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the surveys and create it for ourselves, including positions of existing utility service runs — and even the utilities usually don’t know where they run!” explains Remmers. This “real” information obviously impacted on the virtual model, but as a result BIM allowed them to analyse the sequencing of site earthworks to optimise temporary works and prop deployment. This virtual placement of structures has allowed Vinci to “troubleshoot” the construction sequence before clashes ever become a problem. “We would get Tekla models from the


propping contractor, which we imported in to our Navisworks model,” says Remmers. “Being 4D, BIM allows us to see if there are conflicts with the propping sequencing and to deal with it before it becomes an issue, which has saved time and money. “In one case here, we realised that


we had a prop going right through a temporary shaft, and the model highlighted this, meaning we could design the shaft with a hole in it to allow the angled prop to go through it during the temporary works phase,” he recalls.


Centralised modifications Remmers stresses that the model is “read only”, with Vinci assuming single-point responsibility for updating it. When events on site dictate that the model should be modified, he issues a “change order” to the technical team at Watford. “None of us can modify the model here on site. We need to limit the level of access to ensure that all changes to it are centralised — if everyone could go in and modify it, it would be a mess. Instead, the core team, in Watford or when visiting the site, do any necessary changes under my direction.” Navisworks Freedom — the 4D BIM


viewing interface — allows team members to access programme information as well


as design data. Elements can be clicked on and interrogated to give details on installation and sequencing, or dimensional sizes of props or concrete volumes of retaining walls. Click on the purple- coloured “earth” element and it will tell you how many cubic metres of soil you’ll be excavating. As such, the construction team uses it a lot to visualise the site, check site


levels and work out the logistics of concrete pours. The Freedom model can thus be related


to the variable of time and so can visualise how the TCR site should look on any particular date and the plant that will be on site. Which brings us back to that digger, and why it may not be in the position shown in the virtual model.


CONSTRUCTION MANAGER | MARCH 2012 | 25 >


Top: The Freedom viewer allows consultants and site staff to navigate around the virtual site and “interrogate” its elements. Bottom: The real TCR site showing props for the station box dig and associated shafts


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