Retail group John Lewis Partnership plans to make the use of BIM mandatory on all its large construction schemes from next year, writes Michael Glackin.
The move follows a successful two-and-a-half-year trial of the system and will apply to all John Lewis and Waitrose new build projects and store extensions.
Brian Arscott, head of feasibility development with John Lewis Partnership, told CM: “We’ve been trialling BIM on a range of projects to assess its benefits and efficiencies. We’ve found significant benefits on complex projects and good benefits on new build and extensions, so we are moving to these types of schemes being fully BIM next year.”
He added: “We’re currently investigating the benefits of BIM on smaller projects. Ultimately we think all projects will be 100% BIM, but at this stage coming out of our trial, its use on smaller projects is not likely to be a priority.”
Arscott said John Lewis had held initial discussions on their experience of working with BIM with government officials. The government plans to adopt BIM for all public sector construction contracts by 2016.
“The government is keen to ask organisations about their experience to avoid the same potential pitfalls, but it is a two-way dialogue,” said Arscott. “They have some very good thoughts on the process they want to use, and we see real benefit in trying to establish a common approach and a need for there to be an established industry norm.”
He added: “There is a definitive learning curve with BIM. I would say that anyone picking up BIM from scratch would need at least two years to get to grips with it before they start to see the benefits coming through.”
John Lewis Partnership is a founder member of the BIM for Retail group, which was set up last year and also counts Next, M&S and B&Q in its membership.
“BIM is only a tool, and you won’t get the benefits without changing your ways of working,” said Arscott. “It really requires all the parties on a project to work collaboratively, which our consultants and supply chain are really embracing. This is not something the industry is traditionally good at, and may provide the biggest challenge to BIM’s adoption over the coming years.”
BIM technology is increasingly being seen as a way to deliver efficiency savings because it provides a more seamless way of working.
Work is progressing on government plans to create 11 regional BIM “hubs”, which will bring contractors, architects and consultants together in a bid to iron out potential implementation problems.
The hubs are being set up under the aegis of the Construction Industry Council and are due to be launched in September.
Cornerstone, the developer set up by former Partnerships for Schools head Tim Byles, will look to use existing frameworks to help speed up the delivery of projects it does in partnership with local authorities.
Byles set up Cornerstone with former Carillion boss John McDonagh and former Capita chief Sir Rod Aldridge with further backing from contractors Bouygues, Morgan Sindall and Willmott Dixon.
Its business model is based on identifying the £17bn of surplus assets owned by public bodies and using them to bring projects to market for which there is a pressing social need, such as schools and social housing.
“A number of the schemes we are looking at can be procured through existing local delivery frameworks already up and running, like Local Education Partnerships. This means that we can provide better value for money because it will reduce the cost of bidding,” said Byles.
Concern is growing over rising bid costs as public bodies adopt an overzealous approach to following EU procurement rules to protect against legal action.
Construction companies working in London will be able to operate as usual during the 2012 Olympics if they get “Games ready” now, claims Transport for London.
TFL said: “For firms that need to move around the city, or rely on deliveries and freight, you need to make sure that both you and your business are Games ready.”
It urges building companies to re-route and re-time deliveries and relocate managers to other sites where possible. It cites the example of 8build, which is undertaking fit-out, refurbishment and new-build construction projects throughout London and the south east.
8build plans to operate “business as usual” across its projects during the Games, with minimal disruption to site activities and production by:
Meanwhile, 8build’s financial and engineering managers may be relocated to other offices that are less impacted by Games-time disruption.
Buying club proves a hit all round
A free-to-join buying club for SME construction businesses in Yorkshire and Humberside could be extended after interest from national construction product suppliers and industry bodies.
The Buying Alliance was launched last month by the Construction Sector Network for Yorkshire and the Humber. If you sign up online you will receive a card to present to registered supplier organisations to receive a 10-20% discount.
METAL THEFT forces firms to go plastic
Ongoing scrap metal thefts are forcing businesses to buy plastic products, says equipment supplier Slingsby. Nationally, 35,000t of metal was stolen last year and this recently led to the launch of Operation Tornado, a voluntary scheme that asks scrap yards to record the details of everyone they buy metal from.
Buro Four has been appointed as strategic project manager for Ask and Manchester City Council’s 500,000 sq ft First Street North development in central Manchester.
First Street North will contain two separate developments. Ask is building a 208-room hotel for Innside, a small retail and leisure block, multi-storey car park, another hotel of 110 rooms, and new public realm.
The council is building a £20m cultural building to house the Cornerhouse cinema, gallery and the Library Theatre Company.
The cultural building is designed by Mecanoo. Quantity surveyor and design manager is Aecom.
Construction of First Street North is scheduled to start in July 2012 with the first phases completed by summer 2014.
140-page code of practice to be scrapped in effort to reduce red tape, reports Denise Chevin
The Health and Safety Executive is set to pare down the CDM Regulations in the most radical rewrite of the legislation since the safety rules came into force
almost 20 years ago.
Health and safety officials are said to be quietly briefing the industry on plans aimed at falling in with the government’s agenda of reducing red tape. It wants to reach a consensus with the industry before unveiling the new draft. The proposals include scrapping the 140-page Approved Code of Practice and bringing the CDM Regulations in line with the corresponding 20-page EU Temporary Or Mobile Construction Sites Directive.
The health and safety watchdog also plans to review the role of CDM coordinator.
Peter Caplehorn, technical director of Scott Brownrigg and chair of the CIC safety panel said: “The HSE is keen to scrap the Approved Code of Conduct because if there is a simpler set of rules they can’t be interpreted with all kinds of embellishments. They are keen to drive out needless bureaucracy.
“There has been endless debate about the role of CDM coordinator — the HSE is keen to re-open this and generally wants to reach a consensus with the industry over the best way forward.”
“If these changes are made it will certainly smarten up the health and safety arena considerably.”
The draft is expected to be presented to the HSE board in December with a view to implementation in 2014.
Richard Thorne, vice chair of the CIOB health and safety panel and regional director of Aecom, said: “The recent review of the Regulations by Professor Lofstedt published in April in many ways gives CDM 2007 the thumbs up, but the report does highlight many shortfalls. Clearly there are elements of CDM 2007 which are not providing the intended benefit such as people making hard work of competency assessments; too much paperwork; and CDM coordinators of variable capability and benefit to a project.”
A spokesman for the HSE said: “While many aspects of the package work very well, such as the technical standards required during construction work, other aspects continue to cause concern for the industry, including coordination of health and health safety prior to construction work starting. HSE is looking at how these concerns can be addressed so the CDM regulatory package is focused on maintaining and improving health and safety standards for construction workers across the industry. We are working closely with industry bodies in developing any revised proposals.”
The Association for Project Safety said: “We will be highlighting to the HSE where the existing CDM Regulations can be improved, and the EU Directive better implemented in the UK, without incurring additional burdens upon business and the construction industry.”
CDM: beneficial or bureaucratic?
This will be the fourth rewrite of the CDM Regulations since they were introduced in 1994. They place specific duties on clients, designers and contractors, to rethink their approach to health and safety, so that it is taken into account throughout the life of a construction project from its inception to its subsequent final demolition and removal. Critics say they have resulted in layers of unnecessary bureaucracy.
Cartwright Pickard has completed refurbishment of the Golden Lane Sport and Fitness centre, located on the grade II-listed Golden Lane Housing Estate in the City of London.
A key aim of the refurbishment of the 1950s centre was to provide a wide range of fitness options for residents and visitors. To achieve this, the swimming pool, badminton court and changing rooms have been refurbished, a new gym and dance studio have been inserted and a new, fully accessible reception area has been created.
The contractor for the works was Quinn London. Fusion Lifestyle, a registered charity, has been appointed to manage the centre. The works cost £2.3m.
Companies signed up to the government’s Green Deal have defended the beleaguered scheme following criticism from consumer watchdog Which?
Last month Which? executive director Richard Lloyd called on the government to rethink the scheme, insisting it needed fairer terms of finance for consumers and more accurate savings estimates. He added that without changes to the Green Deal, Which? was unlikely to recommend the scheme to consumers when it launched in October.
But Duncan King, technical officer with the Construction Products Association, said: “The DECC has laid considerable emphasis on building into the Green Deal Scheme safeguards to protect consumers with a system of redress if anything does go wrong.”
The CPA recently published Green Deal Opportunities for Industry, a guide for manufacturers, distributors, contractors and installers. But King added: “We’re waiting for the government to supply much of the missing information about Green Deal, but once this is published there will be more clarity. We anticipate the Green Deal will have a soft start and that momentum will gradually build up. This is a long-term scheme so there is no need for a ‘big bang’ lift off.”
Rob Lambe, managing director with Willmott Dixon Energy Services, said: “Some of the comments from Which? are valid but there are better ways of resolving these issues, which people are working on in the background to get right, than by constantly highlighting them in a negative way. The public interest in the Green Deal underlines how important it is, but let’s remember, it’s a new mechanism and it needs to be given a chance rather than constantly criticised.”
He added: “The Green Deal makes it possible to fund improvements to properties to make them more energy efficient without the need for up-front capital. It also removes the uncertainty about return on investment in the event the occupier or householder moves.
It does not remove the option of undertaking these works and paying for them in other more traditional ways or indeed the choice remains not to have the works done.”
