Thinklab

Willmott Dixon

Old Moat Primary School BIM Workshop

THINKlab 3D visualisation technology supporting the development of BIM within the construction industry.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is recognised as an area of high potential benefit to the construction industry. With the ethos of real world research for real world issues ever present, ongoing research in 3D modelling here at Salford in the University’s state of the art THINKlab is bringing in partners from all corners of the industry to discuss shared projects, plan new research areas and discover the best way forward for the building industry.


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In recognition of the potential benefits of BIM Willmott Dixon has established a specialist team to develop a strategy to drive efficiencies through the implementation of Building Information Modelling and Management on their construction sites.

André Witter, Operations Manager for Willmott Dixon’s Manchester office, said: “3D modelling has been used by design consultants for many years now however we see BIM as the product of a truly integrated team working to deliver a coordinated information-rich three dimensional model reducing waste and producing outputs to support and streamline our management processes resulting in benefits to the businesses involved, our clients and end users”.

The 3D visualisation platform and BIM compatible technology at the THINKlab provided Willmott Dixon with the ideal venue in which to host a BIM workshop demonstrating a new build project for Manchester City Council - Old Moat Primary School.

Manchester City Council’s technical services, framework management and facilities management representatives, industry professionals, software vendors and university research students attended the morning session during which Willmott Dixon’s project team presented the Old Moat project’s BIM strategy, progress and a 3D demonstration of the BIM outputs including:

  • Visualisation walkthrough
  • Integrated modelling
  • Clash detection
  • Schedule production
  • Specification loading
  • Operation and maintenance information loading
  • Construction time lining

The demonstration on the THINKlab’s large power wall provided an opportunity for all the partners to come together and resolve outstanding issues and instigated a lively debate and discussion regarding the use and future of BIM in construction.

Later in the day a group of staff and pupils from Old Moat School were invited to the THINKlab where the 3D technology was used to take the children virtually through their school using the BIM model. This gave them a great insight into their new school and a number of the children took the opportunity to navigate themselves through the 3D models.

The day concluded with a knowledge sharing workshop with representatives from the other construction partners on Manchester City Council’s Framework 1 joining the Old Moat team and the Council’s Framework and Project Managers during which experiences from Old Moat and other BIM projects were shared along with discussions and a wider debate regarding the industry’s uptake and understanding of BIM.