Following the construction industry and related legal topics in the United States.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Is this better than BIM; or, is it BIM Redux?

Newly noted on April 18,2007 at Innovations Report is an article entitled "Software invention could save construction industry a fortune" in which it is noted that researchers at the University of Teesside are spearheading a revolution which could save the construction industry millions. The effort involves developing their own software tools which harness the power of computer games technology to give planners and builders the ability to rehearse different phases of a major construction project over and over again on a PC screen before building work begins. This can range from putting in the foundations to installing pipework and electrical equipment. The Teesside Professor worked closely with the international project management and construction consultancy, F+G, formerly Faithful and Gould, on the Hull gas receiving project and estimates that about 5-7% could be saved off the £100m-plus project by rehearsing the project using the University’s 4D planning tool (3D + real time). Now he is perfecting the computerised Virtual Construction (VIRCON) site instrument with the help of academic colleagues and F+G’s Stockton-based national planning manger, Ian Mackenzie.

Professor Nashwan Dawood, Director of the University’s Centre for Construction Innovation and Research (CCIR), said: “The software tool can help everyone involved in a major project to go into minute detail of construction activities and look for the most efficient way of tackling a contract. This is particularly important when lots of different trades are working on a multi-million pound project in a tight location and where delays can cost big money.”

It is further noted "[t]he next step is to see if the technology can be used to help cash-flow forecasts and to make the software more interactive and user-friendly."

Ian MacKenzie, at F+G which employs over 2,000 worldwide, said: “We like to be at the leading edge of new developments helping the construction industry to become more efficient. This is a very important tool to help our clients improve on project delivery and save costs."

I am curious who is leading whom in this fascinating area? And, whether coordination of efforts may not be the better part of valor here. (This entry is posted by John Springer of Womble Caryle's construction and real estate development practice group.)


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