‘Start with BIM today’

source: www.mensonides.nl

Perfect insight into the object to build, minimizing the error costs, reducing construction costs, shortening the construction time and optimal use of data – from design and construction to the operational phase. More and more companies in the construction sector are discovering the benefits of BIM and dare to make the transition to the new way of designing and cooperation. This is not only because clients are requesting it, but also because companies themselves want to move forward.

Text: Lieke van Zuilekom

In case of MEP contractor Mensonides from Harlingen (NL), this is certainly true: They switched from a traditional 2D drafting approach to using DDS-CAD in February 2016. "Not only because we had the prospect of a BIM project – 't Havenhûs (phase 1), for which we had to incorporate all of the residents’ requirements into an existing architectural model - but because we believe that BIM is the future and we want to be prepared for it," says engineer Jan de Vries. "We were searching for a solution that supports both 3D and BIM, is being continuously further developed and that also includes integrated calculations. We found all this in DDS-CAD."


"Prior to purchasing the software, I approached a number of customers of Data Design System and asked about their experiences," he recalls. "As a result, I came into contact with engineering consultants 2 Steps Ahead, a company that has been using DDS-CAD for some time. To get some hands-on experience with the software, I enrolled in a BIM course at ROC van Twente, in which DDS-CAD was used to create the BIM model and add additional information. After that I sidelined our old CAD software."

To familiarize himself with the software, Jan de Vries reproduced most of his 2D designs, that he created in the recent years and for which he had used the architect’s DWG file as the basis, in DDS-CAD. "The transition to using DDS-CAD is very smooth," he states. "The software is very accessible; you learn it very quickly. In addition, the support by Data Design System is excellent, which helped me make great progress. In the past, I mainly used isometric drawings to clarify, for example, complex sewer systems. This is now much easier and faster in DDS-CAD. The output can be shared with our engineers via IFC, who then have direct insight at the construction site into how all piping must be installed. This allows us not only to work faster, but also to reduce the error probabilities to a minimum. The software offers so much more than just the added value of 3D in BIM projects."

BIM baptism

December 2016 – ten months after their introduction to DDS-CAD – Mensonides got its next BIM project awarded: 't Havenhûs Harlingen – phase 2. "While phase 1 was still mainly engineered by 2 Steps Ahead, we are now responsible for all models and documentation output for phase 2, which comprises a total of fourteen new apartments. "In the architectural model from Penta Architects, the MEP contractor is expected to design potable water systems, heat pumps and underfloor heating, ventilation system, sewerage and all electrical systems. "Weekly meetings take place with the architect and building contractor, during which models are exchanged via IFC. Here, the building contractor performs regular clash checks, to prevent possible problems on the construction site."

The modeling goes very well, says De Vries, although he is confronted with several challenges. “Hollow core slabs are used everywhere in the building, through which the sewerage and ducts are supposed to run. The slab supplier has specific requirements for this in regards to size, weight and location of the pipes and ducts. In such cases, you can actually no longer work without BIM models. Luckily that is something which we are now very familiar with.”


Architect: Penta Architecten
MEP Consultants: 2 Steps Ahead
MEP Contractor: Mensonides Installatie

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