BIM Outsourcing helps Construction Companies & Building Contractors to Thrive in Global Market


Although the concept of Building Information Modeling originated from architectural design, the constructors/contractors have a very important seat at the table as well. The process isn’t new in the industry, yet it is still evolving in a manner where BIM professionals make it functional for better profitability and also make them global competitors. According to a report from McGraw Hill, only 25% of the companies have adopted BIM for their projects.

Of the various reasons responsible for low adoption, one of the prominent one is to the smaller size of construction companies and contractors with limited financial resources. This hinders their growth and ability to compete on higher levels as their capability is outright rejected and undermined as compared to the BIM users. However, Outsourcing BIM services, productivity and quality of work can be enhanced - easily.

BIM helps with electronic data, to easily coordinate and collaborate

BIM assists contractors in analyzing the piece of information pertaining to a building and clubbing it with scheduling, finances and bidding the best for the project. Thus, the electronic data in the form of BIM model, allows the contractors to streamline the activities for projects, which otherwise would take up a huge time and resources. To put it in one statement, BIM enables a contractor in coming out with the best possible outcomes right from the design stage and all the way to construction and even post-construction.

Read more: BIM Outsourcing helps Construction Companies & Building Contractors to Thrive in Global Market

CAD Conversion is the New Exploration for Oil and Gas Sector Equipment Designs



Baker Hughes Inc. on 3rd June 2016 reported an increment in oil rig count by 4 for the first time since August 2015; then again a rise of 9 on 8th July. The latest number for the operational rig count in the USA by the oil and gas exploration giant is at 624 as on 19th December 2016 seeing an increase of 27 in the past four weeks. One of the reasons this giant is able to expand and invest is due to the fact that design engineers have been able to enhance the existing designs to generate better returns. The problem today is, that the engineers prefer to use digitized designs, while the equipment used in oil and gas exploration have been designed even before the concept of digital designs was prevalent. As a result, most of them have outlived their paper based drawings and/or are existent in degraded paper form. 3D CAD conversion of these 2D paper drawings is the most efficient way out.

Converting the oil and gas industry legacy of paper documents to digital CAD documents


Oil and gas industry has cutting edge maintenance of following the legacy of paper documents alongside adapting the upcoming technology for enhanced exploration. Perhaps the reason to this is O&G industry has survived a time span of incredible technological advances keeping its principles intact, and embraced the innovations with upgradations.

Today is the case of young engineers, who have developed a close association with CAD software and relies heavily on virtual design tools for every major decision. Their mindset has changed and come to accept the fact that, ‘Those paper based documents are only too good to be stored. Making money through them is impossible today.’

Making money, and as cited above, deploying increasing number of operational rigs every month comes from innovations and design changes in small parts, as small as a drill bit or wellhead. CAD conversion of existing drawings essentially converts these drawings into editable CAD field and allows easy and accurate design amendments as per the optimization needed. Sean Gillis, product development manager at Drilformance comments that, “Drilling success begins at the bit. We seek to consistently deliver best in class penetrations.” This delivering best in class comes from what we call design amendments.

For example, to achieve high penetration rates, the PDC cutter angle profile has to be relatively aggressive, which traditionally was considered to be inapt for build sections as stability was of prime importance. Although, today with 3D CAD conversion, followed by simulations, optimization and automated manufacturing, delivers an understanding to the entire design and manufacturing team. It allows achieving outputs for every proposed design parameters, by changing the designs efficiently within short time.

By adopting CAD conversions and hence 3D solid modeling for the designs, engineers are empowered to have better design communication, management, automation through drawing tools and macros, simulations, and finally improved production efficiency. Rigorous kinematic and dynamic performance motion of the components, such as drill bits or spindle can be studied accurately, minimizing the need of prototyping tests. It manages the data and design documents needed for entire product lifecycle management.

Conclusion


Oil and gas is by far the richest industry giving high returns, but the risks involved in terms of health, safety and environment (HSE) are high. Thus, design engineers pay a significant importance to innovative designs for finding and taking efficiencies of design and material, cost consciousness to make their systems compete in marketplace and above all safety, durability and reliability on top to minimize business and environment risks. 3D CAD conversion for paper drawings can easily cater to all these needs and delivers a cost effective solution in today’s ever-evolving and increasingly multifaceted global energy industry.

