Some of the first Digital Construction Awards ever given by the UK BIM Alliance were received by B+K’s Building Information Modelling team, in recognition of our exceptional design and build of Newcastle University’s Urban Sciences’ Building (USB).
The Digital Project of the Year and Collaborative Built Environment awards were won by our team during Digital Construction Week. The accolades acknowledged their achievements with digital technologies, processes, offsite manufacture and for working with multiple stakeholders to deliver a challenging project.
USB represents a commitment by Newcastle University to lead international research into digitally enabled urban sustainability. This state-of-the-art facility accommodates an Institute for Sustainability and Computing Science. The building and its surroundings combine cutting-edge architecture with new public spaces to house world-renowned scientific expertise and leading-edge companies. It is an innovation hub where investors, businesses, entrepreneurs, students, scientists and citizens collaborate to plan and develop solutions for tomorrow’s cities.
The design of the building as an experimental laboratory – a ‘Building as a Lab’ (BaaL) – enables high quality research, where solutions can be tested, demonstrated and made good for commercial use, creating a legacy of science and innovation for the North East and contributing significantly to the University’s objectives in research, learning, teaching and engagement.
This seven-Storey building provides 3,500m2 of flexible teaching, research and forum space, predominately open plan office and teaching accommodation with light workshops / laboratories and collaborative spaces.
As a Level 2 BIM project delivered in line with industry standards and best practices, we were able to streamline information flows and collaboration, avoiding waste and mitigating clashes.
We reduced the number of changes and generally provided a better service through visualisation and improved design coordination. This approach also improved handover information, by creating data-rich models and an asset information database to support the operation and maintenance of the building.
The construction methodologies and the materials used on this project pushed boundaries in line with the University’s academic research aspirations. Considerable advances were made to understand and manage build tolerances in a series of models, which positively impacted on how we were able to assess buildability issues and communicate alternative design solutions.
Bowmer + Kirkland Group BIM Manager, Laura Brown, said: “We provide a tailored training programme to all levels of staff and manage this in-house rather than depend upon external providers. This enables us to produce bespoke training for our clients and staff. There are currently 43 B+K projects requiring full BIM Level 2 compliance including 23 schools.”
Chris Arno, B+K’s Department for Education (DfE) Framework Director, explained: “Our education team mandates BIM Level 2 on all projects, even those of small value, because our BIM system increases efficiency in design and build.
“Photo realistic rendered images are extracted from the model to help stakeholders gain project understanding. We apply our BIM Level 2 process from inception, using our common data environment to capture and share DfE feasibility information. Enriched in asset data, our models are available to be used throughout the life of the school for maintenance.”
During the next twelve months, B+K’s BIM team will be conducting quarterly compliance audits on live builds and adopting two new BSI international standards – BS EN ISO 19650-1 and -2, which concern the organisation of information about construction works.