IN EACH ISSUE OF ICIM, WE’LL BE CHATTING TO A TECHNOLOGY EXPERT IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY. FIRST UP IS PAUL BRENNAN, HEAD OF DIGITAL CONSTRUCTION, BAM IRELAND
WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?
I manage everything digital construction-related at BAM Ireland including mobile tech, cloud tech and engineering applications. Myself and the team look after all the data management systems from pre-construction right through to FM and operations. We also manage laser scan surveying for all projects at BAM.
IS BIM USED ON EVERY PROJECT?
BIM is used on most of our projects and is becoming the norm as new projects come online. All our projects at BAM use mobile technology and cloud data storage to collect and structurally manage data. Laser scanning and verification of data is used on many of our projects. It’s great in Ireland that PPP projects have a significant remit for delivering structured BIM data, from tendering, pre-construction and procurement right through to construction execution and operations. Our most recent PPP building project was a courts bundle which included seven courthouses located all over the country. It was a great project to work on as we were able to create a collaborative working environment for our designers, contractors and FM managers. This allowed us to deploy technology to enhance the efficiency of the team and to leverage data management procedures to support the end deliverable to our client.
WHEN WAS THE BIM/DIGITAL CONSTRUCTION DEPARTMENT SET UP IN BAM?
I set our department up in 2012 as a technical department with a dedicated remit for BIM delivery. Since then we have adapted very quickly to changes in the industry. Our aim is to be at the cutting edge of both technology and best practice in the fields of BIM, data management, digital twins and technology driven efficiencies on construction sites. Our biggest advantage is that we’re part of a much larger international company. Everything that we are undertaking in Ireland is being replicated in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, the UK and UAE. We are constantly learning from colleagues all the time. When the UK published guidance documents for Level 2 BIM, all the operational companies across BAM Group agreed to be certified to these standards by the British Standards Institution. This common technical language allowed us to develop a common approach in line with international best practice. The same principles apply to a project in Dublin, Brussels and Amsterdam. This allowed us to develop many experts across the world expediting the adoption and implementation of a common approach to BIM across all our international divisions. The establishment of ISO 19650 (international standards relating to BIM) has also had a positive impact on how our department engages with our colleagues on projects and our supply chain.
Standards are important because best practice consistency is imperative for our supply chain and how we interact together in the wider industry. It’s inefficient if BAM has its own bespoke method of conducting BIM or digital construction or data management and another contractor in Dublin or Cork has a different way of doing it. We’re all using the same supply chain and therefore need to have a common approach, otherwise its confusing for the industry and the wider supply chain in general. Organisations like CitA, CIF, Engineers Ireland and the RIAI have really helped with this standardisation. Universities and institutes of technologies have also played a major part in promoting a common approach to BIM delivery on projects. We should be following best practice globally and tailoring that to suit Ireland.
WILL IRELAND FOLLOW THE UK IN ADOPTING BIM FOR PUBLIC SECTOR PROJECTS?
Most certainly, it’s only a matter of time but it needs to be prioritised by Government. Every time the government has had a chance to consider it, something else comes
up like the coronavirus, the general election or Brexit.
An advantage we have in Ireland is that we don’t have to reinvent it as best practice as it has already been established. Right now, we just need the government to recognise the benefits of this technology in other countries around the world and ensure our national procurement strategies are improved to take advantage of these advancements.
Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine