AISD, Qld - Home
Submit an Article

BDS & PDC Buyout

DBM Global Inc. acquires Australian companies

ASI Awards

Great success celebrated in the Steel Industry

AISD Nationalisation

The move to operate as a national body

In This Issue

Chairman's Message AISD
AISD Membership Renewal
WHAT THE.......... Wilshire Grand Center
How Innovative is your business?
AISD QLD - Steel Detailers Dinner & Annual General Meeting
AISD Nationalisation - State management bodies to merge
Information Content Management
Experienced professionals - Join our global team
Brisbane’s Tower of Power – 1 William Street Brisbane
Doing Business with Downer
Collaborate - ANZ
Steelcad workshop visit – Brisbane, Oct 2016
ASI Steel Awards for 2016 – AISD IPD Award
Subcontractors speak out on Productivity
AISD - 3D modelling and the design consultant
Variations to Building Works 
Design through to Manufacture in the 21st Century 
BIM and the lack of standards
US based DBM Global Inc. acquires PDC Detailing and BIM Management and BDS VirCon
Cheap Tricks
What Can Be Done to Revive Australia’s Steel Industry?
Joke Corner


Chairman's Message AISD
Chris Velovski, AISD (NSW) President

Industry Summary: (Where has the time gone???)
It is hard to believe that half of this year is already gone, December is coming upon us very fast and we’re all starting to prepare ourselves for the Christmas rush. September saw our industry’s pinnacle event “ASI Steel Convention – Innovation in Steel” where all industry leaders meet and network. The same event also hosted the AISD National Steering Committee meeting and gathering of the Steel Detailers representatives to guide the future of our industry.

Where is the Market heading?

As the president of the AISD (NSW) and the Chairperson of the AISD National group, I tend to travel a lot and make contact with many different companies in a range of sectors including EPCM, EPC, Constructors, Builders, Fabricators, Engineering, Architects and also many other detailing staff be it Directors, employees and the like. The feeling I am getting from everyone lately is a sign of positivity and hope, which is in stark contrast to how negative people in the industry felt 12-24 months ago.

One of the main drivers in NSW is the enormous push with the infrastructure works in our capitol city, Sydney. I am also hearing of similar activity in Western Australia and Queensland with the potential of MINING projects and GAS projects still being pursued.

Responsibility and Delivery going forward:
Over the last 12-18 months, I have noticed an increased level of enquiry for detailing firms to supply our services with a greater emphasis on integration and coordination with the design consultants and the other stakeholders in order to reduce project timelines and to better coordinate our deliverables.

I have also seen the push on the type of deliverables being offered by the vendors; in their presentations where they are trying to target the Contractors/Fabricators/ EPC/EPCM and by assuring to them the collaborative approach for these activities, and that their software can offer these capabilities in the supply chain. However, what is actually happening is that these demands and requests are getting pushed towards the detailing houses and in some cases I believe that these services are given away by detailers without the understanding of their value. These services are far more demanding to the detailer and the responsibility is greater with higher exposure to commercial RISK.

When Detailers are being relied upon to deliver a higher level of services this can only be a good thing, however, when these services are provided without the correct recognition of value this can be disheartening. I can further advise that all detailers should be aware of the deliverables being sought and if they (you) are in any doubt about these services they should speak to their colleagues at the AISD and see what is occurring in your industry. There are several member companies already operating successfully in this market and delivering these services.

A majority of the Tier-1 detailing companies are already supporting these services. It is not about lowering your standard of deliverable or sacrificing your IP (Intellectual Property). YES, it is your IP and it does belong to you. Let’s be mindful that your information in your model is the most accurate and therefore, most likely to be more meaningful than the structural content delivered by the design consultant in 3D digital format.

My suggestion is for detailers to seek collaboration, on a greater scale, where the Engineering Design Houses and the Detail Design Houses can form alliances to support these services so long as they a willing to choose to co-exist without dismantling our industry in Australia. The level of information being supplied by the engineering team, in most cases, is no different than before but this time it is being delivered in 3D digital format. Unfortunately, they have not eliminated any delays, RFI’s or any clash detection. This is why, we get asked for our models in a format that BIM/IPD managers are able to coordinate with the other designer consultants. In some cases the detailer is also acting as the BIM/IPD manager. But in saying this, and in the consultant’s defence, I don’t believe they need to do this nor should they. They are engineers and what they should be doing is the engineering and NOT design drafting; these tasks should be left to our technically advanced industry, which is why I suggested “ALLIANCES”.

On a happier note, the industry, at present, seems very positive. So lets’ grab these opportunities make a move forward and approach your local engineering firms to get more involved with them.

There is a new industry discussion group being formed in Sydney called SYDBIM. I think it’s very interesting and anyone who is working in these fields should attend, especially if you live in Sydney. If there a similar organisation in your state, I recommend you get involved.

ASI Steel Convention & AISD Steering Committee:

This year’s convention has been a cracker and I can personally say it has been great meeting new people, catching up with old industry friends and networking with like-minded individuals is very refreshing.

The Convention was all about “Innovation in Steel” and I can say that Detailers and other Design houses in the industry are focusing on delivering the technology to create innovation. The idea of overseas labour was not even spoken about but was not the focus as it is well understood that Australia is a very innovative place and has much to offer. They had great speakers from industry including

* Andrew Harris from Laing O’Rourke

* Pat Tallon from CIVMEC

* Warwick Johnston from Brookfield Multiplex and

* Dr. Richard Denniss - Chief Economist from The Australia Institute

Dr. Denniss put on a great presentation talking about “Manufacturing (Still) Matters”… and really focused on the entire manufacturing chain, that we are “Not Expensive” in Australia. He went on to speak about how Germany, Sweden and other high taxing countries are still able to manufacture while we in Australia are giving this up…

Gala dinner and National Steel Excellence awards held at the Australian Steel Convention.

Until next time be safe and see you all at the 2017 Steel Detailers gathering yet to be announced by the ASI.

Chris Velovski
Chairman – AISD
Managing Director
EDC Consultants Pty Limited

AISD Membership Renewal

Membership renewal notices were distributed at the end of September. If you haven’t received your renewal notice by now please email the Secretary (AISD QLD).

I know we say it every year but it is critical to our existence that our membership base remains solid so please take the time to renew your membership.

If you have a colleague or friend in our industry who is not yet a member, the AISD website has all the application details and associated forms for those looking for more information.

The management committee wishes to thank you in advance for supporting the institute that supports you, as we strive for even greater success in this coming year.

WHAT THE.......... Wilshire Grand Center
By Brad Backer, BDS Vircon

Back in our October 2014 newsletter there was an article about the Wilshire Grand Center located in downtown Los Angeles that was being detailed by BDS VirCon one of our long standing members. From a recent update provided we can report that this project is nearing completion with the erection of the spire in September 2016 which has now taken the total height of this iconic project to 335meter/1100ft. The placement of the spire is the latest major milestone in this $1 billion project and this now makes the building the tallest on the West Coast of the US.

Below are just a few pics to acknowledge this major milestone. While there is a ladder system inside the spire for workers to gain access to the top and when up there they are securely harnessed this sort of job is certainly not for the faint hearted!


How Innovative is your business?
By Martin Loosemore

It’s the easiest thing to claim you are an innovative company – most companies do so without compunction, knowing that employees and clients are increasingly demanding innovation these days.

However, most companies lack any meaningful evidence to back up their claims, and most stakeholders do not have the knowledge or tools to determine whether their claims are genuine or not.

The measurement of innovation output and success is a controversial topic. While on the one hand, innovators need to be accountable for their actions like everyone else, on the other hand there is also evidence that the act of measuring innovation can stifle risk taking and promote the type of short-term thinking which is its antithesis. The standing joke among those who oppose measurement is that ROI (return on investment) really stands for ‘restraint on innovation’ because the impact of an innovation might take many years to materialize.

There is a major question about how one measures the ROI today from an idea which might produce results in 10 years’ time. Consider for example, the many decades of minute incremental developments in technologies which eventually led to the development of BIM or 3D printing. To have not invested in these technologies because their value could not be measured at the time would have ensured that their huge potential value could never be realized by those who use them in the future or invested in them at the start.

Some detailing firms have been very good at not investing in technology because it did not produce immediate returns, only to see their competitors reap the huge returns of being a first mover when the market for the idea matured.

