Modeling, drafting and calculating in one model

Opposite the head office of Voortman Steel Machinery in Rijssen, an ultramodern Experience Center opened last year. The latest innovations and developments of Voortman are demonstrated to the public at this location. In the 2.000 m2 Experience Center almost all machines from Voortman are operational. In the showroom the equipment for processing steel profiles, plates, stripping and surface treatment are continuously accessible for demonstrations. The area also offers the possibility to organize events for (potential) customers, suppliers, industry associations and other stakeholders.

Text: Lieke van Zuilekom

The entire electrical and mechanical installation for the Experience Center was designed by MEP consultants 2 Steps Ahead BV in a BIM environment, says owner Ruud Semmekrot. “We have done all the engineering - including all technical drawings - and the design.” Throughout the design process, 2 Steps Ahead worked closely together with the client Voortman Steelgroup. “Voortman Steelgroup has, with the help of Voortman staalbouw, designed the architectural and structural 3D model in which we have designed all the MEP installations”, said Semmekrot. “The installation concept was not defined by us, but by fellow company DWA. We have further developed this concept into a specification, including the engineering. The installations have been realized based on our designs.”

Modeling, drafting and calculating

2 Steps Ahead BV made use of the Open BIM software DDS-CAD. An outcome for this project, says Semmekrot. “We not only had been commissioned to make the drawing specifications, but also translate the designs into a series of detailed drawings. This required additional effort. However, DDS-CAD was an excellent choice for this purpose. Besides modeling, the software also allows you to do traditional CAD drafting and make use of integrated calculations. When you make changes in your design, you can directly calculate the technical implications. A unique opportunity in the world of BIM and an outcome for this project.”

Semmekrot is referring to the structural challenges in the project. Because the Experience Center is built into the existing structure of a former industrial building. “The first three lines of the planning grid of the production hall have been converted into a luxurious office”, he says. “That provided possibilities and limitations. We had to work in and around the existing structure, trying to fit the installations in the available space. Occasionally it was really checking and measuring to properly fit in all the installations, but fortunately we have succeeded. Because we were able to solve and prevent bottlenecks and system clashes at a preliminary stage, we could avoid the costs of failures during the construction process as much as possible.”

Optimization of the design

A striking device in the Experience Center relates to a cold water machine, which can also function as a heat pump. The distribution of heating and cooling is done by means of a so-called 4-pipe system, and various low temperature ranges. An air induction system controls the supply of fresh, chilled air per room. In a number of rooms CO? controlling is applied. The floor in the central hall is used for both cooling and heating. “During the design phase, we have integrated a part of the electrical and mechanical systems in the building in a different way than initially devised ”, says Semmekrot. “For example, we have dimensioned the air ducts in a completely different way. And the air handling units have been positioned at a different location. During the design phase, we have really optimized the complete design in order to achieve the best possible results.”
The fact that 2 Steps Ahead BV was working with DDS-CAD and Voortman staalbouw with Revit, was no problem, he said. “In the preliminary stage we have discussed how we would exchange all information. Since DDS-CAD is certified Open BIM software, the exchange of information went smoothly and without problems.”

Future of BIM

Semmekrot expects that in the future more and more construction partners will cooperate using BIM models, allowing more and more availability of real time information and building models engineered to the smallest detail in 3D. “In the future we build a building twice, from head to tail. First virtually and then in real life, where no one will encounter any surprises anymore. Communication errors and unforeseen additional construction costs will be reduced to a minimum. That is good news for all construction partners and the client, who will have access to a complete information model in the as-built phase from which his maintenance and facilities can be completely managed. It allows maintenance operations and associated costs to be mapped in detail. This is a big step forward.”

However, Semmekrot noted that in practice not all construction companies are ready for this step. “People are talking more about BIM instead of actually working with it”, he says. “Fortunately, a number of progressive companies are already in an advanced stage of working in a BIM environment.” Software applications in which modeling, calculating and drawing are combined are still rare. But even there he expects changes in the future. “A combination of these disciplines has huge potential. Besides specifications and shop drawings, the model also allows us to get all technical calculations from the model directly. Changes are easy to implement. Recalculations are completed automatically, as a result you can see the real effect of a change in the design. This will prevent any surprises during the construction process. At an early stage of the construction process you can optimize the design, from which all stakeholders will benefit.”


Project information:
Client: Voortman Steelgroup
Architect: BDC Ingenieurs en Architecten
Building contractor: Voortman Staalbouw
MEP consultant: DWA
Engineering MEP systems: 2 Steps Ahead BV
MEP contractor: Dijkink Elektra BV (Electrical) and JGM Installatietechniek BV (Mechanical)

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