The broadside from Which? follows earlier criticism of the Green Deal from energy companies, the building industry, manufacturers, consumer groups and from within the coalition government itself.
Earlier this year the Department of Energy and Climate Change's own impact assessment of the Green Deal revealed loft insulations and cavity wall insulations, the most cost-effective energy saving measures, would fall by 93% and 67% respectively under the scheme.
The sharp fall is linked to the demise of two subsidised schemes that will end when the Green Deal is launched.
Unrest and uprisings in the Middle East are driving investment in new infrastructure, according to a new report by Deloitte.
The consultant says there are major opportunities in the construction sector in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Iraq in 2012, according to Deloitte Middle East’s annual report — GCC Powers of Construction: Five Lessons to Learn From.
The report says that large projects, particularly around social and transport infrastructure, will offer tremendous opportunities for contractors, as will continuing upstream and downstream oil and gas-related developments in the coming years.
Qatar plans to spend US$100bn in preparation for hosting the 2022 World Cup and achieving its 2030 vision, while Saudi Arabia’s capital spend programme approaches US$400bn over the next 10 years.
The report indicates that longer term infrastructure investment plans for the region are estimated to be in excess of US$1trillion. This figure may continue to rise as governments assess the impact of the Arab Spring on priority investments.
The uprisings have also been credited with positively influencing infrastructure investment, forcing governments to accelerate spending programs to meet citizens’ higher expectations.
“The region certainly is expected to continue to offer a lot of opportunity for contractors,” said Cynthia Corby, audit partner at Deloitte Middle East and leader of the Construction industry for the UAE. “Construction contracts alone, worth US$40bn were awarded to contractors in the first quarter of 2011, 47% of which were in the energy sector."
Self-build schemes like Ashley Vale near Bristol could benefit from the CIOB Small Works Contract
A CIOB member is promoting the Institute’s form of contract to the self-build market, which could be set for growth following a series of government initiatives but also suffers from an increasing number of disputes, writes Michael Glackin.
The aim is to make the CIOB the professional institute of choice for advice to those who aspire to project manage the construction of their own home.
Chris Reeves MCIOB, a partner with law firm Humphries Kirk who specialises in construction dispute resolution, said there was an increasing need for “plain English speaking contracts” for self builders and contractors following the government’s pledge to double the size of the sector. As such he is promoting the CIOB Small Works Contract 2010, written by Dickinson Dees and Northumbria University.
Reeves, who is chairman of the Wessex Centre of the South West Branch, has also been raising awareness of the need for professional project management delivered by CIOB members through a series of shows run by Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.
Although there are many self-build contracts available online, Reeves said they tended to be of a standard type and often failed to provide adequate protection to individuals or contractors.
"There are standard contracts that can be downloaded free from the internet, but they are exactly that, standard, and not always the right contract for what are often very individual schemes,” said Reeves. “Most of the DIY projects that I come across have gone off the rails due to misunderstandings over the various trade interfaces. It seems obvious to me that CIOB members are most suited to knitting together the various trades and should be the first choice for the public.”
Last month housing minister Grant Shapps unveiled a range of measures aimed at helping people who want to build their own homes as part of the government’s commitment to expand the market.
The measures included the launch of a website that will provide information on prospective sites for self-build projects and a £30m fund for loans. Shapps added the government would also look at removing some planning restrictions for self builders.
Plots for self-builders will also be made available on five publicly owned sites released by the HCA in 2013, in Bolsover, Godalming, Hanford in Stoke, Bristol and Milton Keynes.
Almost 14,000 homes were self built in Britain last year, around 10% of all new UK homes.
The CIOB has been flooded with requests to review its new contract — the first it has published for major works in 140 years.
The new Complex Projects Contract, released in May, puts time management at its heart. It can be used with, or without, Building Information Modelling and has been drafted to work in any country and legal jurisdiction around the world for both building and civil engineering projects.
The contract is designed to put the CIOB’s Guide to Good Practice in the Management of Time in Complex Projects into practice.
The contract was written by former CIOB President Keith Pickavance and Nick Lane, a partner at Olswang. Pickavance said: “The causes and consequences of delay are the single most common reason for uncontrolled loss and cost escalation in complex building and engineering projects, where the design is produced by the employer or contractor with or without BIM.
"This contract provides a means to managing those risks. Further down the track we [CIOB] are looking at how we educate and qualify people in time management; the currency of these skills will only increase.”
Dan Preston, senior associate at lawyer Reynolds Porter Chamberlain, said: "It seems to be relatively flexible so you can use it in all situations, whether design and build or plain construction. It's good too in that it also takes into account important themes such as BIM.
But he added: "In the short-term it certainly won't challenge the JCT or NEC."
The contract can be accessed at www.ciob.org.uk/CPC.