It has also become popular for some companies to use productivity growth as a proxy of innovative activity. However, increases in productivity are by no means certain from an innovation or indeed easy to measure or attribute to a specific innovation if they do occur.
Since much of the data used by firms in the construction industry to measure innovation activity is unreliable, the proclamations of many firms which claim they are innovators should be treated with a healthy degree of scepticism.

Innovations in the steel construction sector are often ‘hidden’ from the view of clients, potential employees and investors, meaning that the sector often looks less innovative than it really is. If we are going to start promoting our companies and our industry as an innovative sector, then we had better start figuring out how to better measure, report and promote the amazing work we do.

AISD Queensland - Steel Detailers Dinner and Annual General Meeting

To be held at the Diana Plaza Hotel on Wednesday, 23rd November 2016

Once again it is that time of the year. All members are cordially invited to attend our industry’s most important meeting of the year, and financial members are encouraged to make use of the opportunity to play their part in guiding the AISD (Qld) Inc.’s future.

While the current committee continues to operate successfully we would certainly welcome any member who would like to become a committee person and urge them to nominate for a position on the management committee.

Even if you are not wanting to be actively involved on the committee we also encourage members to just come along and share in discussions with fellow detailers on where the future of our industry is heading, how issues may affect us or our colleagues and take stock on the events of the last twelve months.

An agenda and speakers program will be distributed by email flyer closer to the day.

The Diana Plaza Hotel is conveniently located in Woolloongabba, within the vibrant Southbank precinct, directly opposite the Mater Children’s Hospital and just a short stroll to the Brisbane Convention Centre, South Bank Parklands and the legendary “Gabba” Cricket Ground.

The dinner is free to all members and includes pre-dinner drinks and hot savouries.
As this is a catered event we need to confirm numbers by the16th November 2016 so please RSVP when the event flyer lands in your email inbox.

AISD Nationalisation - State management bodies to merge

One of the agenda items at this year’s AISD National Steering Committee meeting was the Nationalisation of the stated based management bodies.

It was two years earlier, at the National Steering Committee meeting on the Gold Coast in September of 2014 where the issue of the sustainability of the state-based management structure was first raised and discussed as a weakness of the only representative body for steel detailers in Australia.

Since then, there have been numerous meetings and discussions about the causes and effects for this weakness and how best to proceed in order to maintain the momentum that the organisation has built up since its establishment ten years ago.

In its current form, the AISD exists only as state-based groups with each state having its own management committee and constitution etc. It was clear that many of these management committees had reached, or in fact stretched, the limit of their voluntary commitment and were struggling for succession. It was also apparent that many of the members had disengaged from the organisation and lost touch with the original passion for industry motivation and support. In short, they had run their race and were out of puff. The time had come for them to review how their energy and passion for the future representation of this industry is best spent.

AISD state leaders had to take decisive action and change the way we operate. The various state management committees discussed this task at length and their representatives met in Melbourne in September to determine the direction for the AISD.

National Steering committee: Clayton Roxborough (QLD), Chris Velovski (NSW), John Papazis (SA) & James Galdes (Vic).  Absent - Sean Reilly (WA)
The steering committee discussed many suggestions on how to best move forward with this process and worked together to determine a pathway to achieve a workable and sustainable solution to this issue and the best possible solution for our industry.
The agreed plan is that during the course of this year, each state group will undertake to wind-up their committees and merge their membership and resources into a central, National committee.
The nationalisation process will deliver the following outcomes;

  • A solid foundation on which to build future industry representation
  • Seamless transition of the management structure from state-based to national
  • Continuity of membership to the AISD
  • A stronger, more united organisation
  • Ongoing independence for states to conduct meetings and events
  • A broader mix of member representation at management level

More information and detail will come to members from their state committee and any questions or concerns you might have regarding the impact of these changes should be addressed to your state secretary.
Cheers for now,

Information Content Management
The Challenge of Information Chaos

Author: Mark Kelly.

This is a very brief essay on Information and Content Management as an introduction and validation to a very legitimate topic.

The game has changed;
Information is now the world’s new currency.
We are entering the era of the Digital Industrial Economy.

It is becoming clear that managing information assets is as important as managing physical, human and financial assets.
Content and information is coming at us at breakneck speed in an ever changing array of formats.
Many are losing control;

Newsflash:-  Information Chaos reigns supreme and it will get worse.

Strong Statements, but these are the views of a new industry that has evolved over the past 15 years because of this trend, providing solutions and advice on how to manage this new found dilemma.
Big Business has started to take notice of this, for efficiency gains and because strict Information Governance requirements is necessary for QA certification compliance and increasingly a requirement at Government levels.

Information Management Associations, Specialists and Consultants.:

Information management (IM) concerns a cycle of organisational activity: the acquisition ofinformation from one or more sources, the custodianship and the distribution of that information to those who need it, and its ultimate disposition through archiving or deletion.

The trend of IM solutionists and vendors is to target Large Business, Government, Banks, Utilities and the like with Million $ Budgets.
The SME businesses are still being neglected.

The Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry would have to be one of the most information intense industries having a constant process flow to receive, create, distribute and sharing of information and data.
AEC Projects today from Design to Commissioning, and now on to Life Cycle Management, are totally driven by, and could not continue without the transfer of digital information.
As Detail Drafting Businesses, we are all very much affected by, must participate compliantly with and embrace all new IT trends in our industry that are adding to our experience and perception of Information Chaos.

Information Content Management is about ALL CONTENT.-----Documents, Files and Data.

A Detailers business is not just about being involved in the preparation and delivery of Detail Drawings.
We deal with many times this volume in other document and files types;
We Author, Create, Distribute and Receive a plethora documents like RFI’s, Reports, Quotes, Contracts, Invoices, Photos, CNC Files, Insurance Documents et, and above all E-Mails.
To illustrate this, check the file count on a project where all files are under a root folder.

What does this really mean?
Information Management should be a cornerstone of any AEC organization, along with operations management, customer management and resource management.

Managing and recording what the organization knows, what has been said, what inputs are received, what decisions and commitments have been made, and what results are achieved, is paramount to improvement and success.

Failure to manage this information, and make it available for sharing, search, controlled access, defined process, audit and secure archive limits operational capability, stunts new initiatives and exposes the business to potential liabilities.

Liability is a very hot topic in the evolving new era of the AEC Industry where the potential for litigation is becoming more common and threatening.
Businesses must be in control and keep adequate records for the correct time periods to ensure compliance breaches.

From participation in many AEC projects, with our firsthand experience and observation, it is clear that in most cases for the small to medium size operators the “Cornerstone” is still missing or barely under construction.

One of the problems in taking control is that most of us have little or no idea of how to do it, and unfortunately just won’t happen by itself.

So what should we do? We are not Information Management Consultants, and don’t want to be. Well, here is a checklist of items that may at least point you in the right direction.

  1. Recognise that this is an issue that needs attention.
  2. Make a commitment to understand the consequences either way.
  3. Do some study, there is a lot of information out there.
    (Google AIIM for publications and membership)
  4. Be prepared to implement change.
  5. Create an Information Governance Policy.
  6. Look at Content Management Software with database deployment.
  7. Stay on it, always look to improve.

Recommended reading - AIIM publications: (American Institute of Information Management.)

Information Management – State of the Industry 2016.
Information Chaos V Information Opportunity – THE information challenge for the next decade.

EXPERIENCED professionals
Find your next move in our global team

EQ-House is the world's only dedicated E-House Design & Construction consulting business and we are always in search of professionals and qualified drafting candidates to fulfil short and long term placements with our Clients.  We permanently look for these talents in both the Switchroom and Modular industries.

We are always in search of highly motivated people who are interested in working in an environment which favours independence and helps promote new Vendors becoming capable and good Vendors become great.

If you have CAD and Revit design experience in Equipment Houses, Mining, Oil&Gas and Utility environments, we want to hear from you.

Visit us at:

Brisbane’s Tower of Power – 1 William Street Brisbane

In July 2015 Steelcad Drafting began modelling steelwork for No.1 William Street Project. Anyone travelling up and down the riverside expressway over the past year would have seen the building rising out of the ground.

1 William Street is now a completed skyscraper in Brisbane, and is the tallest in the city at 267 metres. The modern style office building is located in the Brisbane central business district in close proximity to Parliament House. The building was developed for the Queensland Government as part of the government's plan for a renewed Government Administrative Precinct and to meet its accommodation demands.

