An introduction to
Being a retail developer, Westfield have always embraced new technologies in adapting to the changing face of retail. In the UK and Europe, Westfield design and construct their own assets. With this level of control as well as their knowledge and experience in retail, Westfield are able to create centres to their exact needs, aligning smart design and technological innovation creating truly unique assets tailored to enhancing the experience of the customer.
Westfield first adopted BIM tools and processes in 2009 and has since committed to implementing BIM on all projects from RIBA stage 2. Their approach to BIM goes beyond 3D modelling and visualization with obligations placed upon all project stakeholders for BIM to be fully embedded within the design as a managed, collaborative process. Where available, models are used in all coordination and decision making exercises in design, planning and construction. The outputs from BIM are used by all stakeholders both externally and internally across all of Westfield’s functional departments including development, leasing, marketing and centre management.
“Westfield’s investment in BIM and technology goes far beyond
keeping abreast with our competitors. We’ve seen real value and returns in its application which plays a vital role in facing the challenges involved in the design and construction of complex projects. The resulting information models allow us to harness the power of data giving greater control over our built assets as well as enabling collaboration within our diverse range of business units” Keith Whitmore, Head of Design and Construction UK &Europe
Lewis, Lucas & the team
Lewis and Lucas are part of a three-strong BIM team at Westfield; they have led the way with a deployment of Solibri software across their team and others within the company. At this stage (May 2018) Westfield has approximately 20-25 competent users of Solibri Model Checker and Solibri Model Viewer, and over 60 people in total who have had some form of training in the past three years.
Since attending our Solibri Advanced Workshop training course (for rule-writing) in 2015 the BIM team at Westfield have configured a wide range of Rulesets, Classifications and Information Takeoff Definitions to allow for Solibri to be used as a core software at all stages in their project workflows.
“Out of all of our Clients across the UK, Middle East and Australia, your model is the most data rich and comprehensively tagged that we have ever seen.” Specialist Consultant
Tell us about how you use Solibri on your projects…
As a client, Main Contractor, BIM Manager/Co-Ordinator and Design Manager, Westfield have many uses for Solibri Model Checker across their projects:
Members of each team involved on BIM projects at Westfield have Solibri Model Viewer installed on their machine to enable them to view and interrogate data in the latest federated IFC model internally without needing access to an authoring tool to open the file. Westfield’s BIM team use the Model Viewing area within Solibri Model Checker at every stage of their projects before running any rulesets for two main reasons; Visual co-ordination and inspection of a federated model, and with custom Classifications.
Visual Co-ordination & Inspection
Users view a federated model before running any rules for clash checking and validating data in order to instantly identify issues for quick changes that can be made, or even issues that may not be raised by the rules that are set to run.
Classifications play a major part in the way project teams at Westfield interpret information and data within the BIM model;
For those that aren’t fully versed with the Solibri interface, Classifications allow users to define the way that components, information and spaces/areas are displayed. A great example of this at Westfield is a Classification created by the BIM team that makes Solibri display certain elements with names or codes (I.e. steel columns become structural framing) that other users, often with previous experience in other tools, can recognise more easily without having to learn too many new naming styles for new projects.
Westfield make regular use of Solibri’s viewing capabilities and ensure that all staff have internal training to give them the skills required to get the best value possible from the software.
Model Checking & Clash Detection
Westfield have three main ways in which they utilize the rules-based checking inside Solibri Model Checker; Space and dimension checks, model revisions comparison, and data validation.
“We can quantify elements in a 185,000 m2 shopping centre in 2 hours to the same accuracy it would take a Quantity Surveyor who would take 2 weeks doing it manually.”
Lucas Cusack, Head of BIM Team
Space & Dimension Checks
Running space and dimension checks in Solibri Model Checker is a quick and easy way for the team to ensure that they are adhering to project standards and regulations while coordinating various disciplines’ models. For Westfield, who are continuously developing multi-purpose facilities, this is an important aspect of model checking they undertake on projects.
Model Revisions Comparison
At each design gateway the team at Westfield issue a revision comparison report to Design Managers, as well as internally checking and verifying these results and displaying during the design review meetings.
A key topic when discussing model checking and configuration of rulesets for checking data is “consistency” – and this is something Westfield are grasping and nailing when it comes to the checks they run internally; during our interview with Lewis and Lucas it became apparent that there was a clear message being passed through Westfield projects, a message that ensures consistency and discipline at every stage to allow for a data-rich and accurate federated model. The team has developed rulesets for checking naming and tagging within their models, with live feeds and referencing to a database of codes/tags in the pipeline, which will allow them to further this check and verify that this data is correct.
Information Takeoff & Quantification
Westfield regularly put the Information Takeoff functionality inside Solibri Model Checker to good use; with custom classifications already playing a big role in their daily activity, the team has created some really useful templates for exporting quantities from the IFC file straight in to an O&M system for use at FM stage, as well as to make the estimators’ lives easier by issuing accurate bills from early on in a project.
“Using Solibri for automated checking and quantity take-off has given us the ability to make decisions earlier in design and prevent issues happening on site that would cause delays from rework or redesign.” Lewis Guy, Westfield Europe Ltd
What part do you see Solibri playing in your forward vision at westfield?
At this stage in our interview with Lewis and Lucas, it was clear that they see Solibri playing a major role in every aspect of the projects they work on in the future. They highlighted that the plan internally is for even wider adoption of Solibri software across other teams at Westfield and for the interface to become “standard practice” for everyone who has access to it.