Monitoring Building Performance

Kate Moss is a model, who knows how to perform. The fashion industry understands this and recalls that back in 1990, supermodel Linda Evangelista uttered what has become the most famous quote in modelling history: “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day” showing what a lean machine she and Kate could be. Her intelligence  is that she knows how to work a runway, how to show a garment in its best light and to capture that moment for the Haselblad, clicking her every move. A model who cannot perform, is not a model for very long.

Performance is key to the construction sector too, where increasingly a building which cannot perform is not an asset but a drain on the economy, society and our precious planet; Earth. Rewarding better buildings, better constructions and better methods is not easily done and our current practices do not reflect this either. Finding new ways to encourage this and to demand it requires a new mindset and Building Information Modelling (BIM) offers a platform for this to happen. BIM is not a technique but rather an overarching support system providing a place or a stage on which all stakeholders can perform and excel in their roles, producing both new environments and retrofitting old ones.

Build 4.0, the Internet of Things and the Blockchain all offer new and exciting opportunities to progress a better, more sustainable world and to reward better performance, which patently did not exist before. The industrial model for procuring a project is still based on working with small margins, usually the lowest tender wins the contract. This sets the landscape for litigious conflicts, change orders and delays making the industry the worst performing sector in terms of productivity across all activities from automobiles to agriculture.

Similarly, there is little or no Evidence-Based Design (EBD) meaning designs are often architectural whims with no data to back them up. Brandenburg Airport in Berlin, started in 2008 and expected to open in 2012 at a cost of €1.2 billion, still has only hardhats on site. It has no completion date with many saying it would be easier to tear it down and start afresh. It is six times over budget, and has 66,500 building errors in need of fixing (Economist 2017).

At The Copenhagen School of Design & Technology (KEA) we use BIM-360 to provide a cloud-based solution. The students, working in groups of four use a whole semester to procure a project, collaborating through Problem-Based Learning (PBL), to provide the architectural deliverables, the structural and mechanical deliverables, the economy and contractual basis with specifications and tender packages. The 3D model is produced in Autodesk Revit and is overlaid with structural and MEP models. Next it is parsed into Sigma Estimates where the quantities are priced against a price book providing the 5D model (resources).

Next this model is exported to Microsoft Project where the 4D (time) can be modelled in a Gant chart. Here there is work back and forth in three interlinked models to fine tune the operation. Exporting the Revit model to NavisWorks allows the MS Project data to be applied, so that a time line can be animated and saved as a movie. Clash detection can also happen here. We are also assessing RIB’s iTWO software which brings the 4D and 5D under one roof, which additionally can map the budgeted spend against actual workflows so that bottle-necks and liquidity can be controlled.

With regard to circular ecology; waste, CO2 and energy need to be evaluated. Making Life Cycle Analyses (LCA) and Life Cycle Costings (LLC) better inform design decisions and impact the above processes. Next is to find metrics that reward such practices. One is to make an embodied carbon price book using GtCO2e. Another is to transfer the 3D Model from objects to assets so that Facilities Management (FM) processes can be applied. Changes to the contractual model mean looking at Integrated Project Deliveries (IPD), where Integrated Concurrent Engineering (ICE) also comes to the fore using handheld devices.

Sidechains, a subset of the Blockchain means that if a tender package claims to deliver benefits, through the life cycle of the facility, which now can be sensored and monitored through its life, then it can be accountable. If savings occur, they can be rewarded by paying out a dividend from the accrued saving, each and every year in which it happens. Making an argument along these lines encourages better practices and, more importantly, rewards better procedures.

Dr James HARTY
BArch MArchSc PPCert PGCert PhD RIBA MAA

Copenhagen School of Design & Technology
Prinsesse Charlottesgade 38,
Copenhagen, DK-2200


M +45 2148 7035

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