Context 168 - June 2021

16 C O N T E X T 1 6 8 : J U N E 2 0 2 1 The pilot study An assessment of logistical difficulties, freez- ing temperatures and unpredictable weather conditions preceded the decision to use photogrammetry to capture 3D data of the historic huts. A three-week period, an ingenious homemade telescopic pole and the use of col- oured tape and food cans as survey points was the sum required to complete the data capture. Agisoft Photoscan was used to process the digital images and generate 3D spatial data in the form of a point cloud. SketchUp was used to create the initial 3D model from the point cloud. 3D data capture and modelling were arguably the most straightforward steps in the overall process, technological development and research in this field being such that these processes are now well understood. Adding data parameters to a BIM model of UKAHT’s existing buildings was more compli- cated. With a view to adding component data retrospectively, it was first important to consider the critical information requirements for herit- age asset management and thus a framework of ‘conservation’ data parameters. Structuring data in a component-structured asset data capture spreadsheet (similar to a COBie information and data exchange template) was the next important task. The project team decided to break the built assets down into building components and use an off-the-peg classification system, Uniclass 2015, to classify and structure the data. The ‘asset data capture spreadsheet’ was then developed. This would act as the overall ‘database’ in which data from visual condition survey (conservation data parameters) and the supporting reports would be entered against the building components. Challenges and surprises Early on in the pilot study a number of challenges and surprises associated with the introduction of new processes and data capture objectives were encountered. First, the principal focus of project team members was on the potential of the 3D data capture and modelling aspects of BIM, as opposed to the potential of BIM as a way of structuring and managing building data. This highlights the need for education in BIM as an information management tool, and has contributed to the development of the new Historic England guidance document Heritage BIM: developing an asset information model , which will help other heritage industry professionals consider their future digital asset management strategies. Field seasons in Antarctica are relatively short, given the extreme weather conditions, so time is precious. Individuals have roles to play and tasks to complete. The conservation carpenter’s energy was spent carrying out urgent repairs while the weather was good, leaving little time for survey and data capture. In terms of a BIM information management process, this chal- lenge identifies the need to determine roles and responsibilities, and it highlights the importance of the information manager. Finally, the impact that inanimate objects such as a jerry cans can have on a BIM process is both surprising and critical. The realisation two days into the crossing of the Drake’s Passage that the team’s fuel supply was missing, the reliability of solar power, the effect the cold has on laptop batteries, and the impact of incompat- ibility between different laptops and hard drives illustrates an actor-network effect that must be considered for future research that considers BIM implementation. Outputs and next steps The pilot study has a number of extremely useful outputs. Base E, Stonington Island, has now been digitally documented for future generations. 3D data capture allows for a number of further outputs such as 3D virtual tours of the site, thus enhancing public awareness, and the development of highly accurate CAD drawings, 3D models and orthographic projections that can be used for the planning of conservation repair and mainte- nance, and for the pre-fabrication of replacement building components such as window shutters. The study has contributed to the development of ‘conservation’ data parameters for use by heritage organisations when developing BIM models, and where there is an intent to manage condition survey data and asset management within a BIM environment. Joanna Hull is head of projects for Serco Defence at the UK Defence Academy. In this role she is trialling the results of her research in the development of the organisation’s asset management processes. See Vox pop, page 43. Snow-covered solar panels outside the camp on Stonington Island