‘Calculations can be performed more accurately’
To provide even faster emergency services, the Fire Department Gooi en Vecht shifted to 24-hour shifts earlier this year. Because the old location is too small and no longer meets the current standards, the fire station has been temporarily moved to a location elsewhere in the city. The old building will soon be demolished and replaced by new buildings. The design phase of the project is now in full swing. The building opening, which will take about eight months, is scheduled in the second half of 2015.
Text: Lieke van Zuilekom
The new station includes a parking garage for four fire fighter trucks, a workshop, a dressing room and a canteen with a briefing room. Because of 24-hour shifts a living room is also included for the brigades, plus two bedrooms and a bathroom. The project is still in the design stage at the moment, says Maurice Hoffman, director of Hoffman Elektro, the electrician in this project. The new construction of the fire station is carried out in a cooperative building team. Hoffman Elektro is responsible for consulting and design of all electrical systems. In a later phase of the project, the company will also provide the engineering, supply and installation of these systems, including the fire alarm, data, burglary and lightning protection systems.
The technical design specification from the Firefighter department Gooi en Vecht serves as the basis for the design, says Hoffman. “This contains an outline of the needs of the firefighters. Starting from the illuminance (lux) in a given room up to the desired number of sockets and switches.” A special switch in this regard concerns the turnout switch, he says. “Whenever there is a fire in the town and all volunteers come to the station to clear out, they can open all doors and turn on all lights with the touch of a button. The fire fighters will no longer lose valuable time this way.”
Optimizing the design
In the design phase, Hoffman Elektro always produces a design sketch first, coupled with a budget, says Hoffman. “The first draft is first discussed with the client before we further develop the design to the implementation phase. In the sketch, all installations are divided and positioned at our discretion. We then discuss our plan with the client, the building contractor and the HVAC installer to further optimize the design. This is to prevent intersecting installations or systems that cannot be fitted due to certain architectural or structural design choices. For example, in certain rooms of the fire station no ceilings are present, which has consequences for the MEP installations.”
The design phase is now nearing completion, says Hoffman. In the short term he hopes to start the engineering of all systems. “The preliminary draft has been created in DDS-CAD. We have chosen this software because it works very fast and easy. For example, light fixtures and sockets can be quickly put in place in the model and DDS-CAD itself generates distribution board documentation, trunks and cables. Previously, when we were still working in AutoCAD and Revit, we had to do this ourselves manually. Now we can perform calculations more accurately when we have a good floor plan. This way, we and our clients will not face (financial) surprises along the way. Parts lists, which can be generated with a mouse click, serve as the basis for the cost calculation.”
Good overview of the project
An additional benefit of DDS-CAD is that it can switch instantly between 2D and 3D models, he says. “The client has a better idea this way of what is being built and where certain systems and components will be located. For example, we can generate wall drawings on which the client can directly see where the outlets will be positioned. If required, we can virtually walk through the building. Wishes and changes can be made easily upfront, which minimizes the number of modifications we need to do during the implementation phase. The complete construction process definitely benefits from this.”
Hoffman says that his company mainly uses DDS-CAD in the preliminary stages of a project. Hoffman Elektro started two years ago with applying BIM to their project design processes. “Last year, we executed our first three projects in a BIM workflow”, he says. “This year the count is already on nine projects. In addition to the fire station in Loosdrecht we have worked on a sports center in Waalwijk, a swimming pool in Oosterhout, apartment units in Sliedrecht and an indoor ice rink with a sports center in Alkmaar, all executed in BIM.” He expects the number of BIM projects will only increase in the future. “As a result, we want to do more projects in DDS-CAD, whilst the software offers enormous benefits. Only its speed and simplicity is a major advantage, he says. The information exchange with Revit continues to improve. “At present about 95% of all information can be exchanged without problems. A lack of time on our side is the only reason why we have not re-tested the link with Revit. In the near future this will certainly change. Especially when the new version of DDS-CAD is released.”
Building contractor: Vaessen Algemeen Bouwbedrijf
MEP installations: Hoffman Elektro BV, KIN Installatietechniek
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