‘BIM also a solution for 256 m²’

Not only in large projects, but also in a single residential construction, BIM can offer a solution. This is proven by Schlepers Installatechniek in Markelo (NL), where an additional two-storey residential unit including a small attic is built on a private property.

Text: Lieke van Zuilekom

Schlepers Installatietechniek is responsible for all HVAC systems in the project, including drinking water, central heating, gas and drainage systems. The contractor is confronted with several challenges, draftsman Tom ten Berge tells. “The residential unit is equipped with a water/water heat pump, which climates the house by means of groundwater and provides for the required warm water demand. Especially for this we have to take specific measures.”

In the end, it was decided to reserve space in the storage room, he says. “But this did not solve all the issues. In addition, some windows run from the ground floor up to the ridge, resulting in another challenge concerning heating the house. In order to provide optimal results, we decided to execute this project in BIM”

Time savings

The property, located in Markelo (NL), is the second BIM project for Schlepers Installatietechniek. “Recently, we have designed a vacation bungalow to get acquainted with the software and new way of working”, says Ten Berge. “The property in Markelo is the first project in which we have fully utilized the software. We also made our own heat load, central heating, hot and cold water calculations, all according to the current standards. With this we achieved – with respect to traditional drafting – a huge amount of time savings.”

The switch from AutoCAD to a BIM compatible solution is logical. “Because BIM has the future. A future we are already preparing for. So that we not miss the boat, but will be part of a new and powerful building sector.”

Steep learning curve

When choosing the right BIM solution, the contractor did not take rash decisions overnight. “We have actively searched for the optimum of required features and a good price. After which we invited three software companies to provide an in-depth product demonstration. DDS-CAD was the best choice out of the box”, says Ten Berge. “Because of the comprehensive features, but also thanks to the excellent helpdesk, which I have used frequently in the initial phase of this project. I followed a two-day training course to master the basics of the software. But only if you really get started with the program, you will find the substantive questions.”

Certainly in the initial phase of a BIM project, you make a steep learning curve as draftsmen, he says. “Because BIM demands a completely different way of working and thinking. For example, where you would draw lines with AutoCAD, BIM works with objects to which you associate properties. Before you start drawing, it is important to add as much information as possible to the model. This will take some extra time in the preparation phase, but will definitely pay back in time. Up to the maintenance and operational phase.” As an example he mentions the calculation of underfloor heating. “Where I used to spend more than half a day calculating how many meters of floor heating tube were needed and at what heart-to-heart distance, this information is now extracted within a fraction of time from the model. Thereby also minimizing the error rate.”

For the project in Markelo, the BIM model is for internal use, he says. Because not all construction partners are already familiar with BIM and because Schlepers Installatietechniek only entered the project at a late stage at which most partners had already (almost) finished their designs. Yet, BIM has proven to be – due to the complexity of the property – of enormous added value. In the future, when BIM is more emphatically used and parties are increasingly working together on one model, that added value can only increase.”

This summer, the property will be completed in Markelo.

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