The Integrated Building

BCA BIM Awards 2014 (Projects): The Integrated Building

(Changi General Hospital/St. Andrew’s Community Hospital)

Key Features

  • Extensive use of BIM during design and construction stage such as visualisation, 3D coordination, analysis, construction, quantity take-off, and facilities management;
  • Innovative use of BIM for 3D Roombook where users can involve in the decision making process with 3D renderings and walk through of the rooms showing all feel and touch items.

The Integrated Building
Architectural Consultant: RDC Architects Pte Ltd

Ms Rita Soh
Ms Rita Soh
Director, RDC Architects Pte Ltd

Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your project and how BIM is being used in this project?

A: I see Information Technology as an enabler to allow architects to enhance our design competency. Back in the nineties when I first chaired the IT committee at the Singapore Institute of Architects, then subsequently co-founded SIACAD Pte Ltd, the institution’s non-profit arm to do research and development of IT solutions for the building industry, I was and still am constantly looking for creative ways to embrace the latest in technology to improve our competitive edge.

Given a very tight timeline to build this hospital, designing was done concurrent with learning the BIM technology for both architectural and structural disciplines.

Although we started with an appreciation of its primitive stage, this technology has enabled the project team to visualize the building in a 3D platform and helped towards integration of both the architectural and structural components. We had also used the BIM model at the various stages of design refinement to analyse natural ventilation as well as solar glare simulations to achieve good thermal comfort in the design built environment. This interactive process helped the team to work towards achieving a Green Mark Platinum rating. Moreover, the BIM platform had also enabled our main contractor to test-bed the pioneering process of asset tagging solutions with the clients.

2. Q: What benefits did the project team enjoy from the use of BIM in this project?
A:  The BIM model was managed on a work-shared enabled environment to make open-ended files for collaboration and references. The initial BIM execution plan outlined the procedure for model consistency and assigned roles and level of details among consultants towards the hand-over process to the main contractor for use and referencing.At design stage, the team enjoyed more efficient collaboration as BIM was utilized internally among consultants to generate architectural drawings, structural analysis and early clash reports. In addition, value-added features such as computational fluid dynamics facilitated studies of wind movements and thermal comfort analysis on the building forms and planning arrangements.

3. Q: 3. What obstacles did you overcome when adopt BIM for this project?
A:  Each party in the project team had to deal with a steep learning curve at the start of the BIM process albeit at varying degree. The toughest hurdle was the mind-set change as many staff members already had grown accustomed to their traditional methodologies. It took strong management’s decision and push for change accompanied by intense encouragement and training that started the evolution.

Eventually, the team members realised the benefits and the use of BIM technology had become better embraced by all. I believe BIM will continue to pave the way for the building industry to expand its capability to move towards a faster and more efficient process of design and construction through the collaborative framework of quick information exchange which the technology offers.

4. Q: What areas of transformation that the industry should undergo to improve its productivity over the next few years as the use of BIM becomes more extensive?
A:  Firstly, there is a critical need for harmonization of the varying policies and requirements among the various building authorities and agencies as very often, productive time is spent to de-conflict these requirements across the different ministries.

As a country with limited human resources, we ought to encourage more frequent dialogues between the authorities and the industry on a holistic approach in the adoption of new technologies, in order to maximize the synergistic partnership.

With regards to BIM, common industry standards and templates should be developed quickly and to be used cross the industry.More critically, there is a need for a paradigm shift in appreciating that the downstream decisions on design must be made upfront at the early stages in the use of BIM technology. Not only is there a need to have realistic timelines allowed for at front of any project programme but more importantly, the bringing forward of downstream payments. Hence, for faster integration of BIM into the industry, this change in the process workflow requires a remodelling of the work programme and the mode of payments to the project team.

Builder: Penta-Ocean Construction Co Ltd

Ms Jasmine Tan
Ms Jasmine Tan
BIM Manager/Project M&E Engineer, Penta-Ocean Construction Co. Ltd

Q: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your project and how BIM is being used in this project?

