Preparing for BIM and finding added value. Provision of specialist knowledge and technical expertise ensures that the UK’s number one manufacturer of air conditioning can meet regulatory requirements and support business growth.
Footprint? Weight? Capacity? Location? Installation connections? These are the key questions about any item that is going to be part of a building, from a small light switch to a huge water tank. The answers can be found within Building Information Modeling (BIM), the digital representation of physical and functional characteristics.
“We decided to partner with Majenta Solutions, having evaluated numerous providers within the market.”
Size, location and context are the essential pieces of information required by every discipline involved in the construction industry and 1 January 2016 was a critical staging post in the UK government’s push for BIM to become a standard across the entire built environment. That was the date by which manufacturing companies had to be Level 2 compliant, meaning that they had to embrace the use of 3D models, digital data and collaborative working in order to manage the lifecycle of assets more effectively, reduce paperwork and cut costs.
We have in-house CAD capability and there was a case for creating the BIM objects ourselves,” says Dave Andrew, Product Literature Manager at Airedale. “However we did not want our designers to shift their focus from product development. Nor did we have the internal expertise or time, to fully interpret and implement the new regulations. We therefore decided to partner with Majenta Solutions, having evaluated numerous providers within the market.”
It was very important for Airedale to retain the company’s intellectual property, so when specialists at Majenta Solutions worked with Airedale’s content they carefully protected confidential design data. In this particular situation they took 2D drawings and remodelled them, ensuring that they kept only key sharable information and presented it in the correct way. Starting out with product base frames, they built up from these, reusing assemblies and parts and generating a fully compliant BIM file containing a 3D model and relevant technical detail. This included the extractable data required for COBie (Construction Operation Building Information Exchange).
Majenta Solutions then arranged for these BIM models to be hosted by the most popular industry standard portal for downloading such files. The Airedale web site features a link through to this.
As Dave explains,“We could have hosted the models ourselves but we wanted a repository which provided access to all BIM models in one place; making it convenient and efficient for architects, contractors and consultants to access, interrogate and specify our products.”
Airedale now has multiple product ranges available for download as BIM models. These include information about each specific air conditioning unit’s requirements for power, water and cooling. This allows specifiers to easily utilize Airedale’s units within larger scale BIM projects, helping designers and building owners to fully visualise and realise their space long before building completion and system installation.
Airedale has focused on its most technologically advanced products, including its range of high efficiency, low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant chillers, and it became the first company in the UK to have BIM models available for this type of unit.
“Airedale is ahead of the game in terms of our product offering,’ comments Dave Andrew. “As we continue to grow the business in the UK and abroad, we continue to see that BIM is becoming a key requirement in large scale building projects. All our new product launches now feature the creation of BIM modelling.”
Airedale can now track who is downloading product BIM files, analyse demand and make contact with specifiers via the online portal. This is a key aspect of lead generation and allows Airedale to have visibility of projects at the early tender stage.
“We have also noticed that facilities managers have started to ask for BIM models,” adds Dave.“When a company takes on the responsibility of running a building, it often creates a model to identify key services and equipment such as power supply, cables, ductwork etc. When we supply BIM models, our products have the potential to become embedded in asset management projects.”
The transfer to BIM files is gradually eliminating the need for Airedale to store and supply the technical documentation usually associated with each product, and guarantees the delivery of accurate, consistent data to customers.
By working with Majenta Solutions, this information has been combined in a digital environment and efficiently constructed, enabling user interaction to be seamless and not restrict their working model in anyway, ensuring value is added throughout the life-cycle of the project. This will increase the Airedale brand throughout the supply chain improving visibility of projects.
Dave Andrew concludes, “In the future, we may create our own BIM files but for now we are thrilled to be working in partnership with Majenta Solutions. They have enabled us to exceed regulatory requirements in a cost and time-effective manner.”
Technical Director, Airedale