category; Airways Air Traffic Control Facility in Whenuapai won the under $25 million category; and Tūranga, the new Christchurch Central Library, secured the over $50 million award.

The awards were judged by Jason Howden from architecture firm Warren and Mahoney, and Andrew Field from engineering firm Beca.

“There are great things happening in our sector which are sometimes overshadowed by the challenges we face,” RMBA chief executive David Kelly says.

“It’s refreshing to see the construction sector embracing innovative technology that improves the construction life cycle and identifies potential issues before they become real ones,” he says.

“These awards celebrate the project teams which use BIM to design and build dynamic, innovative buildings. They look good, they work well, and they reduce cost and waste by building in virtual or augmented reality first, before being built physically.

“These projects use 3D and even 5D to take teams through the detail of projects. Clients and construction teams can see possible issues, and move quickly to fix them before they become problems.

“Rather than functioning in a traditional, sometimes adversarial environment, BIM demands a collaborative approach. That’s what the construction sector needs if we are going to overcome our problematic, race to the bottom approach. Teamwork will drive a better built New Zealand,” Mr Kelly says.

The Overall Winner and winner of the $25 to $50 million category, QT Hotel, Auckland, built by Dominion for RPG, is one of a few New Zealand buildings that used BIM from early design through all phases of project management to building and asset management.

“This was an exceptional use of BIM,” judges Jason Howden and Andrew Field said.

“By sharing live models with the entire team from designers to contractors and tradies, and using mobile devices, everyone was able to ask questions, communicate quickly and resolve issues.”

Airways Air Traffic Control Facility in Auckland won the under $25 million category.

“This project used a model prototype on site before building,” Mr Howden says.

“It was a great example of the contractor understanding the client, and approaching a very complex project by holding collaborative workshops involving designers, contractors and subtrades working with 3D technology and LOD 400 (a level of development with advanced detail).

Winner of the over $50 million category was Tūranga, the new Christchurch Central Library.

The BIM process improved stakeholder engagement, and was used as a tool for the Safety in Design review. Consultants and contractors were able to highlight any possible safety issues and remedy them before building.

“This was a large, complex building with significant challenges. Its highly engaged team used a range of innovative technologies to deliver on time and on budget, providing a fantastic result for New Zealand and a great case study for BIM,” the judges said.

“It’s good to see this innovative technology used more frequently across the sector,” mr Kelly says.

“BIM has been a slow burn in New Zealand but is now starting to gain momentum, and is delivering real benefits to everyone involved. We look forward to future awards celebrating the teams using this technology.”