BIMcert Conference

Reducing the energy footprint in the built environment

Venue: Titanic Belfast

Date: Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Time: 08:30 – 17:00 GMT

This industry leading  conference in Titanic Belfast showcases the outputs and successes of the BIMcert project led by Belfast Metropolitan College. With an international line up of speakers from across Europe including Macedonia, Croatia, Denmark this event will highlight how the BIMcert partners have empowered the construction sector to embrace Digital Transformation and have powered change in the Construction Sector to reduce carbon emissions targets.

Paul McCormack the Project Co-ordinator states ‘Digital transformation is impacting all sectors. However to date the construction sector as a whole has been hesitant to accept the digitalisation process. The BIMcert project successfully targeted the entire construction supply chain in order to stimulate demand for sustainable energy skills and to embrace digital transformation using Building Information Modelling as the key tool to drive change.’

The conference will also seek to map a pathway for continued digital transformation actions the built environment and speakers from industry, public sector and EU bodies will highlight the challenges and opportunities for companies and individuals alike. Ms Maja-Marija Nahod, Deputy Minister for Construction and Energy Efficiency, Croatia will highlight how  Croatia has embraced the outputs from the BIMcert project to deliver energy efficiency in the building sector, and the impact of making changes. The Chair of the EU BIM task group

Souheil Soubra will detail the advantages to be achieved as Europe seeks to develop a world class digital Construction Sector

Acknowledging the success and impact of the BIMcert project with Belfast Met being the first FE College in the UK to win and lead a H2020 project, Belfast Met Director Damian Duffy stated ‘Educating the workforce in digital skills is a key foundation step in stimulating demand, developing and implementing a digital transformation skills roadmap for the Construction Sector. Belfast Met have led the education process enabling participants to share and amplify content online, allowing participants to collaborate digitally and to become impulsive about their sustainable energy skills.’

In recognising the impact of the BIMcert project within the construction sector Amandine Lacourt Project Adviser, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises stated “The BIMCert digital bite-sized training and micro-accreditation system is a powerful tool for professionals of the building value chain to get their skills recognised and valued by the market. This can be expected to give significant traction to sustainability related skills in the AEC industry.”

The conference will also examine how the entire energy circle is improving the energy performance in buildings with Dr James Harty, Copenhagen School of Design and Technology and Gordon Sutherland Head of Sector EASME speaking on the Importance of the Energy Performance Buildings Directive and how these directives can be implemented to 2030 and beyond.

The registration link for the free event next Wed Jan 22 is:

Editors Notes:

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is modern digital technology that supports sustainability trends in the construction sector, particularly increasing requirements for energy efficiency competencies and applicable skills, which result from European decarbonisation and sustainable energy long-term strategies. Therefore, solving the problem of development of skills for sustainable energy, required by the construction sector, and stimulating demand for sustainable construction and an energy skilled workforce, is closely connected to the upgrading of the BIM skills of construction professionals. BIM is a key tool as a sustainable energy supportive technology for reducing the carbon footprint in the construction sector. Building information modelling (BIM) is the backbone of the new ‘informed’ way of working in the construction sector, triggered and targeted by digitisation to manage the ‘full energy content’ of construction

BIMcert is a project based upon 3 steps, aimed at providing a large scale training & qualification scheme providing the requisite skills for the entire construction supply chain to:

  1. Enable collaborative working to improve access to and the transition from design to development and delivery of both new build and renovation to achieve energy efficient near zero buildings (embedded energy)
  2. Achieve efficient and effective ongoing management of the building in terms of energy and fabric (operational energy)
  3. Utilise  Building Information Modelling ( virtual construction)  as the enabling methodology and tool (sustainable energy)

Excellence BIMcert

BIMcert developed and delivered a series of training interventions using digital technology and improved blended techniques to support, enhance and maximise the impact of energy efficient skills at all operational levels within the modern construction industry. BIMcert provided an accessible portal for training the vast middle tier of the construction industry supply chain workers to improve their BIM access skills leading to better collaborative working that guarantees energy efficient, sustainable buildings and increased quality throughout the entire construction supply chain. BIMcert empowered and enabled participants to go beyond their current non integrated construction functionality to an optimum digitally enabled energy efficient position allowing them to employ all the IT enabled functionality and the BIM tools, processes, services and products to deliver near zero carbon construction and renovation.

Let your voice be heard!

BIMcert Trainers and Trainees, we are waiting to hear your feedback! Three surveys are waiting for your answers – help us adjust the BIMcert training to your needs. Follow the links below to steer the BIMcert in the direction you find the most useful.

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Domusplus – experiences in BIM implementation

BIMcert got the opportunity to experience real life implementation of BIM in a small/medium sized construction company DOMUSplus ltd. specialized in developing and construction of prefabricated energy efficient single family homes in Croatia through the interview with company co-owner and director Mr. Hrvoje Kuretić. We are grateful for open answers which show both the obstacles and opportunities for a company developing in very competitive market.

BIMCERT: Your company has grown significantly in last five years?

DOMUSPLUS: We experienced expansion before four or five years. Since 2006, when Domusplus was established, we have continuous growth of 30% annually. It is particularly strong in last two or three years, when our capacity increased from twenty units annually to fifty or sixty. Our production isn’t actually measured in number of units (family homes) anymore, but in total built area. Last year’s output was 7.000 m² of houses. This year, it will be 8.000 m², and next year’s goal is 10.000 m². We also built new production facility, bought new equipment, and actually doubled our capacity compared to few years back. Processes which took two or three days are now completed in literally two to three hours – just sending the file to the factory, having someone to feed the material in the machine which automatically draws, marks, saws… Right now, we employ over 50 people, which is a large number for us.