Building Construction Projects May Fail in 2016



The first quarter of year 2016 is about to get over, and people in the building industry are already worried. Many of them have sensed that their building projects might go unexpectedly wrong, causing further delays, costly revisions, or may get into unwarranted legal issues. Let’s understand and accept the fact that building contractors, architects and other across the AEC fraternity are late, timelines are not met and people are spending time arguing why things should be different.

Similarities, differences, beliefs and attitudes towards BIM have started surfacing, big time. What has surfaced is a very complex picture, with several stages of BIM development in various countries. The effects and impact of governmental policies such as the BIM mandate in UK are emerging and are hard to be overlooked at.

Architectural design firms are collaborating with both their partners and experts across UK, USA, Europe, Australia and Middle-East, and have started facing methodological challenges. Apart from the difference in language (associated challenges of reliability and grace in wording); there are national differences in understanding what BIM is? These differences are deep rooted with various construction practices and regulatory frameworks.

Read more at: Building Construction Projects May Fail in 2016

Adopting Green Building Practices Beneficial to Hospitality industry of GCC Countries in this time of Recession & Economic Uncertainty

Over the past two years, a combination of factors ranging from a highly volatile crude market, to a tense geopolitical situation, has led to a general slowdown in the economy in the GCC countries. This slowdown has had its repercussions on many industries, among them, hospitality. According to Smith Travel Research - a leading market research agency in the industry, “the market penetration index has gone south from +11.1 percent in 2014 to -7.8 percent in the year ended 2015 and the revenue growth index, a key benchmark to assess the health of the business, has moved from +6.3 percent in 2014 to -8 percent in 2015.

Against this scenario of a substantially reduced demand and over-supply, is the projected addition of about 18,000 hotel rooms in Riyadh & Jeddah alone – over 50 percent of them 5 star developments, as a part of the expansion plans for major international hotel chains. One might wonder how this bodes for the industry in the times ahead. The industry is optimistic for 2016 and the years ahead, basing their optimism on the fact that a low debt, coupled with substantial foreign reserves, and a diverse investment scenario is going to help the economy bounce back, stronger than before.

Outsource 2D CAD Services for Technical Excellence & Cost Effectiveness



The AEC industry has witnessed several ups and downs in the last decade, more or less reciprocating to the rise and fall of oil prices and factors alike. This resulted in adherence to cost cutting measures where large architectural design firms moved into small offices. This also compelled them to lay off some of the key resources that they do not need all the time. 

However; managing building construction projects without them would and could harm the success of the project. The most prominent was collaborating or sharing various parts of the construction project with other stakeholders in the same capacity, which their reduced manpower resources were not able to accomplish.

Outsourcing these roles and responsibilities, proved really helpful to these businesses in keeping their projects going and businesses afloat. The list of resources that were outsourced remarkably includes CAD drafters, BIM 3D modelers, structural designers and engineers, CAD and BIM specialists, MEP CAD professionals, mechanical as well as electrical engineers and many more. 

Architectural drafters top the list of outsourced services in the last decade and the AEC firms have been successful in achieving cost efficiency, and managing the work even after letting go folks who were employed full time but weren’t needed. If you are one of the firms who has let go such folks and do not have a drafting department, outsourcing can help you big time.

Do your Math right

Contracts hourly rates cost you a fortune if compared to employee hourly rates, then how is it beneficial? The reason how they prove to be cost effective is that there are no additional overheads associated to these contracts in terms of vacation pay, Tax pay, Bonuses, and so on and so forth when you employ a design consultant. 

It’s quite straightforward that you only pay for what you avail. Also you have the option to not to call them back if you aren’t satisfied with the service; you spare the formalities & might as well move on to someone better. The second best part is saving the headache and overheads of infrastructure and effective CADD stations with GIS capabilities which can cost you up to around $15000. But if your drafter is not occupied for 8 hours a day for 5 days a week; how will you reach the breakeven? 

Quality over Everything 

Especially with concurrent market dynamics when work is scarce and competition is cut throat, spending adequate and quality time in growing and nurturing the business becomes more than necessary. Architects, Engineers and construction professionals, may be are the best on site, but may fail miserably when it comes to data analysis and report writing. 

Irrespective of the fact that their employees are technically sound, their methods are latest, but if the drawings don’t look technically correct and brilliant, they fail. Humans have a tendency to look and interpret “pictures” instead of reading texts, and this is what should be considered for putting in extra efforts to emphasize the quality of drawings with help of professionals at cost effective rates.

Ever heard of a design firm delivering two sets of drawings, on for the client’s brainy set of people and another for the management who do not understand technicalities, but just the progress of the project and cost involved. No - never, would someone do this. Best 2D Drafters are the ones who prepare drawings that can be understood by anyone who looks at it. These are the drafters, outsourcing CADD services providers have onboard, and you had to let off them due to cost implications.

Chose trained over training

As mentioned earlier, due to increased competition and less work, delivering projects in time - every time becomes one of the important aspect. You think upon taking up 2D CAD drawing projects for 2D representations of interior planning and demarcations, floor plans, presentation drawings, building elevation drawings, furniture detailing and many more can leave architectural firms with time to train their in-house drafters? It is practically impossible. However; outsourcing 2D architectural CAD services support designs of all types of buildings including Commercial, government, industrial facilities, Institutional and residential.

They are already trained and can transform conceptual architecture design sketches to detailed 2D CAD drawings enabling architects, contractors and construction firms in making informed decisions for improved productivity of building development projects.

Conclusion

While architectural firms focus on client requirements, their outsourcing 2D CAD partners concentrate on location drawings and general arrangement drawings, assembly drawings, building elements and details, component drawings, projections, working drawings & a lot more. Outsourcing services have proven their worth as an ongoing and effective way to save money and still provide clients with technical excellence. This is the time, Join the bandwagon o reap timely benefits.

Are You Choosing the Right 3D Printing Technology for Your Product?


The fiercely competitive market requires manufacturers to keep their products innovative, and as such, it is critical to choose the right prototyping process during the product development cycle. Unlike traditional prototyping techniques like injection molding or CNC machining, there is a tremendous growth in the usage of 3D printing or rapid prototyping technologies. This technique makes use of 3D CAD models to develop a product by printing the material layer by later. One of the significant benefits of 3D printing is its capability to develop complex parts, which is impossible with the traditional techniques.

The advancement in this technology has enabled multiple 3D printing processes to develop prototypes, and it is often difficult for the design engineer or the manufacturer to choose the right one. Let’s take a look at the benefits and limitations of each of these technologies, so that you can select the right one for your prototyping requirement.

1. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

The FDM technique involves melting and solidifying of thermoplastics resins like ABS or polycarbonate, layer by layer to develop a finished part. The prototype developed using this technique, is stronger as compared to other rapid prototyping techniques; however the surface finish quality is not good.

Key Parameters:
Price: Moderate
Strength: Low
Surface Finish: Rough
Functional Testing: Limited


2. Stereolithography (SL)

This technique makes use of a laser which is projected on a pool of liquid resin to form the part. With each layer completion, the part is lowered in the pool to solidify the next liquid layer through the laser. Parts developed using Stereolithography possess good surface finish but are relatively lower in strength as compared to other 3D printing techniques.

Key Parameters:
Price: Moderate
Strength: Low
Surface Finish: Excellent

Functional Testing: Limited

3. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS involves the similar process to that of Stereolithography. The only difference is that SLS makes use of a CO2 laser to fuse metal powder and form the solid part. The major advantage of this technique is that the parts produced have better strength, and as such it is mostly used to develop functional prototypes as well as for actual production. Although the surface finish is bit rough, finishing process can assist in creating a good surface quality, high strength prototypes.

Key Parameters:

Price: Moderate
Strength: Moderate
Surface Finish: Moderate
Functional Testing: Limited


4. PolyJet

This method makes use of a print head to spray photopolymer resin layers, which are cured according to the part shape using UV light. With PolyJet, the layers printed are very thin; hence the resolution is excellent as compared to other methods.

Key Parameters:
Price: Moderate
Strength: Low
Surface Finish: Good
Functional Testing: Not Fit for Testing


5. Digital Light Processing (DLP)

In this technique, a solid part is digitally sliced into layers which are then projected on the liquid photopolymer surface. The UV light solidifies each later of the liquid polymer and process is repeated in small increments with each layer image. Once the layers are hardened, rest of the liquid polymer is drained. This technique is more suitable to develop small parts that do not require good surface finish quality.

