BIM and Сommon Data Environment adoption


Improving Engineering Consultant Efficiency Using Digital Technologies

SEVERIN DEVELOPMENT specializes in providing Engineering Consultancy services to various Real Estate developers. The company also has divisions for Industrial facility design and construction.

SEVERIN DEVELOPMENT's management set a goal to implement BIM during the design and construction phases, as well as for the role of Lead Consultant. The key metrics expected to be achieved were increased quality and speed of design and construction, both when working autonomously and while providing services to clients.

BIM management process
Fig.1 BIM management process

The EMEA division of SIGNAX team (Autodesk Authorized Service Provider) was responsible for the implementation of BIM in the company and training employees to work with modern software products.

Initially, a roadmap was developed, and during the discussions, it became apparent that besides BIM, the implementation of a Common Data Environment (CDE) was also necessary. Additionally, an internal classifier had to be developed, and BIM standards, along with template EIR (Employer's Information Requirements) and BEP (BIM Execution Plan), needed to be created.

As a platform for organizing BIM within the company, the Autodesk platform was selected. Designers were trained to work with Autodesk Revit, and an internal BIM standard, family libraries, and Dynamo scripts were developed for them to expedite the design processes.

The development of the construction elements classifier was based on the 2010 edition of Uniformat, with additional extensions made at levels 4 and 5. Automation plugins were developed to fill the classifier codes into the elements of the BIM model.

Classification system
Fig.2 Classification system
SIGNAX TOOLS for BIM model classification
Fig.3 SIGNAX TOOLS for BIM model classification

During the implementation process, the lack of default Revit tools for construction monitoring and control became evident. As a result, additional plugins were developed to manage the construction BIM model, segment it as the work progressed, and populate it with work completion dates and construction status. Furthermore, enhancements were made to link documents and annotations from the Common Data Environment to model elements.

CDE for QA/QC workflows
Fig.4 CDE for QA/QC workflows

The BIM 360 Docs system (ACC Docs now) was chosen as the Common Data Environment, as it was the most promising and user-friendly option at that time. Moreover, it integrated well with the Autodesk ecosystem. On one project, the BIM 360 Design solution was implemented for organizing collaborative design with cloud publishing. However, for scaling BIM across the entire company, it was decided that Design was too expensive. As a more cost-effective alternative, the solution proposed was to use Revit Server + Navisworks.

BIM model version comparison
Fig.5 BIM model version comparison

To facilitate work in BIM 360 Docs, an Interaction Protocol for users was developed; folder structures, access rights based on role-based permissions, issue types, and approval processes were configured in the system. Users noted the significant convenience of working in the system for document review and drawing approvals.

Training sessions were also conducted on working with BIM models in the system, such as comparing versions and setting up issues/annotations.

During the implementation, various user needs for process automation arose, and thanks to SIGNAX having its own developers, these requirements were quickly addressed. Solutions were developed for backing up files from BIM360 to the Client's internal servers, exporting issues as separate legally significant documents, and digitally signing issued for construction documents (to ensure paperless construction in full compliance with regional regulations).

SIGNAX Backup utility for Autodesk CDE system
Fig.6 SIGNAX Backup utility for Autodesk CDE system

Using this implementation project as an example, the SIGNAX team demonstrated its competence in understanding BIM technology, development competence, and the ability to adapt international software solutions to the specifics of regional business. SEVERIN DEVELOPMENT noted the increase of design effectiveness by 30%, and construction effectiveness on site by 10% due to the project.

BIM implementation in River Development

Digital construction processes establishment on construction site

River Development Company is a major Real Estate Developer specializing in the construction of comfort and premium-class residential buildings.

SIGNAX specialists participated in consulting the Client and all construction participants on the implementation of BIM during the construction phase.

The first project where photogrammetry, laser scanning, and BIM modeling technologies were applied was the “T-Tower”.

T-Tower project. All disciplines were made in BIM.
Fig.7 T-Tower project. All disciplines were made in BIM

The SIGNAX team performed model validation received from the designer, checked for clashes, verified parameter completion in the model, and issued remarks. Additionally, to facilitate interaction with the developer of the BIM model, they set up operations through BIM 360 Docs Common Data Environment to control clash resolution.

BIM model management
Fig.8 BIM model management

After resolving significant clashes and element duplications, all work volumes were extracted from the model, enabling transparent and clear resolution of financial matters after changes in design decisions during construction.

The approach of combining point cloud data from drone surveys with the 4D planned model was also used to display construction progress deviations from planned schedules.

4D BIM model development
Fig.9 4D BIM model development

Anton Snyatkov, the project manager from the Engineering Consultant's side, characterized the results of the BIM model volume closure implementation as follows:

"At weekly meetings, the issue of how much work was completed and agreed upon for payment in the past month completely disappeared from the agenda. What used to cause numerous disputes and disagreements simply vanished. All process participants now have a clear understanding of the situation, and it has become more transparent for everyone. What used to take months for agreement now gets resolved within a week."

Laser scanner data applied for BIM modeling process
Fig.10 Laser scanner data applied for BIM modeling process

The next project to implement BIM on the construction site was the third phase of the “Heart of the Capital” project. Here, besides the approaches practiced and implemented at the "T-Tower" project, linking remarks to model elements through BIM 360 Docs was also implemented.

Construction issue management on BIM model
Fig.11 Construction issue management on BIM model

BIM at Emer Group

Scaling the unified BIM methodology to all projects of the company

Emer Group is a major developer of comfort and premium-class residential properties. BIM implementation in Emer Group began with the development of their BIM standard and issuing requirements to their designers. In 2020-2022, the company actively started using BIM 360 Docs for drawing approvals to transfer them to the construction site.

SIGNAX participated in the BIM implementation on the construction site, including the customization of BIM 360 Docs to ensure electronic documents comply with regional regulations and eliminate the need for printing on paper. With SIGNAX having its own software developers, the solution was tailored to meet the required functionality, ensuring a completely paperless construction process.

Digital “Issued for Construction” documentation approval with QR code
Fig.12 Digital “Issued for Construction” documentation approval with QR code

Next, SIGNAX specialists provided training to QA/QC engineers and general contractor experts on using BIM 360 Docs. Processes for issuing and resolving work orders, as well as uploading, approving, and signing as-built documentation, were set up. QA/QC and scope specialists were also trained in creating the construction model using Autodesk Revit, Navisworks, and own SIGNAX TOOLS module, as well as performing photo documentation and updating the customer's personal account.

Construction BIM model
Fig.13 Construction BIM model

One of the crucial stages of BIM implementation in Emer Group was the pilot application of IT solutions on three different construction sites with various contracting companies. This verification aimed to demonstrate the stability of the chosen technologies and their applicability to any company (not just the most advanced ones). All specialists on the three sites were trained within one month, followed by one more month of technical support. Although three months were allocated for the pilot project, it was already recognized as successful after two months, and the approaches and solutions were adopted as the company's standard operating procedures.

SIGNAX assisted the developer in customizing their classifier and EIR to meet construction requirements and trained specialists on the site to apply modern technologies in practice. Additionally, some plugins and add-ons were developed for Autodesk products, allowing their solutions to be adapted for construction and regional requirements.

SIGNAX services have allowed us to shorten the time of inspections and site work acceptance by 2 times, and the number of construction site visits has decreased by 4 times.

"Thanks to Signax and the Autodesk Docs common data environment, all construction participants (contractors, designers, consultants) have unified and transparent information on any mobile device online. It allows us to follow the project progress and be sure of the final result" - summed up Emer Group CEO Alex Obukhov.