FaulknerBrowns Architects shortlisted for BIM Awards 2018
Nomination Category: Clever Stuff
Name: Paul Crowther
Company: FaulknerBrowns Architects
BIM Show Live spoke with Paul Crowther ahead of the BIM Awards 2018 on their Clever Stuff award entry and what makes FaulknerBrowns Architects a potentially award-winning nominee:
Durham University has an international reputation as one of the world’s top educational institutions. It is currently embarking on a programme of strategic growth in student numbers and rationalisation of its existing estate. To achieve this, the university commissioned FaulknerBrowns to undertake a master plan as part of a wider accommodation and estate strategy. The strategy seeks to invest in both the refurbishment of the existing estate and the provision of new developments, to support the university’s predicted growth for the next ten years and beyond. The project employed emerging BIM concepts and technologies to create a data-rich digital asset, allowing the university to plan new infrastructure more effectively, build at a lower cost and operate and maintain their estate more efficiently.
The university held a vast amount of data on their estate and buildings, from academic utilisation to energy performance. The design team recognised that successful interpretation of this data would be critical to unlocking the challenges presented by the master plan, and therefore decided to link the data contained within the university’s existing database with an integrated BIM of the entire estate. This link needed to be capable of allowing data to flow back and forth between the two platforms as well as ensuring that it was available in an appropriate format for all parties. This was achieved through the creation of bespoke scripts within the Dynamo visual programming tool to establish a ‘live’ gateway connecting the existing databases held in Microsoft Excel, with the three-dimensional geometry created in Autodesk Revit.
A series of graphical overlays to the estate were generated, where buildings could be filtered by their respective parameters to illustrate and communicate the information held in the existing databases. This data was supplemented by the use of open-source GIS data such as topography and flood zoning, layered into the BIM alongside alternative forms of data, such as council tax exemption figures which were used to build up a visual map of HMO student accommodation within the city. This ‘virtual estate’ allowed new methodologies in master planning to be adopted through accurate analysis and visualisation of the data on a large scale.
The success of this approach demonstrates that the benefits of digital technologies and data analytics are not only restricted to the design and construction of physical buildings but can be realised across a wide range of projects.