By Anthony Conboy, Contracts Manager, Townmore Construction
21st October 2019
While Building Information Modelling, or BIM, technologies have been widely used across the company design and build projects for a number of years, the use of BIM became mandatory on all Townmore Construction projects in Q4 2019.
This might seem like a bold or premature move, however, our cost benefit analysis shows BIM-supported projects to be significantly better for our clients, which makes it significantly better for Townmore Construction.
The underlying principles of BIM, particularly the ‘right first time on site’, sit well with the ethos of Townmore Construction. In our experience, the enhanced coordination on site and automated clash detection provided by BIM technologies speeds up almost every aspect of the build process, ensuring fewer delays. The estimated reduction in project delivery times using BIM has been 10% to 15% to date. As these technologies evolve, and as more supporting digital tools are rolled out, we expect programme delivery times to reduce even further. This is crucial for the stability and accurate budgeting of any build programme.
While Townmore Construction was an early adopter, rolling out new digital construction technologies has not been without its challenges. For example, there is a definite shortage of BIM modellers. Also, bringing subcontractors along on the digital transformation journey threw up a number of issues, including a lack of resources and, perhaps, an unwillingness of some to make the necessary investment in upskilling and hardware.
For our part, Townmore Construction has invested heavily in both training and the necessary technologies (hardware and software). Our BIM department has grown over the past year through key hires and already has plans to expand in mid-2020.
The march towards a more digitised construction industry is not only inevitable, it is absolutely necessary and the team here at Townmore Construction is proud to be driving this innovation agenda in Ireland and the UK. We understand the benefits of embracing new technologies, from the time and cost savings, right through to the enhanced quality of delivery. All of these add up to a more robust industry, one that has quality at its core. By embracing BIM technologies from the early/initial stages, our design team can anticipate potential issues, and more importantly, they can deal with potential issues before construction ever begins.
The next phase of our digital transformation journey is to empower all site management teams with mobile access to our cloud-based solution, which allows for onsite filing of quality data, all statutory inspections/BCAR and everything we need for accurate and compliant record-keeping, in real time.
These real-time team updates, automated reporting and paperless inspections save huge amounts of time for our busy team. This also facilitates the scaling of our team and allows us to coordinate well across our offices in Offaly, Dublin and, most recently, Cork.