IHBC Affiliate Christina Stuart, architect at Reiach and Hall and the IHBC’s representative on the joint BIM4Heritage initiative led by the Council on Training in Architectural Conservation (COTAC) and Ramboll, offers NewsBlog readers a short summary of the event in advance of a more detailed papers on the event to come from COTAC Chair, Ingval Maxwell OBE.
Christina Stuart writes:
The application of Building Information Modelling (BIM) within the historic environment presents both significant opportunities and challenges. Providing a forum to discuss this, Ramboll and the Council on Training in Architectural Conservation (COTAC) hosted a ‘BIM4Heritage – Where we are and where we are going’ conference in London on the 9th of December.
Graham Stewart (Ramboll) and Edónis Jesus (Lendlease) began by providing an overview of BIM, which is a collaborative way of using technology to design, construct and maintain buildings/structures. Both framed the UK Government’s BIM mandate as one in a series of successive initiatives to improve the efficiency of construction, and emphasised that the client’s needs should be central to how BIM standards are applied. Edónis outlined BIM’s potential for improved understanding and management of the historic environment from recording to assessment to public communication, whilst also acknowledging issues around cost, time, technology and limited research.
Some practical applications were presented by Carl Brookes (Ramboll) who discussed 3D models used for purposes ranging from condition monitoring of masonry, to structural analysis of proposed interventions, to simulation of environmental conditions underpinning preventive conservation strategies. Andrew Dobson (Purcell) also used a case study to demonstrate how a BIM model could capture a historic building’s past (historical significance and phasing), present (condition, repair, and interventions) and future (maintenance, work cycles, and analysis).
Ingval Maxwell (COTAC) described the mainstream construction industry as short on the skills and knowledge needed to deal with traditional, ‘breathable’, pre-1919 buildings. In terms of overlaying the BIM process onto conservation principles, he suggested the challenge lay in reconciling a linear process aligned to modern procurement with the iterative, diverse and cyclical nature of conservation. The latter inevitably arising when peeling back the layers of a building’s unique history, and in understanding ourselves as practitioners to be the temporary custodians of our built heritage.
The event drew from the work of the BIM4Heritage Group (a BIM4Communities special interest group) which brings together a wide range of cross sector expertise with the aim of sharing experience, developing consistency and standards, and communicating best practice.
A full report on the conference by Ingval Maxwell will be posted on the COTAC website under its 2016 Conference menu tab.
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More information can be found on the BIM4Heritage website