BIMCERT: This is automated, or semi-automated production then? Have the processes in the company been structured from the beginning, or are you adapting them as you go?

DOMUSPLUS: We’re still setting the up. Two years ago, BIM idea emerged here, and we invested in software purchase – specialized software for production of prefabricated wooden buildings which we do. Primary, this is SEMA software – specialized software for wooden prefabricated houses, which covers development of prefabricated constructions, walls, slabs, roofs, any other elements (SEMA allows bidirectional communications through standardized IFC format). Software is linked to machines in our factory. It has been upgraded through various modules and followed by continuous education in software use. software investment amounts to approximately 100,000 euros and now we are seeing payback on our investment. Two years ago we initiated the project which will incorporate the entire process from the initial idea developed in ArchiCAD through Dlubal software for construction analysis, further connected to production development software. We are using single architectural model for construction and workshop drawings and with two clicks we can produce final plans within half hour. This is still an idea but I hope it’s going to become operational by the beginning of next year.

BIMCERT: So, all the business processes in the company connected through BIM. you already connected the preliminary plan to production, cost estimates, time planning…   

DOMUSPLUS: Yes, one thing follows the other. we couldn’t maintain manual labor an Excel spreadsheets. we had to invest to follow the growth of the company.   

BIMCERT: What remains? I know that you are doing building physics calculation within the national regulation. Are you preparing yourselves for energy simulations – next step – optimization of the building fabric regarding the energy demands? BIMcert project addresses that particular issue in training for increased energy efficiency in entire construction sector production chain. 

DOMUSPLUS: Regarding the thermal insulation, I don’t think there is much space left 4 energy efficiency improvement in our buildings. Our calculations confirmed that there is no use for additional thermal insulation and thicker building fabric because the cost outgrows the benefits. Standard wall we are offering is 38 centimeters out of which 35 is thermal insulation. Thickening the insulation increases cost while energy consumption reduction isn’t equivalent. here is the spot where building technical systems as heat recovery or heat pumps significantly improve building energy balance.  

BIMCERT: External envelope is maximized regarding the heat retention. you are using the technical systems to further reduce the energy consumption. Would it be interesting to try to reduce the insulation to reduce production costs and life cycle costs of the building?

DOMUSPLUS: I believe this is suitable for larger buildings. Changing the production processes on single family houses isn’t financially acceptable. We tried out and simulated other construction materials which might reduce the wall thickness and increase the usable building area but abandoned the further research because of unavailability of materials.

BIMCERT: How did you organize worker training and transition to BIM during the BIM implementation in the company?  

DOMUSPLUS: Initially we organized archi CAD training in duration of 60 hours, which actually took twenty 3-hour lectures, depending on worker and time availability. We are developing templates for our houses (building fabric) which will be applied to all our projects from the beginning of next year. factory Production part of the company was also supplied the education in machine handling because they don’t have too intense contact with BIM – they have to receive the file and be able to apply it on the machine, read it and input required materials for that building.

BIMCERT: Standard finish level you are offering is high “roh-bau”. Are you including additional finishing and if so are you doing that with your own personnel?  

DOMUSPLUS: We have multiple demands for higher completion level, and as a standard, now we offer electrical installation and if requested heating and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Finishing works are dependent all the agreements with investor. We employ subcontractors for finishing works.  

BIMCERT: Do the subcontractors require exchange of digital information or request BIM?

DOMUSPLUS: Generally, subcontractors don’t, but designers do. we just had a meeting with mechanical engineers who are also implementing BIM and we have to work in close cooperation. They are using Revit, So, it would be good that we define penetrations through walls, beams for ventilation, other mechanical systems, and prepare for that in factory production of building components. That way we will have less interventions on the field breaches of weather proofing and vapor barriers. as we are not designing the mechanical systems ourselves, there are still adjustments with mechanical and electrical engineers. Mechanical engineers, as I see it, will soon implement BIM, electrical engineers and others a bit slower. Part of the envelope problems has been solved on our side by implementing the installation layer inside the vapor barrier, so we can close the external envelope without the installation breaches. Basements and footing builders are still far from BIM implementation.  

BIMCERT: You seem to be specific in Bing implementation because your buildings a modular product which can be very well coordinated through BIM, but interface of the building to the footing and final works are still open ended – I would say traditional?

DOMUSPLUS: Unfortunately, we haven’t yet met the contractor prepared to work the other way. large construction companies and large projects have BIM as mandatory condition. our product is single family home – we can make it without it, but we are trying to implement BIM in time and get ready for the change.

BIMCERT: When organizing the education in the office, how did the workers react to it? 60 hours is a significant time considering the workload and private life? how much of their own time were the workers ready to invest in learning?

DOMUSPLUS: Exactly. Decision on training in work time or free time is always hard. Spirits were divided by half – half of the team we’re more inclined to do the training in their free time, and the other half wanted to do it during the working hours. Finally, majority agreed on training on Friday before closing time. I’m informed that everybody used additional training options in their free time – YouTube videos, tutorials, online examples and other informal education which we sometimes don’t track and don’t consider the education, but at the end of the day everybody is using new tools.

BIMCERT: Thank you for the conversation and insight in your BIM implementation

Virtual Face to Face Session

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Event Date:  Tuesday, 26th November
Time:  12.30-13.30 (GMT)

To reserve your place(s) and confirm your attendance, please click on this Eventbrite link.

Who can join in?
This session is for students currently enrolled on the BIMcert learning platform and have questions on their BIMcert training journey.
Topics Covered:
– BIM Principles
– Digital Skills
– Introduction to Low Energy Building Construction