Construction cost of the tower is expected to be $538 million, with a total development cost of over $650 million. It is to be completed in late 2016.

The project had many challenges to face for the Detailing team and weekly meetings were par for the course in being part of a solution to resolve design issues.

Primary Structural Steel Fabricator and Construction Contractors: Hosken Site Steel Pty Ltd.

Integrated Construction Modellers and Steel Detailers: Steelcad Drafting Pty Ltd.

Steel Erection Subcontractors: Mulherin Cranes and Rigging Pty.

Steelcad’s scope was the Crown (Primarily the 6 levels of sloping roof structure) and the spire. The Crown is about 690 tonnes of structural steel and the spire which is 90 meters from top to tail is about 75 tonnes.

Steelcad were contracted to Hosken Site Steel and embedded with the Design Consultants on an ‘Early Engagement’ basis. This was primarily due to the status of the design at the time of their

engagement and that Steelcad are experts in this complex workspace. Steelcad became an integral member of the design team and assisted significantly in the design development and completion of all areas of the steel structure.

Pre-assembled modules accelerated erection times.

Steelcad also added their experience and value in terms of Project Engineering support, offering their services to complex lifts studies, temporary works design, numerous As-Constructed Survey Interfaces and virtual construability simulations. Steelcad's engineering support during the construction phase was a fundamental factor in progressing the day to day site works with confidence.

Secondary roof framing lifting arms, kept the frames at 46.1 degrees so they dropped into the support connections easily.

The Structural Steel for the Crown Roof and Spire was actually constructed twice. The 1st time was in the virtual sense, with the Integrated Construction Model facilitating the virtual construction simulations and the 2nd time in reality on site.

Steelcad were also involved in working closely with the riggers – Mulherin Rigging, and were part of many of the lifting solutions for the steelwork for the crown and spire.

The “Shark Cage” being fitted to one of the spire stubs. The riggers stood in this cage off the side of the building and enabled them to tension up the 30-M36 HD bolts and the 30-M36 bolts to spire;

The spire was surveyed 8 times in order to pick up fabrication discrepancy and also capture any building construction discrepancy. These surveys were conducted as steelwork was erected and then the results compared back to Steelcad’s ICM to determine any changes required in fabrication to ensure fit up of following sections of steelwork.

This process became invaluable as any misalignment would have meant abortion of a lift which would have been a time consuming and costly exercise. No erection sequences of the spire were aborted at, all as a result of the surveying, meetings with the rigger and fabricator and modifications made to steelwork to suit as built information.

Steelcad team leader, Aaron Raaymaakers.

Through out the project, the team from Steelcad worked closely with Karle Vogt of Steel Link, Steelwork project manager for the job. Over the duration of the project, Karle kept a running diary of the fabrication and erection and there are plenty of pictures to be seen on this link, as well as a summary of the work involved on the side bar:


Doing Business with Downer

More than 500 businesses took advantage of a series of town hall style meetings across Victoria, hosted by Downer EDI, a company that provides engineering and infrastructure management services to the public and private transport, energy, infrastructure, communications and resources sectors. The aim of the meetings was to increase engagement with a broader range of businesses. One Victorian small business which has picked up Downer contracts over the years is Unique Rail, whose Managing Director, Fabian Borgonha spoke at the one of events. He underlined the importance to SMEs of developing a strong relationship with the Primes to support growth.

Collaborate - ANZ

For anyone seeking information about the AEC industry and BIM, take a look at the Collaborate group -
They have a number of interesting documents worth reading if you have the time. One in particular I have read and found interesting is the BIM Legal and Procurement - CWG004 document.
For anyone working in the D and C space, there is a lot of information within this document that gives well thought out descriptions of the various contract methods and the pros and cons.

Tendering D&C projects at notional design percentages like 30% or 50% adds complications to projects (particularly for the MEP designers) because the point at which a project is tendered impacts on the ability of the designers to produce a useful BIM, and the impact increases as the percentage decreases.

The D&C Contractor who is now charged with completing the design is faced with two options. Option one is to bring on a sub-contractor to complete the BIM or extend the designer’s engagement to develop the BIM to a higher level of resolution, say 70-80%, before bringing in the specialist sub-contractors.

Option two can then create a further problem where the sub-contractor reproduces the BIM (i.e. starts from scratch) rather than relying upon the designer’s work. The most obvious example is in the services trades and trades that produce fabrication drawings.

The foundation of BIM is that information is passed down the supply chain without reinventing the wheel or recreating a learning curve at each exchange of information. There are a number of reasons for problems to occur, such as technology incompatibilities, lack of information exchange skills, past behaviours and beliefs (“it’s easier to do it myself”). On projects, this break in information exchange often arises because the designer won’t guarantee the model or the subcontractor won’t trust the designer’s model.

Often, BIM is not managed well or not managed at all, particularly on large projects. Consequently, individual parties are not held accountable and project BIM plans, manuals or protocols are not developed or adhered to when they exist, leading to frustration in, and between, the project team organisations.

On some recent projects, consulting BIM Managers have been employed. Generally, they are independent of the designers, and manage and lead the coordination of the BIM, including meetings that define actions for each consultant to ensure their model is suitable for use and complies with their contractual obligations.
During construction and at handover the BIM Manager may also be responsible for managing the BIM that is generated by the contractor, sub-contractors and manufacturers, although BIMliterate contracting firms may often choose to be the BIM Manager themselves. Either way, it is important for the contractual obligations of the designers, contractors, sub-contractors and manufacturers to be consistent and clearly defined particularly if the end goal is production of as-built BIM. This is rare today.

Problems can be further amplified where the preferred technologies of the parties to a project are different and a common native file format is not specified. The current way the industry deals with this is to specify:

• The technology platform to be used e.g. Revit. This simple solution will work in some instances but not for all unless preselection of the design, construction and manufacturing team is done on the basis of an organisation’s preferred technology. In practice where there is no preselection this could mean that:

- some parties will work with an unknown or unfamiliar platform which results in a poor outcome because an expert may not trust a beginner’s work.

- others will choose to work in their preferred platform and then convert the file into the specified platform which if poorly executed will result in data loss and again a poor outcome. E.g. If Revit is specified and the architect prefers ArchiCAD then the architect will export the ArchiCAD file as an .ifc , import the .ifc into Revit to create a .rvt file and then distribute that file to the design team.

• A common file format such as Industry Foundation Class (.ifc). This solution will also work in some instances but not in all unless preselection is based upon the parties’ proven .ifc skills. Even though .ifc is a common global format for transferring BIM, many organisations do not have enough experience to apply it. This is because their preferred technology may not support .ifc or if it does the integration of has not been correct. Either way the result, in many circles, is a perception that .ifc does not work or cannot be relied upon whereas the organisations that have persevered are very capable of exchanging BIM openly with other organisations.

Steelcad workshop visit – Brisbane, Oct 2016

In early October, a team of modellers from Steelcad was fortunate enough to visit the workshop of one of our local fabricator clients and have a close up look at some of the steel plate work they were currently detailing.

It was still early days in the fabrication program so there weren’t a lot of the larger hoppers being made at this stage, however our detailers were able to have a good look at some of the medium size hoppers and pipework branches as well as seeing the rubber lining being applied.

One of the hoppers we got to see is shown below, with an extract of one of the design drawings you can make out many of the parts in the photographs.

It was interesting to see how the boilermakers had set this hopper up for fabrication. The hopper is made of a rolled cylindrical plate work, to an oblique conical transition to another rolled cylinder which also has a truncated diverter plate on the inside of the lower cylinder – see images below:

Some pictures from the workshop

Rubber lining of tanks (this glue stinks!):

Some pipe work branches and flanges with machined faces:

Some welding and setup of the branches:

The Steelcad crew: Matt Jones, Graeme Enever and, Adam Kucharski

ASI Steel Awards for 2016 – AISD IPD Award

In August of this year the ASI held the Queensland Steel Excellence Awards at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The highlight of this event for Steel Detailers is the IPD award, which is the first award handed out at the event, with the Queensland President of the AISD, Clayton Roxborough, taking charge of the microphone. The following paragraphs are an extract of his speech.

“Historically, our clients were steel fabricators. But that’s changing.
More and more, we are seeing the Builder & designers as thinkers and innovators, people who are beginning to understand what a wealth of knowledge & value, steel detailers can bring to their projects.

We’re finding that Builders & design consultants are directly engaging with steel detailers to harness these advantages and work collaboratively to extract the full potential that our technology and talent has to offer.

No longer are we just producing detail drawings of steelwork.
No longer is detailing just the first step toward construction. Among other things we are now also involved in the steps of design development, co-ordination & documentation, schedule control and even procurement. In addition, detailers are getting to site a lot more these days with scanning and point cloud surveys and 3D models on hand-held devices.

By integrating the detailer early in the project, local steel detailers are delivering significant efficiencies right along the supply chain. This helps lower the perceived risks for steel construction, and ultimately, makes steel a more sought after building material.

The AISD has been a vocal supporter of this process for quite some time now, so it’s exciting to witness the growing awareness by designers & builders of the merits of early engagement and the advantages that local Steel Detailers have to offer.”

The Judging criteria for this award is:

  • The extent to which detailers were included in the design process
  • Technology integration and the accuracy of 3D modelling
  • Time saved during the documentation program and advances in the construction schedule.
  • Communication improvement & RFI resolution
  • And the benefits delivered  to the project by the IPD process

Short listed entries

The Crestmead Cullet Processing Plant    

Design consultants – BECA,  Steel Detailer – BDS Global
Project principal & owner – O-I Australia

This was a complex upgrade to an existing industrial materials processing development. With a project size of 50 tonnes of structural and mechanical steelwork, the design finalisation & detailing schedule ran for 4 and a half months..

The design of the chute work required to transition the material from vendor equipment to a particular conveyor was relayed to Beca/BDS by way of hand drawn colour coded concept sketches and an overall process diagram. From this point Beca & BDS worked collaboratively to take this raw concept information through to completed design & detailing.

The Byerwen Coal Handling and preparation Plant

EPCM – Sedgman, Steel Detailer – Steelcad Drafting

From the run of mine dump hopper through to the train load-out bin, the scope of work comprised of all structural and mechanical steelwork, piping & cable racks. This large mining project involved over 500 tonnes of fabricated steel and was detailed over an 8 month period.  For all of this time, the core of the Steelcad team were embedded in the Sedgman design office.

Judge’s Comments included;
Constant communication between the design team and the detailers allowed this large and complex project to run very smoothly. The sharing of models back and forth (design models used by the detailers, and the detail models used for approval comments) also greatly enhanced the flow of information for this project.

The main benefits of the IPD process on this project were derived from having the detailers working directly with the engineers, in their office, and the ability to utilise the design models for detailing. This provided significant time savings in modelling time. The continuous communication between the detailers and the design team completely avoided the many RFI’s and delays that can often impact on this type of project. 

The Sunshine Coast University Hospital
Courtyard Art Walls

Design consultants – Place Group,  Artist – Lubi Thomas – Davis Thomas
Builder – Lend Lease,  Detailer – JBD Steel Detailing
Fabricator – Regson Fabrication

Although a small project at 6 and ½ tonnes, the 10 “Art walls” were complex in geometry and fit into the “never done before category” thus requiring the project to be dealt with in a much different way to normal design to detailing communication.

3D digital scanning technology was used extensively by  JBD Steel Detailers during site measurement of in-situ footings and interfacing structures, right through to fabrication where the they attended the workshop to set-out temporary anchor locations, pipe bends and fin positions.  Using Place Design Group’s 3D drawings and set-out as a guide, the detailers were able to accurately model and align each art wall with its radiating fins to suit the as-built footing locations and ensure the final art work elements did not clash with other site structures.

Due to the complex geometry of the project the fabrication of the fins also relied heavily on the detailers  ability to clearly convey the 3D set-out  to Regson Fabrication. This allowed accurate fabrication of each individual fin blade with no physical measurements being required. 

Judge’s Comments included;
This is a different version of an IPD in a world where information (particularly 3D) is only just starting to be utilised to its full potential. This end to end 3D integration across the project saved both time and money with no errors and a “right first time” result.

The winner of the Integrated Project Delivery Award was the Byerwen Coal handling project. “Sedgman and Steelcad”

Robert Lamb (Aveva - Award sponsor), Simon Albrecht (Sedgman) and Sean Roach (Steelcad)


The AISD Queensland would like to congratulate this team for their collaborative efforts in delivering this project. In addition, we take this opportunity to thank our award sponsor, Aveva, and Robert Lamb for their continued support for the Steel Detailing industry in Australia.

Chris Velovski was flying the flag for NSW as a guest of the IPD award sponsors, Aveva.

Past AISD Victoria President, Trevor Richie, got hauled up on stage with MC comedian, Marty Fields.

Subcontractors speak out on Productivity

There has been a vast amount written about construction productivity stretching back over 50 years.

A recent search of articles published in leading internationally peer reviewed journals and conferences over this period produced over 500 references to productivity, looking at a wide variety of issues.

Although this research has undoubtedly advanced our understanding of the subject, the literature almost entirely presents a principal contractor’s perspective. Yet subcontractors are absolutely central to the construction industry’s productivity. They not only employ the vast majority of people in the industry but they also represent the front line, where the physical task of construction in undertaken on site. Given the importance of subcontractors in the construction industry and the economy as a whole, there is clearly a need to listen to what subcontractors have to say about this problem.

The simplest measure of productivity is labour productivity (output per worker) which is normally measured as quantity produced per employee. But increased output per worker is not necessarily an accurate measure of productivity since it doesn’t take into account how new technologies can affect productivity.

Analysis of 25 years of construction productivity research shows there have been precious few changes to the way construction projects had been managed over this period and that there is still significant room for improvement. Some research shows that the average downtime across a range of trades is about 47 per cent, that the  productivity of two gangs doing identical jobs on the same site and at the same time can vary by up to 50 per cent and the productivity of two gangs doing identical jobs on different sites can vary by 500 per cent.
So what do subcontractors think?

Recent research with seventy one of Australia’s most prominent tier-one subcontractors shows that the following factors are central to subcontractor productivity:

Trust and relationships
Productivity is strongly influenced by the levels of trust and quality of relationships on a project. Most subcontractors feel there needs to be a stronger focus on building and maintaining relationships to run jobs and that many new graduates lack the skills to build rapport, have little understanding of site processes and have no connection with subcontractors or understanding of their business. When tendering, subcontractors price the project team as well as the project specification, with a good team making a potentially huge difference to productivity of 20 to 30 per cent.

Tender practices
Poor tender practices emerge as a strong recurring theme, providing little opportunity to be involved in up-front decisions or time to innovate. Bid-shopping is also a common problem which negatively affects trust and productivity – a pointless and deceptive game on all sides which benefits no one. It is also common for principal contractors to share subcontractors’ IP during the tender process in order to secure a lower price, leading subcontractors to hold back ideas which could potentially improve productivity on a project. The emergence of cheap overseas labour has not helped, allowing unscrupulous subcontractors to undercut those firms who employ local skilled labour. It is often cheaper for a principal contractor to employ them to win a job and then ask a tier-one to mop up the mess afterwards.

Project documentation and document control
Poor project documentation and document control are major barriers to productivity, with the quality of design documentation emerging as a particular problem. It is not unusual to have only 30 per cent of the required information at the start of a job and for jobs to be designed and built ‘on the run’ – a problem exacerbated by underpaying for good design and engineering services and by the practice of novation. Another problem is the growing administrative burden on projects (especially around safety, quality and environmental issues) and the abuse of new communication technologies and automated document control systems which can often result in indiscriminate drawing distribution. This is often caused by inexperienced supervisors ‘covering their backs’ and can result in 30 to 40 per cent of subcontractor staff on site being tied up with non-productive administration.

Project management and supervision
There is a general perception that the quality of management and supervision has dropped significantly in recent years. This would appear to be driven  by a gradual dilution of experience as older supervisors retire without passing their skills to the younger supervisors who fill their shoes. Furthermore, most new supervisors are now straight out of university and often lack the understanding of those who worked their way up through a trade.

Planning, scheduling and coordination
Poor scheduling and planning is another significant barrier to productivity as a result of poor training, the loss of experienced staff, later involvement in the tendering process and the tendency for principal contractors to transfer ever more risk to subcontractors and thereby absolve themselves of responsibility in this area. On many sites, subcontractors are left to coordinate themselves and since subcontracts are left too late, they don’t have time to plan in advance – especially in the case of being an up-front trade. More time equals more thinking equals more solutions.

Many subcontractors complain of burnout impacting productivity, of projects being fast but not efficient and of constant and growing pressure to resolve management problems by working continuous overtime. Research shows that when overtime is worked continuously for four weeks or more, every one hour’s increase in the working week over 40 hours causes a one per cent loss of productivity.

Industrial relations
Most respondents identified industrial relations as a major productivity issue, although this varies from state to state. EBAs and the union delegates who enforce them were both a major concern among the respondents. While unions and EBAs were seen as important quality control mechanisms to keep unscrupulous subcontractors out of the market and maintain safety and standards, they also escalated labour costs without any link to productivity. It is also apparent that subcontractors price union delegates when tendering for a project – adding up to 20 per cent and assuming the worst if the delegate is not known. Good delegate/management relations can make a huge difference to how a job runs.

There is widespread agreement in the subcontracting fraternity on what needs to be done to increase construction productivity. However, collective responsibility for productivity improvement cannot be assumed due to management practices which destroy trust and a culture of productivity improvement across the supply chain.

According to subcontractors, productivity could be significantly improved if principal contractors avoid bid-shopping, respect subcontractor IP, avoid making comparisons solely on spread sheets and talk to subcontractors earlier in a project. There is also a clear need to up-skill junior staff in project management, coordination, logistics, communication, relationship building, workplace relations and ethics. And there is a need to address the administrative burden of an increasing compliance culture and to improve the quality and management of project documentation on projects.

In defence of principal contractors, many of these problems can be traced back to client procurement practices and more broadly, the under-valuation of good design and poor design management. The role of clients in the construction industry is a subject that has attracted little attention and which deserves greater debate.

By Martin Loosemore

AISD - 3D modelling and the design consultant

We decided to reach out and ask an Architect a few questions about their opinion on a number of topics and how they see things from their point of view. I called John McCarthy of the Buchan group and he kindly obliged to take part. 

John McCarthy

Senior Architect at The Buchan Group

The idea was to try and tap into the mind of a design consultant to give our Steel Detailer members an understanding of the issues they face when developing their own documents.
I think we all agree that in general design documents have become light on in detail over the years and there are many reasons for this. It’s one of the reasons that the AISD committee decided to change to an IPD award at the ASI Steel awards, and move away from the focus on 2D design documents as we see a greater focus and value in the model. If the model is delivered as a primary medium of the design intent, with many of our members in the 3D space this has to be seen as a good thing? Feel free to write some feedback.

With you being in the design space for many years, im sure you have seen processes and workflows come and go, some better than others and some not so good?
Technology is changing rapidly and with 3D modelling now a mainstream part of document development, there are many pros and cons which are party to this.
With this in mind, I have a number of questions below I’d like to ask you;


Architecture in general:

‘Q’ -Before CAD was there more time to collaborate with the rest of the design team which enabled Architects to deliver more complete documents?

‘A’ - I believe so. I only came into the industry as CAD was being taken up. I was able to work in a couple of places using traditional drawing methods however. Time was more available, but I think it was because drawings were not as detail-rich as they are now

‘Q’ -Do you believe that CAD has made your workload more or less? and why is this?

‘A’ - It seems to have made some aspects of workload easier, but in doing so, expectations of what is delivered and the speed of its delivery have increased. It seems that a tool developed to assist us is assisting the end-users more than it does us.

‘Q’ -Was there a particular workflow pre CAD which seemed to work well for completing documents and the overall understanding of the build requirements for the builder and subbies?

‘A’ - Yes, I think so. More people are being engaged by building firms who aren't really trained in building as such (their training is more in Management and contract administration). Some of these people need a lot of convincing that what has been delivered, is adequate for a competent builder to do the job. We waste considerable time debating with them about what is required, how to do things, etc.

‘Q’ -Do you believe that Architects have been pushed aside by builders generally and the running of the project more so is done by the builder? Do you have pros and cons for this?

‘A’ - Yes. More based on the type of contract. The D&C contract has the builder take novation of the Architect. This contract is becoming more accepted as the norm for large projects. What we see now is a lowering of this base line for when a D&C contract is acceptable. So now we are seeing even sole residences on D&C. I see this has happened because Architects traditionally have not been trained very well in cost management, whereas it's a fundamental skill in large building companies. Overseas may be different. We don’t have a great tradition of Architecture in Australia (it’s only just starting to be appreciated in recent decade or so). As such, it’s been a situation of the client asking “What can we get for this much money?” Whereas overseas, the question is more often “This is what we want. Now let’s see how can we get the lowest price that achieves this design?”

‘Q’ -Are architects being trained like they used to or do you feel that knowledge is being lost and institutions are failing graduates by not teaching effective fundamentals.

‘A’ - No, they aren't. We live in a society of increasing specialisations. These specialities are increasing in their volumes and intensities. It's not possible to teach these ever increasing volumes in the same lengths of time used for training in the past. The building codes a few decades ago were something you could just about staple together - now there are volumes of books. Previously thinking of how you drew something meant knowing which of 3 pens to use for the line you want - now the software takes a lot to learn.  Compounding this is a lack of “in-house” training. Most professions and industries have a more formalised approach to staff training, and this is factored into their fees. In the vast majority of Architectural practices, it isn’t factored in.

‘Q’ -Is there too much focus on software and less of a focus on fundamentals?

‘A’ - Too much? No. Just fundamental training needs to catch up.

‘Q’ -Do you believe that Architects can at times produce too much documentation because software allows them to do so?

‘A’ - Absolutely – this is being driven often by management-trained builders rather than trade-trained builders.

‘Q’ -In times gone by, what was generally stylized on ONE drawing and effectively explained intent, can at times be shown over many sheets these days and can often confuse?

‘A’ - Possibly- this is more about the project and what is decided as the output for it. I.e. it depends on the project. I have certainly seen lots of cases of this though.

‘Q’ -Is there a need to look back at history and review deliverables in a similar light to what was once deemed acceptable?

‘A’ – Absolutely - We are asked to deliver more and more for less time, and tighten fees, while running costs increase. These fees structures are based on traditional deliverables and often non-traditional products are becoming necessary (?) Requirements, which haven't really been appropriately priced.

‘Q’ -Do you see a time when a 3D model will be the primary deliverable and a lesser emphasis on the paper or 2D deliverable?

‘A’ – I hope so.

‘Q’ -We hear consultants complaining about pressure on fees a lot, do you think this is a result of not only market pressures but the added weight of technology?

‘A’ – Indirectly yes. The arguments see that technology makes it theoretically possible to see all outcomes and so consultants are having more responsibility (and hence litigation) thrown on them…often resolving issues that would’ve traditionally seen a competent builder sort them on-site.

‘Q’ -Do you see a need for a greater understanding of other disciplines workflows so that Architects can adapt their internal workflows to be more efficient in terms of cost and output?

‘A’ – Having such understand would be welcome. Too often consultants (not just architects) and indeed the builders and clients need to understand all workflow and time requirements. 

‘Q’ -Lastly - What keeps a guy like you in the industry?

‘A’ – Long story - i've been in many industries prior to this one (bank officer, pro sportsman &coach, personal trainer and conditioning coach, school boarding master, computer programmer) but needed something with flexibility to allow for mobility and to work into "retirement years"


Integrated  project delivery (where a steel detailers gets to work closely with design consultants during the final stages of development & documentation) is gradually being taken up by many building companies in the design & construct sector.

‘Q’ -From your perspective, do you think there are any benefits of IPD methodology?

‘A’ – Certainly. We recently were on a project where the steel detailers knowledge and input were crucial for the buildability and even the aesthetics. This is something that can blow out costs, ruin or make designs, create design opportunities and solutions, impact on delivery times... Long list

‘Q’ -Is the architectural community generally aware of IPD & what opportunities it offers their projects or processes?

‘A’ – Alas I'd have to say many are still ignorant 

‘Q’ -What is the down-side to IPD?

‘A’ – Can't see one, to be honest.

‘Q’ -What can detailers do to make your life easier?

‘A’ – Keep a big communication line open, and understand the design intents of what is being delivered. A good detailer who understands these, is valuable. The steel is the skeleton of the project. Think of a building in terms of the human body - a skin graze is nothing compared to a bone fracture.

Additional to this interview, something popped up in my Linkedin this morning from an Architect blogger –
Antony McPhee,

For those who don’t have access to Linkedin, here if the article extract and it gives some insight into the world of consulting - BIM and 2D drafting. There is a mishmash of processes to arrive at the end result (the drawing) and it’s of no real surprise to us Steel Detailers who are the recipients of consultant’s documents that there are so many details in views which don’t match – here is an insight as to why that happens.

Im sure many of the readers of this article, being Steel Detailers like myself and in the BIM space, develop the 3D model as the primary focus of accuracy . The model is built and checked and the drawings are a by-product of that model and are also checked before issuing to the client. Generally we don’t break out of the model and 2D CAD details, because we know full well that this is counterproductive for ourselves, our client and any third party wishing to make use of our 3D model for interface.

Steel Detailers are the innovators in the BIM space in my opinion, we were the first to take it up because of our close relationship with the manufacturing sector. We understand the value of the model and its integrity.

Linkedin Article:

Making BIM Work: Quality Models

I recently checked a Revit project file and found it had 30,700 detail lines in it. Many things were drawn in 2D as lines instead of being modelled. Yet the project architect was completely unaware, as he only checked drawings. Does it matter? Well, yes. Stair railings were drawn as 2D lines and masking regions. And guess what? Railings in plans didn't match railings in sections. So yes, it matters, the drawings were not a true representation of what was to be constructed (or in fact what could be constructed).

When CAD was introduced project architects and engineers didn't have to change the way they worked. They still checked drawings, just that now they were neater. But with BIM it is not possible to check the BIM model by just checking drawings. In fact it is counterproductive. What is happening is that those modelling are being given instructions as marked up drawings, so they make changes to match the drawings, ignoring the effect that has on the integrity of the model.

It is time BIM model authors took responsibility for producing proper BIM models.

But it seems they don't want to. I used to think they didn't understand why they need to. But now I just think it is laziness. Maybe they need to be told what is expected of them.
Read how in my latest blog post at


Variations to Building Works
By Paul Cott

Variations to contracts often arise in the construction world, but the nuances surrounding such variations are seldom fully understood.

The first question should always be, what does or does not constitute a variation? Even when it is clear that changes to a contract constitute a variation, they are often harder to apply – hence the frequency with which variations are disputed. The other critical fact in a case is what exactly the contract says as to variations and when they can be claimed.

Basically a variation is either a change in what is agreed to be done or a variation to the terms of the contract in some way (except for minor things such as names of the parties).
Most of the standard form building contracts in the industry define the scope of ‘agreed’ or valid variations very broadly. Nevertheless, disputes can still occur. The uppermost aim is surely to avoid disputes wherever possible.

Either party can request a variation, but the request must be in writing and the notice has to contain certain bits of information such as the description of the change, its cost, its reason, its general effect and the variation’s effect on any time periods applicable, such as the length of any delay resulting from it.

The earlier parties can agree on a variation, including its scope and effect, and comply with any procedural requirements and raise any disputed issues or potentially disputed issues, the better it is for all.

Where the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act applies, a detailed set of requirements apply, and it is best to consult the act yourself directly, or receive advice.
As always, there are traps for the unwary in this ever increasing fertile ground for disputes, so if in doubt seek out professional advice.

Design through to Manufacture in the 21st Century
Streamlining the workflow for positive outcomes

The Issue:
A lot has changed in the building game over the past 20 years in the way buildings are delivered from design to site, however not a lot has changed in the workflows which are responsible for the building's design.

For instance; about 70 to 80% of commercial / Industrial buildings are delivered by way of Design and Construct (D&C), paving the way for a builder to have the autonomy in the decision making process in order to arrive at a profitable outcome for the project by way of a happy client and $ in the bank for them.

But is it all as easy as that? That’s questionable? In years gone by there was a rigid hierarchy and the Architect by default generally held all of the cards for the client and generally ensured the client got what they had paid for, however this didn’t always guarantee plain sailing for those in the downstream supply chain, but generally speaking design documents were complete and final.

No system of project delivery can ever be perfect, however it has to be said that the D&C deliverable of projects has not taken into account the advances in modern design technology to anywhere near the potential? D&C or otherwise, in around the past 15 years no one has considered the need to review the design workflow with the consideration of who does what, when and how for the greater benefit of the project as a whole or the team involved in delivering it? Why is this? There are many factors to consider but the primary factor holding back the implementation of advanced systems and processes might be being overshadowed by big business, thereby overlooking subcontractor/supply-chain smarts. This makes for a complex problem to try and solve.

Groups have come and gone with all of the best interests in delivering something to industry to assist in an evolutionary transition but with no real working or beneficial outcome. Academics continue to write papers which generally speaking, at time of delivery can be surpassed by the very technology they want to try and embed.
Problems in NOT addressing workflow:

  • Design development lag and poor design development
  • Uncertainty in terms of scope and detail at time of tender
  • A rush of design completion to achieve scheduled deadlines, leading to errors and unnecessary costly revisions
  • Confusion caused by lack of time allowed for mature collaboration and well developed design
  • Construction Documents issued for construction but incomplete
  • A purpose made RFI mechanism to develop and resolve design issues
  • Delays as a result of incomplete design
  • Disruption in the usual workflows of the Shop Detailing and a stop/start delivery of revised design causing many inefficiencies in delivery

No one is a winner here!

The Cause:
The desire for building structures faster and cheaper is ever more prevalent, however simply changing the nature of the build is only one piece of the complex web that goes on well before any earth is turned on site.

Ignoring the mechanics of design and digital engineering is fraught with problems and they are problems which generally are revealed when it’s too late to make a change in workflow and quite often the cost of delivering the building is escalated.
‘Takt time’ is a term to describe the time it takes to deliver a product to a client. In a traditional construction workflow, project depending, that time is generally understood:

  • Time for client and Architect liaison
  • Time for Consultants to Design Develop
  • Time for Design to reach a construction ready stage

This point in time is traditionally when design documents go out to tender. It is understood that they are construction ready, with little to no change expected, because the time has been allowed for the development of the documents. (generally speaking)
However, what has been happening in recent times which affects the design document completeness can be split into two categories:

  1. Design development using 3D models
  2. The squeeze on time allowed for finalisation of design documents

3D modelling in the manufacturing space has brought about much efficiency in workflow and minimised errors due to the ability to clash check and visualise. Modelling for structures has affectively been adopted from the bottom up, because there was a greater need for machinery based 3D model data and hence the reason why Steel Detailers have been in the 3D space for decades.

3D modelling in Architecture and Engineering is widespread for most consultants now, but this has happened in more recent times. Prior to that, 2D CAD systems were used just as they were in manufacturing many years before.

Generally speaking, unless there is a contractual obligation to do so, models are not passed on from one consultant to another; instead, the modelling is done from a ground up approach using Architectural drawings as a means to develop an Engineering BIM. What is happening here is; generally speaking, the Architectural BIM needs to be developed before the drawings can be produced, where as in the 2D days the drawings would be the primary focus because that was the primary setout medium. So in many cased the development process takes a lot longer to complete the information required for the next phase of the design development process.

The next point regarding the pressure on time; whether a building is to be built by way of D&C or not, far greater pressure is being applied to consultants to complete their design earlier so that the building can be built sooner - Fast tracking is par for the course these days. The result in this added pressure is the inability to have effective consultant coordination to ensure documents align and errors as a result of the lack of time given to complete design documents for construction.

As a result of all of this; RFIs, emails, phone calls and meetings are the modern medium by which a building’s design details are fleshed out in order to communicate the intent to all parties and this is done on the fly during the construction process. This is a commonplace band aid approach to delivering a building to a client in the 21st century – sad but true!
Bringing the 3D element into design and doing almost nothing to address the possibilities of a greater digital collaborative approach, and then applying greater pressure on the consultants to deliver earlier; has muddied the waters of design development timing. The losers as a result of this are not just the consultants, but it’s every discipline which comes on to work on the project as they all have to play the same Q and A game to claw out the information which would have once been clearly documented. This is further impacted by contractual constraints imposed by D&C contracts between the consultants and subcontractors.

Those responsible for applying the added pressure to design development time probably have the most to lose as it’s very easy for a project to get messy and unprofitable when the fundamental building blocks of design development have been besmirched.

The Challenge:
The challenge really is as simple as addressing the underlying fractures in the development of design documents and the coordination processes which are more suited to modern times and modern technology.  If the workflow at the front end of design is remedied, the communicative flow to all other parties will be better understood and the band aid approach of project delivery could be mitigated?

Some Considerations:

  • Consultants can exchange BIMs as a means to coordinate and collaborate BIMs
  • Many project contracts barely acknowledge BIM and the importance of its place in the development of a building.
  • Contracts have been written many times over where Revit is said to be the BIM tool to use. Revit is not BIM, BIM is a process used to deliver an outcome.
  • Software is a tool used by a professional to deliver an outcome. Software does not deliver an outcome by its self.
  • There are essentially four BIM levels:
    • Architectural BIM
    • Structural BIM
    • Digital Fabrication BIM
    • FM BIM

It is important to understand the benefits BIM in these elements brings to the design development. In many cases, bringing the Digital Fabrication BIM closer to the Consultants has added benefits for the project; particularly in a D&C build.

  • BIMs can be used as part of the design medium deliverable to other parties. For instance, IFC models, depending on their use can be very relevant
  • IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) workflows can be adopted as a means to engage the  Digital Fabrication earlier for the purpose of producing Shop Drawings sooner and even can form part of the tender issue for pricing.

In Summary:
We currently have an ad hoc approach to project delivery; the industry adopts the latest technology to participate in silos and there is little by way of guidance by the project principle to streamline the collaborative workflows. Streamlining workflows makes for a more efficient design delivery, a greater clarity and understanding by all parties working from the output of design. We have the tools and the capability, however we are lacking the creativity required to make the fundamental changes necessary to the workflows of design development. The result of this being; average to poor delivery of projects at a higher cost of delivery for all involved.

The construction industry is struggling to capitalise on the added benefits collaboration with teams outside of the design space can bring to a project. Bringing many of these subcontractors in earlier and collaborating in a digital environment would no doubt bring greater positive outcomes in project delivery.

Documents such as those produced by the ACIF “Australian Construction Industry Forum”, one in particular – Building and Construction Procurement Guide”; can assist in the greater understanding on Project Team Integration in the 21st century.

Keeping the skill sets of those subcontractors with so much to offer to the design development at arm’s length makes no sense at all. If anything, in doing so, the results can often be detrimental to the project outcome.

BIM and the lack of standards

In April of this year I was preparing some consultant models (ifc files) I had received whilst on the job for the purpose of piecing together ONE construction model, which had our steelwork and the rest of the structure made up of these consultant models.
The task became quite challenging for a couple of reasons;

  • The models we had were old and not delivered as a means of anything other than for review
  • The models had many parts of no real relevance to the building – like reference parts and so on
  • There didn’t appear to be any logical breakup of the models as in segregation, for the purpose of filtering and selection of parts.

I ended up using Navisworks and Iconstruct to strip out parts of the models and much of the work was done by hiding parts manually. It was a long winded and frustrating process.

On a Friday afternoon I was at my wits end with stripping out these models and thought id email one of the professors at QUT and kindly vent my frustration. This is what I had to say:
The other night at BrisBIM, at the end Joe raised the issue of standards and Brett from memory was the one who brought it up.

I grabbed the mic for a bit and explained how there is still so much model duplication and was amazed that there really has been no development progression on part ownership between discipline - this is one of a bucket load of issues..

“The reason im writing today is because ive spent the last 2 days working on a number of consultant's models (IFC) to try and clean up in order to develop one useful model for the purpose of timelining in Navis. The thing is, these models have all sorts of junk in them and there is no real consistency between the models in terms of hierarchy and naming convention for the purpose of filtering.

It really is a bit of a - do as you please kind of scenario and I’m not just blaming any one discipline or individual, this is industry wide and it’s got far reaching consequences.

Most of us using BIM, for years have been trying to push common sense up hill and it really only goes so far before the pressure of what’s coming down hill becomes too much to overcome. There really is next to bugger all buy in in this country from those responsible for delivering projects and I hope that im not overlooking something obvious?

It would be very useful if there was an AUS wide standard for project setup in terms of naming conventions. I don’t know the terms used in all of the various softwares, but if they were set from the top, there would be a trickle down to all working in BIM on the project and it would be mandatory to stick to it.

Do you know if there is any work being done, or has been done on this matter at all? and if so, how the industry could be woken up to get on board?

One should really be able to ask for someone's project BIM and whats output is a model, without interface and reference garbage which no one else cares about. A model with part ownership in mind so that when overlaid with others, duplication is a non issue. A hierarchy which is common across all BIM's and can be used for multi BIM filtering.
All should be able to be achieved without the consideration of using ONE model or ONE software brand.

Im wondering if anyone has thought of developing a project BIM matrix or portal (web based), where the project leader feeds data in and to an industry standard the information required for all parties for model set up is spat out the other end? Even if it was revised, you could still update and report out for the team.

The ad-hoc approach we have to project delivery in this country can be incredibly frustrating and at times hopeless when trying to make use of BIM output.”

The professor was quite receptive to my rant and has since prepared an ARC grant submission around identifying efficiencies around the use of BIM. This will be using

  • current best practice
  • identifying opportunities for improvement
  • testing these opportunities on live projects and
  • documenting the processes and improvements.

We have formed a group consisting of the professor himself, two doctors at QUT working under him, a PHD student who will document the findings, me, Tim Fox of Laing O’Rourke and Brett Taylor of Bornhorst and Ward consulting engineers.
The group has met twice already and last month we got together to meet and take notes with each of us leaving with some research of our own to do.
The aim at this stage is to review existing documentation of IDM (Information Delivery Manual) and MVD (Model View Definition) and take what we can for this project as we have no intention of reinventing the wheel.

In the professor’s response to my email he went on to say:
“The idea you have at the end of the message – a single portal for sharing the information about a project and providing appropriate views for all parties – was one of the original concepts from buildingSMART (or IAI as it was then known). This image is from a powerpoint slide from 1996:

A note on the slide promotes it as a 5 year project :-)”

It goes to show that nothing happens quickly in the BIM space and quite often good ideas either run out of puff to push them through or simply don’t have the funding to make them eventuate into reality.

Im sure most of you reading this would have come across similar model based problems in the past and I hope can see the benefits in the formation of this group. Ill keep you updated at the developments as meeting continue and content starts to evolve.

My hope is for a BIM maturity into contracts and an understanding of those writing contracts to make use of systems and workflows which currently exist and which can set the ground work for model based delivery.

We continue to swap models with no real contractual mechanism to enable a seamless collaboration across discipline and the end result is frustration and wasted time. If the rules were set for the project at the start for how models were to be broken up per discipline, the chance for error, miscommunication, misinterpretation, duplication of parts and so on would be reduced or eliminated – the ability to be able to collaborate across discipline would be enhanced.

As I mentioned in my email the idea of a portal of some kind, a single point of truth for project setup with a view to extract the rules for project break up and naming conventions. It looks like it was considered way back in the 90’s, but who knows what happened to that vision? Let’s see if this group can add some vitality to this idea.

US based DBM Global Inc. acquires PDC Detailing and BIM Management and BDS VirCon

DBM Global Inc, announced on the 11th of October that it has entered into an agreement to acquire the detailing and “BIM” management business of PDC Global Pty Ltd. and that it has entered into a sales purchase agreement to acquire BDS VirCon.

Rustin Roach, President and Chief Executive Officer of DBM Global commented on the recent deals saying that “Through the acquisition of PDC’s detailing and BIM lines of business, which will operate under the name PDC Operations (Australia) Pty Ltd, and of BDS VirCon, DBM Global now provides a uniquely comprehensive set of services to design, build and manage steel construction projects.”
By investing in the technology side of construction and bringing together two of the premier businesses in the space, DBM Global is better aligned to play a more decisive role in using technology to improve the way projects are designed, coordinated, and ultimately built.

Since its establishment in 1972, PDC has grown from a team of three to a global company with more than 400 detailing and 3D BIM personnel across offices in Australia, the Philippines and North America.  The company has 40 years of experience in resources, commercial and utilities projects.

“Today is an important day in the history of our company,” said Martyn Weir, Chief Executive Officer of PDC. “We believe this transaction will significantly benefit our business in many ways, including an enhanced relationship network that will help foster overall growth. We offer a unique BIM management and modelling service that provides significant value to our customers and believe the transaction will allow us to further accelerate these services going forward.”

BDS VirCon is a leading global steel and rebar detailing and BIM firm with a long track record of iconic buildings in the U.S., Australia and the U.K.  The company’s model can be used as the “information center” of a project by consolidating models from other trades and enabling architects, engineers and sub-contractors to interact and collaborate during the design, engineering and construction phases.

“We are pleased to be joining the DBM Global family and look forward to working with our new colleagues on exciting projects for clients,” said Vinod Muthanna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BDS VirCon.  “We believe this transaction will greatly enhance our presence in the U.S. and help us market our technology and services to an expanded client base.”

About DBM Global Inc.
DBM Global Inc. is focused on delivering world class, sustainable value to its clients through a highly collaborative portfolio of companies which provide better designs, more efficient construction and superior asset management solutions.

When the transactions have been completed, the Company, which is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, will have operations in United States, Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom. 

Cheap Tricks

Detailing software piracy is still alive & well in Asia.
Tekla are dishing out severe slaps on the wrist to teach the bad boys a lesson.
As a case in point, just take this sincere apology printed in a Philippines newspaper.

Let us know your thoughts on this.

What Can Be Done to Revive Australia’s Steel Industry?
By Andrew Heaton

As prices tumble and job cuts mount, the turmoil which has engulfed the steel industry in Australia is plain for all to see.
By and large, the sector is undergoing a period of what can only be described as sheer turmoil. More than 3,000 jobs, including 1,150 full time employment positions and 450 contractor provisions within the steel division specifically, are under threat at Arrium’s operations in Whyalla in South Australia. Earlier this year, the company put its steel making plant there into ‘care and maintenance’ mode.

Overall volumes of steel produced have fallen from 7.3 million tonnes in 2010 to 4.9 million in 2015 according to the World Steel Association (worldsteel). This puts Australia at 29th position and gives the country an implied world market share of just 0.3 per cent. Though it expects to turn a profit this year, BlueScope over the past four years has delivered an unbroken string of financial losses.

Going forward, commentators are not optimistic. Having dropped by an expected amount of more than 30 per cent over the five years to $10.8 billion in 2015/16, revenue in the iron smelting and steel manufacturing sector will drop by a further 11 per cent over the next five years to just $9.6 billion, industry research firm IBIS World reckons. Last year, Credit Suisse analyst Michael Slifirski told clients in a research note that domestic steel manufacturing in Australia ‘does not appear to have a future.’

Largely, this is being driven by overproduction in China, which produces around half of the world’s steel output and is believed to be heavily subsidising unprofitable production. Despite needing only 748 million tonnes for its own domestic use, the Middle Kingdom pumped out 854 million tonnes in 2014, dumping the rest on world markets and depressing prices. Current world steel data suggests it unloaded a further net of 50 million tonnes of excess stock last year.

Accordingly, at $US475 per tonne, the MEPS All Carbon Steel Products Composite Price last November was sitting at just over half its level as recently as four years ago. Overcapacity in China alone equates to around 200 million to 300 million tonnes, BlueScope says.
The upshot for Australia, according to Australian Steel Institute CEO Tony Dixon, revolves around a combination of underutilised capacity and a sharp contraction in margins.
“You have underutilised businesses suffering profitability strain,” he said. “That’s steel companies, distribution, fabrication, right through the value chain. They are all underutilised and under strain.”

Many in the construction sector are worried. In its submission to the aforementioned inquiry, the Australian Constructors Association argued that local steel manufacturers had a strong record of compliance with Australian building standards and that having the option to source locally as well as internationally enhances competition and diversity in the marketplace and delivers significant benefits in terms of lead times and prompt delivery of products for projects.
In another submission regarding the same inquiry, former builder and now crane driver Ryan Scott was less polite.

“As soon as you turn that blast furnace off, the prices will start to rise on imports and then we will have lost our last steel works and a **** ton of jobs,” Scott said, adding that he had found that welding Australian steel to Chinese generally did not work because of the quality difference.

“You've let the car industry die, don't let our next major industry die.”
Furthermore, should the industry not have a viable future, many commentators fear being inundated with poor quality products from China and elsewhere. In a 2013 survey of a wide range of building products conducted by Australian Industry Group, almost half of all respondents from the steel industry put the level of penetration of non-conforming product at between 11 per cent and 50 per cent.

Andrew Fowler, managing director of New South Wales based frames and trusses and modular construction provider Austruss, said common problems associated with Chinese steel include weld failures, insufficient iron content or excessive carbon content in the steel itself. There are also products with the wrong silica content, leading to the coating not sticking properly to the steel during galvanisation and thus allowing premature corrosion and rust. A common form of complaint, he added, revolved around substitution of product and delivery of steel which was different to that specified in mill certificates.

Dixon says the industry would like to see all products on Commonwealth funded projects being required to meet the Australian standard and for this to be guaranteed through third party certification of both the steel itself the fabrication of the steel. As well as ensuring that local producers were not being disadvantaged by being forced to produce goods to standard and subsequently compete with imports which did not meet standard, he says this would help to guarantee the safety of end users of public buildings and infrastructure.

Tony Dixon, CEO Australian Steel Institute

Second, whilst stressing that he was not advocating for any form of protection, he would like procurement decisions on public projects to take into account a holistic view of the full economic, environmental and safety benefits associated with the purchase of local product along with the cost which local producers incur in terms of meeting their requirements regarding social, environmental and occupational health and safety obligations. Whilst it was valid to guard against protectionism at a local level, Dixon says it must be remembered that much of the product local producers are competing against from China is heavily subsidised.
Others would go further. One group of 63 businesses including mainly building products suppliers wants the federal government to mandate 100 per cent use of Australian steel on all Commonwealth funded projects where possible, as well as for Australia to refuse to sign on to the government procurement section of the Free Trade Agreement with China and to back out of its intention to accede to the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Government Procurement.

As well as beefed up action on steel dumping, meanwhile, the Australian Workers Union wants 80 to 90 per cent use of local steel on public projects as well as the urgent investigation into the idea of direct co-investment in ‘discrete cases’ including the Whyalla steelworks and concessional funding to allow the retooling of the steel industry.

Construction industry advisor David Chandler OAM, meanwhile suggests a different approach. First, Chandler would like to see Australia adopt European standards for steel. Second, whilst he says the local steel industry as it currently stands will not survive in its entirety, he feels the light steel and roll formed grades have potential. Finally, he would like to see a bigger picture shift within the broader construction sector involving greater levels of standardisation in design and a greater willingness on the part of suppliers across the various building product segments to see their products not as an exclusive solution in and of themselves but rather as each material being a part in the supply chain which together makes up the building.
Indeed, whilst many commentators focus upon difficult market conditions, Chandler instead attributes current problems to the industry’s own management and what he says is a failure on the part of local producers to innovate and develop a strong value proposition.
“The Australian steel industry is a product largely of its own making,” he said. “(This includes) lazy management, unproductive unions at the manufacture sites and disruptive unions at the sites of installation.”

Fowler, meanwhile, says it is crucial for Australia to have its own domestic supply.
“I think it’s a sovereign risk for this country not to produce steel,” he said. “Who knows who we are going to be up against in the future as far as a potential threat to this country – whether it be China or whether it be Indonesia or anyone?

“If we are buying our steel from China to build ships or tanks from this country, who says that there is no sovereign risk there that we are not doing it correctly in this country to separate ourselves from those people?”

The steel industry in Australia is facing difficult times.

From the viewpoint of the 90,000 odd people ASI says work in the sector as well as its many other stakeholders, the hope is that the industry does indeed have a viable future going forward.

Joke Corner

The difficulty of selling the benefits of IPD to builders ......


A mechanic was removing a cylinder-head from the motor of a Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in his shop.
The cardiologist was there waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage "Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?"

The cardiologist, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working on the motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and said, "So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart, take the valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in, and when I finish, it works just like new.

So how come I make $30 an hour, a pretty small salary and you get the really big bucks when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The cardiologist paused, smiled and leaned over, then whispered to the mechanic....

"Try doing it with the engine running."

Tell us what you think

The AISD needs to know what its members what to hear about.
If you have any feedback, ideas, opinions or future articles, we would love to hear more.


AISD Copyright © 2012 QLD, Australia