BIM-on-a-budget
This month we welcome guest blogger Janet Beckett to the IES blog to reveal 5 things she’s learned from a “BIM on a BUDGET” project. Janet is a Low Carbon Consultant and Director at Carbon Saver UK.

Our BIM on Budget story began a year ago when a local chap phoned us to ask about refurbishment of their existing offices. Apparently they had googled “HVAC Engineer in Leeds” and up we popped, Carbon Saver UK. Thank you then to twitter and LinkedIn, not “time wasting” after all.

We won the project by offering to “BIM” it at no additional cost to the client. To clarify BIM, Building Information Modelling (or Management?) is NOT 3D drawings, in just the same way that M&E design is NOT drawing 2D, 3D or otherwise. BIM is about managing and sharing information digitally and following the design process, nothing new perhaps but with new technology and more structured data.

Our suggestions to the client that they appoint an Architect and a Quantity surveyor were firmly rebuffed on the basis that they could not afford it and so we were left with little choice but to step out on a lonely BIM path.

Our first BIM or 3D building model was constructed using IES VE Pro dynamic thermal simulation to model the existing “real” building and apply fabric improvements to determine the best cost vs benefit analysis for the client. We used the IES model also for our loads calculations and solar gain assessments.
bim-on-a-budget-model
We then proceeded to build the project model using AutoCAD and Fabrication CADmep, the preferred 3D CAD software for M&E CAD draughting.

The client did ask us at one point whether we would be delivering Level 2 BIM? My honest answer was that really this would be more like Level 1 and a bit BIM and that we were still learning along with many others in the industry.
bim-on-a-budget-cadmepl
My answer to the question however “Did we BIM it?” has to be an emphatic YES. We certainly (BI)Managed it. I never thought I would miss having an Architect on a project soooo much. We definitely (BI)Modelled it, in fact more than once…

Of course our lonely BIM route meant that we circumvented a lot of tricky BIM hurdles. However everyone has to start somewhere, we all learnt a lot and the client is really pleased with the end result and is asking for more elements to be added to the model.

To summarise, here are the 5 BIM things we learned that worked or we would do a bit differently next time:
1.    Use your 3D model images as a selling tool, clients like them.
2.    You’re appointed. Get an Architect on board, it’s lonely without one.
3.    Do your first very simple building model and M&E volume allocations in Google sketch up (it’s FREE yay), this can then be exported into IES (they assure me) and also into the Architects model.
4.    Use same IES model for early, mid and later detailed design calculations and value added energy and carbon reduction decisions and for Part L compliance as well (which we did).
5.    Make use of existing in house skills. This was our driver for using Fabrication CADmep in our Consultants drawings. OK it’s a bit unusual but there’s no law against it and it worked well.

So here’s to our next “BIM” project and it looks as though we may already have one…

Got something interesting to share on the IES blog? Email john.goucher@iesve.com to find out about becoming a guest blogger.

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