BIM stands for Building Information Modelling, a holistic, software-based method for optimised planning and execution of construction projects.
Model-based formwork planning – the starting point
When talking about formwork, we differentiate between temporary and build-in parts. As the temporary components are only required for the production process of a building, these do not have to be archived in BIM in the long term. The situation is different, however, for build-in parts such as anchor plates for climbing formwork systems, which constitute an integral part of the building model. In practice, it has proved advantageous to think in terms of discipline-specific models – especially when planning formwork. The formwork model consists solely of formwork objects with formwork- and manufacturer-specific information.
Advantage: a continuous workflow
To ensure that model-based formwork planning works sensibly, the information in the building model must be complete – and it must be specified. That means that all in-situ concrete and steel-reinforced concrete parts as well as installation surfaces and buildin parts must be specified and classified in terms of building stages, storeys and building cycles. Time is another factor that should not be forgotten. It is taken into account indirectly in the cycle definition and the manufacturing sequence in the shell construction model. The advantage is that the planning processes become significantly more efficient due to the fact that the formwork supplier no longer needs to gather information and it is no longer necessary to create a new model. The shell-construction and formwork models are combined in a single coordinated model, which enables all all participants to communicate with each other. From MEVA’s point of view the advantages thus lie in the closed workflow and uniform data base.
The formwork object and its information
In order to be able to plan the utilization of the formwork, the formwork model must include all information about the object. At this point important strategies are defined for the production and handling of the formwork components. For example, if formwork engineers require additional characteristics for in-situ concrete parts – such as the number of storeys, construction phase, cycle number, impermeable concrete, surface finish requirements and much more besides – they can find them at any time in the shell construction model. This significantly increases the efficiency of the planning process.
No room for interpretation
To unequivocally allocate the formwork objects to the part and individual cycles, they must be depicted and described in the model – and not just alphanumerically. Depending on what the next process is, formwork characteristics can be called up, for example with regard to weight, storage areas and assembly instructions. This information can be classified in formwork characteristics, part characteristics and process characteristics. This creates transparency in the formwork process, increases efficiency through an object-oriented working method and also ensures planning security through an up-to-date planning status and an unequivocal description. A 3D model leaves no room for interpretation.
Pilot projects – how can the insights gained from BIM be developed in the long term?
MEVA is training key users in many different regions around the world. The MEVA engineering department focuses on both the derivation of conventional plan presentations as well as bills of material and also on the generation of the visualisation of model-based formwork planning using corresponding media. Another area in focus during these pilot projects is the geometrical collision check. The formwork objects are built up intelligently to allow 2D plans to be created. In the floor plan and the sections they only display the information required for this. Designations can be created and derived automatically and bills of material reflect the current planning status.
Flexible also for special solutions
The bills of material convince due to flexible filter functions: They thus allow a cycle-specific and/or systemspecific evaluation of the modelled formwork components, as all characteristics belonging to the formwork objects are available here. Another advantage of a BIM-capable CAD application it that it provides leeway to create variants. Special solutions can be integrated smoothly into the formwork model, and costs and benefits in the construction process can thus be analysed quickly and simply.
From planning to production: High saving potential
MEVA is pursuing the goal of redefining its place in the “Digital Formwork Environment”. In doing so, we not only want to optimize the internal workflow but also to support our customers throughout the world in the long term. During model-based formwork planning we thus not only focus on the planning process but, above all, on the production process. The formwork is the determining factor for the shell construction.
The formwork logistics on the construction site can be depicted in an easily comprehensible fashion, and controlled and monitored by means of detailed planning. As the subsequent work steps can be taken into consideration, it is possible to avoid staff travel time and unnecessary transport time for formwork and accessories – both of which are time-consuming and costly. Variant analyses support the optimisation of process sequencing and on-site material requirements.
Far more than just a tool
However, digitalisation in the construction industry is far more than just the introduction of a new tool. On the contrary, BIM is part of a change process and requires a new way of thinking. Due to the constant changes and the newly gained insights, the digitalisation strategy and the MEVA content (MEVA formwork object library) need to be continually adapted as the basis of the formwork model. That’s why MEVA works with cloud-based solutions so it can react quickly, flexibly and comprehensively to changes in the continually evolving world of BIM. This ensures that all persons involved in the planning process can not only access the latest data on the spot but also from anywhere in the world.
Shaping the future as a team
BIM can only be used successfully if the processes are adapted to meet the BIM requirements. All persons involved must have the optimised construction process in their sights during every single project in order to exploit the full potential and thus provide the desired value-added for all participants. The consequence of this: build digitally first and then in the real world. In our opinion, the “we”, i.e. the common approach, takes priority during digitalisation of the construction industry. In view of the insights gained, the question we have to ask ourselves is how we at MEVA should shape the future of building construction together with our customers. These common goals can only be achieved in a cooperative relationship based on partnership.
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