Digital Transformation

Collen’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) Initiative is driven by the Directors from the top down and led by BIM Champions and Coordinators who are passionate about construction, innovation, health and safety, sustainability and the delivery of quality projects.

Collen's BIM Champions are pivotal in focusing an effort on implementing BIM strategies in the existing functions of the Company. The company focuses BIM on Quality and the Health and Safety of its employees, and those who will maintain its completed projects. The company has driven the innovative technologies associated with BIM to a new level to reach these goals, and have developed processes that it hopes will continuously improve these areas of the business. These technologies include, but are not limited to:

  1. 4D Planning

  2. Point Cloud Scanning

  3. Automated Validation Software

  4. The Digital Cube

  5. HSBIMM Initiative

  6. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)

Find out more about how Collen are implementing these technologies below.

Collen Construction use animation software to show the build sequence for an initial Bid.

Collen Construction use animation software to show the build sequence for an initial Bid.

4D Planning

Collen uses construction simulations beyond tender and pre-construction stages to the main contract construction period and use Synchro4D to enable this initiative. The company's planning team has been developing this process and the 4D BIM Champion strives to improve quality, safety, productivity, and efficiency on Collen's construction projects.

Collen's BIM model and schedule are now constantly linked. This gives Collen the ability to carry out a number of tasks heretofore unavailable such as real-time digital feedback loops, planning for safety hazards and risks before commencing work on-site and lead progress review meetings using the 4D model as the central hub of information for clear, collaborative, and productive planning and decision-making with all stakeholders.

Point Cloud Scanning

The company began its business case study into this technology in early 2020 and made the decision to purchase a Leica RTC360 Scanner later that year. The complex geometry within Data Centres, Airport Baggage Handling and BioPharma projects raised some questions in relation to how Collen would capture, verify and validate as-built conditions in direct comparison to its models. The laser scanner was the obvious solution, allowing Collen to quickly capture all of the fine details, giving a far more in-depth and accurate representation of its buildings. It was acknowledged that the bar was instantly raised in relation to the quality and accuracy of BIM and as built drawings.

Not only are the end results of point cloud scanning far more accurate, but Collen can collect higher volumes of data in much less time. Because of this, Collen's Point Cloud Scanning BIM Champion can capture more data in one visit than multiple surveyors would have been able to using traditional methods in the same time.

Point cloud scan being used to check dimensions of installed ductwork.

Point cloud scan being used to check dimensions of installed ductwork.

Automated Validation Software

Following on from the introduction of point cloud scanning to the company, Collen have now incorporated Verity, an automatic validating software package using point clouds and BIM Models, into its work processes. This innovative software has provided Collen with a solution to the common problems associated with only performing spot checks on critical parts of the project. The use of Verity gives Collen the ability to check 100% of a scope of work in the same amount of time as it would take to spot check 5% of the same scope of works by traditional means.

Some solutions compare the point cloud data directly to the design model to provide variance information, whereas Verity uses algorithms to map the geometry to the point cloud. This innovation allows Collen a clear vision of out-of-tolerance geometry. The production of reports is automated and clear so collaboration between teams is as transparent as possible.

Verity software and Navisworks being used to verify proper position of ductwork.

Verity software and Navisworks being used to verify proper position of ductwork.

The Digital Cube

In mid 2019, Collen had the innovative idea of the “Digital Cube” - a collaborative workspace in the field, which aligned with the company's digital transformation.

The idea was quite simple, to bring both collaborative planning and digital co-ordination through BIM to the workface and to the fingertips of Collen's project delivery teams in the field. Collen invested in the latest state-of-the-art hardware and software to develop this innovative on-site technology.

The Digital Cube

The Digital Cube

HSBIMM Initiative

In 2019, Collen won the award for 'Innovation in Safety and Health in Products or Services' at the Construction Safety Partnerships Advisory Committee Annual Forum. The award was for the company's innovative use of BIM to increase the awareness of risks to Health and Safety on site by developing a 3D environment referred to as the H+S BIM Module (HSBIMM). The HSBIMM is an immersive 3D model experience with embedded and linked regulatory information, codes of practice and general HSA guidance has been created. It is hoped that individuals will engage in this virtual environment containing simulated hazards, alongside guidance on the control or mitigation of these hazards.

The software seeks to improve Health & Safety on site by giving Collen teams the opportunity to experience the project from a first-person point of view at upcoming construction operations throughout the build. This greatly assists in identifying hazardous locations/ tasks that the site team and sub-contractors may have to deal with and allows them enough time to come up with appropriate solutions to rectify the issues. The HSBIMM is linked with applicable HSA regulations, codes of practice and advisory sheets.

Gamification is the next step of this initiative and Collen will release a Beta version company wide.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

The company has invested in Oculus Rift (VR) and more recently Hololens 2 (AR) headsets and have begun implementation of these technologies into our work practices. The advent of VR and MR technologies has allowed construction personnel to immerse themselves in virtual buildings before they are built

VR is taking the current use of 3D models to the next level. BIM systems can already create hyper-accurate digital representations of construction projects and we can view models in Navisworks and such programmes. Now VR allows us to actually enter the space, walk through and inspect every detail in a first-person mode, before construction has even begun. This total immersion onto a virtual world enables a much more thorough review process.

AR is allowing us to remotely access every area of a site saving us time and effort. Our Hololens 2 implementation allows a single person on site to show the project to a full team spread across the globe, they can interact with the wearer and vice-versa, and share information in real-time creating a scenario with unlimited holographical floating information made available to the wearer.

Interested in learning more about how we integrate innovative technologies in to our operations?

Get in touch with Ray Coote, our BIM Manager.