Key Parameters:
Price: High
Strength: Moderate
Surface Finish: Moderate
Functional Testing: Limited


6. Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)

DMLS is useful to develop metal prototypes and is similar in process to that of the SLS. This technique provides near identical material properties to that of the part developed using CNC machining, since the same metal powder is used to print the part. Thus, the prototype can be used for further operations like shaping, milling, drilling or reaming. Also, surface finishing processes like anodizing, electro-polishing or powder coating is compatible with DMLS parts.
 
Key Parameters:
Price: High
Strength: High
Surface Finish: Moderate
Functional Testing: Limited


Interested in developing a prototype for your product using rapid prototyping? Contact us with your project details at info@hitechcaddservices.com. We deliver services like 3D modeling, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping to product manufacturers globally.

Aligning IPD Approach with BIM for Efficient Construction Projects


It is expected that by year 2040, with an increase of 32% as compared to year 2012, commercial buildings will occupy more than 109 billion square feet of floor space. This includes commercial spaces like schools, hospital, churches, warehouses, offices etc. This rapidly increasing commercial construction projects are putting human life on the planet in harm’s way. Having said this, we cannot even imagine the amount of waste it will generate, the delays that will cost double than planned and above all, it will hit hard on suitability. You will need an approach that sets the terms right along with integration of BIM for commercial building construction.
Setting the goals straight apart, unlike any other project efforts, Integrated Project delivery (IPD) creates a unique bond from the very first day of planning stages, binding all major project stakeholders including architects, owners, managers, engineers, contractors and subcontractors. Professional associations like AIA and AGC have stepped up to create standards and guidelines to be used in the Integrated Project Delivery process. 
So let’s understand what exactly should be expected from IPD.
  • Stakeholders come together to evaluate multiple solutions that can enhance the quality of the product. This will simplify the process thereby minimizing the errors and re-designing problems.
  • All evaluations from stage one must be incorporated in the design process. Sustainability goals are clearly defined with incorporating code regulations in design phase itself. If you plan your project meticulously with the Integrated Project Delivery it will help in cutting down the waste and help save on budget.
  • Prospects to use accelerated and lean construction methods on an end-to-end as well as on a per-phase basis (thus increasing overall cost and time savings). Parallel construction project scheduling is quite a chance compared to traditional project delivery.
In IPD; BIM is the essential platform for enabling 3D model integration and exchanging information among team members. In the IPD model BIM technologies sit above an intranet which serves as the project’s base IT infrastructure. It is then digital modelling which drives innovation in the project. To this end the IPD documents crafted by the AIACC mandate and promote the full scale implementation of digital technologies. 
For example, contract E 202 2008, the BIM Protocol Exhibit, explicitly encompasses a range of acceptable uses for BIM including: model ownership, model responsibilities and authorized uses including cost estimating, construction scheduling, documents, shop drawings and project adaptations.
Benefits of Integrated Project Delivery - IPD:
  • Planned and predicted outcomes, risks and gains with help of open collaboration
  • Planning of all relevant aspects of the construction process known as representation
  • Assessment of construction results with help of detailed analysis
  • Overall collaboration resulting in higher standards
  • Rapid detection and resolution to fabrication procedure issues
  • Precise Contract documentation for all stakeholders to avoid construction process pitfalls
  • Overall collaboration resulting in better and more precise job estimates
  • Diminished errors, omissions and disputes pacing up the construction process, resulting in cost efficiency
Model tenure is recognized in early stage workshops and is critical to the success of the project. Level of detailing- from LOD 100 to LOD 500, holds quite an importance depending on members capacity to detail it. The members with precise and strongest BIM capabilities are often the ‘Model Owner’ irrespective of their role in team or firm. Determining time and cost, schedule sequencing and cost estimating is linked to the 3D model and constantly updated to mirror the assessed cost of the planned design.
It will be fair to say that IPD can be looked upon as a procurement model with all parties equally responsible for any risk that falls upon. Risks are further coped up using contracts that mandate the BIM usage among all involved.