A: I graduated from NUS in 2011 and joined POC upon graduating. During the first year and a half, I was on site inspecting M&E installation works and resolving coordination issues at the Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital. This was where I had first-hand experience in coordination.

Following the completion of the Mt Elizabeth Novena Hospital, I went on to start up and develop the first BIM team for the Changi General Hospital Integrated Building project. It was a steep learning curve that requires lots of online research and help from BIM experts and consultants to integrate POC shop drawings preparation with BIM.

POC approach for the BIM Implementation is to completely replace the traditional 2D approach with a central data base using BIM for all shop drawings production. It was successfully carried out with all builder’s and sub contractors working off from the same central model. Model preparation by the respective disciplines were carried out in real time as the central model is being updated.

2. Q: What benefits did the project team enjoy from the use of BIM in this project?
A:  Adopting BIM on the CGH IB project had brought about increase in productivity.

  1.  The change from 2D to 3D workflow, drawing production productivity increased as shop drawings and sections are created using model elements. Sections need not be redrawn when there are changes. This reduces the manpower required for drafting and reduces human drafting error.
  2. The nature of 3D modelling allows coordination to be done first before shop drawings are produced. Not only does it reduces rework, it also reduces abortive works on site, improving productivity in many ways, e.g less time and less manpower are required to coordinate on site as the shop drawings have already been coordinated.
  3. It also serves as an aid to improve coordination with the sub contractors and consultants. During BIM Collaboration Meeting with the Consultants, they can visualise easily hence resolving clashes and providing solutions immediately on the spot during the meeting.
  4. The BIM software are also effective training tools to teach new engineers to understand services and to coordinate them as all data has been inputted into software. Trainees can visualise AHU or pump pipe and duct connections in the BIM model whereas in 2D such details require visualisation using plan and sectional drawings.
  5. Using design review software and PDF formats for reviewing shop drawings, we are shifting towards a paperless review process, greatly reducing the use of paper in the workflow. BIM coordination of M&E services is also done using BIM software and clash detection tools unlike the traditional method of reprinting combined services drawings for discussion and shifting of services.

3. Q: What obstacles did you overcome when adopt BIM for this project?

  1. Lack of families, when we first started the project, our resources were diverted to creating new families and modifying families downloaded online. Lack of modellers with adequate skills to create families compounded the problem. This is a challenge that can only be address when our data base is developed from project to project. With the completion of CGH IB we have accumulated families sufficient for approximately 70% of what is required in the next project.
  2. We were initially still using text to label and some simple tags to annotate elements and this required multiple entries in the model. Thanks to Autodesk, BIM experts and forum discussions, we have changed our labels and tags to be fully automated by creating and modifying families and its parameters. Annotation of elements has now become automatic and helps to reduce data entries.
  3. Initially our architectural, structural and ID models are in separated files hence discrepancies occurred when not all the files are updated. We combined the 3 disciplines together in one combined model using worksets to prompt permissions to each discipline when each change affects another discipline, hence the software helps to coordinate for us by increasing awareness among the coordinators/modellers when a change is implemented.

4. Q: What areas of transformation that the industry should undergo to improve its productivity over the next few years as the use of BIM becomes more extensive?
A:  I would like to see a Nation wide common data base for families that can be drawn upon by all stakeholders. With this common data base, coding of assets can be standardise.

Currently all inspections are conducted using prints and forms. It would raise the bar for the industry if we can undergo a change by incorporating BIM and hand held devices to replace prints. This has both technical and mind set challenges that involves both consultants and contractors.

Training currently are conducted by parties that are not from the construction industry producing drawings for construction and if they are, background may be either designer or contractor but seldom both. This would not help the industry as trainees when they return to the office would find their training to be wholly inadequate. Incentives should be given to companies to encourage training their engineers and modellers in a way that is suitable for their workflow.