Structural 3D Modeling; Lifeline for Construction Projects

 
The structural engineer deduces the architectural design to understand the structural project; & make a particular analytical model which establishes a structural representation that fits into the total design. 
Structural 3D modeling is an integral part of building design and hence; it becomes extremely necessary to develop a high quality structural design, as the building performance heavily relies on the internal structure. 
With the shift from CAD to BIM, it’s important for structural engineers to make this transition not just for huge projects with multiple complexities, but for day to day basis as well. 3D modeling generates wider scope of transparency and minimizes the risk.
Why structural 3D modeling is important?
BIM is one of the significant factors apart from integrated project delivery and sustainability in any construction undertaken today. It aids in obtaining all-inclusive information pertaining to building designs such as architectural design, and also coordinates structural and MEP elements, position of fittings prior to construction.  
GA – general assembly drawings: It’s quite evident that 3D model generates interactive views and section in no time. Though if you are an adamant traditional follower you would very well say 2D GA drawings are just the same, but I would argue that 3D gives more refined views and clarity to the construction stakeholders in various discipline (e.g.  Foundations, steel structure, precast concrete, cladding,) and can be grouped in layers or separate views.
Structural 3D and Structural steel shop drawing are too important to leave a window for error. Structural steel shop drawings include wide-ranging data related to prefabricated elements and is developed by detailers, contractors, fabricators and even sub-contractors. So shop drawings will provide the stakeholders with detailed information of the concerned object including shape and size of all the elements, followed with dimension to every individual element, fabrication process of parts and elements, and most importantly how all the elements will be placed together, etc.
Structural shop drawings also offers detailed sequential description of construction phase such as floor plans, elevations, ceiling planes etc. If you are renovating any commercial or residential building you may need construction drawings. Having said that; 2D construction drawings obtained from 3D models help in such projects by giving an estimate of building plan. 

Not only that, you can get parts, DXF drawings and complex wooden structures form 3D models as well. BIM assists the structural engineers in generating top notch structural 3D models for building project that can later be linked to MEP model for creating final coordinated model.
BIM level 2 mandate has made several organizations establish a specific BIM framework and how can it be implemented. Usually structural engineers contribute to a part of 'the BIM' in accordance with other disciplines, who will also contribute their part. 
In the structural engineer's area, this data, which includes the model, or BIM, will usually be in the form of: 
(a)  Geometrical structural models, probably in form of an integrated part of a bigger building model
(b)  Finite Element models based on calculations and analytics
(c)  Documentation backed up with several other specifications 
No wonder if 3D modeling becomes a compulsion for structural engineers, working on any micro or macro project in near future.

Waterproofing Failures - Architects, Engineers or Contractors, who is responsible?


UAE witnessed significant infrastructural damages, after a storm ripped through the country in early march. The GEMS American Academy School in Abu Dhabi lost its facades, while Danube metro station was flooded due to this storm. The capital emirate was prompt enough to announce the formulation of new regulations for infrastructures projects, to allow greater resilience against harsh weather conditions.

However; the storm and the damages, raised quite a lot of questions on infrastructure waterproofing. Locals are of the opinion that Dubai Municipal Corporation should hire experienced and expert BIM consultants, who can further explain Land Surveyors, Architectural Design Firms, MEP Contractors, General Contractors, Sub-Contractors, about the standards and material required to meet sustainable waterproofing.

We all know that natural conditions including thermal, climate, wind, water and many more have their impact on a building’s life cycle. All these make it more mandatory for water proofing solutions to be sturdy yet elastic, weatherproof and most importantly resilient to natural, industrial and polluted atmosphere. Waterproofing is expected to be strong as long as building stands. But once waterproofing is damaged, the impact in form of cost and damaged it has on the facility, is unexplainable. The cost of mending it again is twice the cost of waterproofing.

Causes for the failure of waterproofing and who is responsible?

Errors in architectural designs: In any of the building construction or infrastructure projects, the 2D drawing or 2D draft is the one that you may find with too many lines, making unusual intersections or let’s say elaborate detailing. The trend has been that designers are charged guilty, for leaving these important junctions to the will of a contractor.

Read more at:  Waterproofing Failures - Architects, Engineers or Contractors, who is responsible?