The Olympic Steps is a landmark project at Wembley Park that offers a unique and unequivocal demonstration of the value of digital construction. As Information Manager for VolkerFitzpatrick, an exemplar approach to digital construction led all aspects of the delivery, inspiring an outstanding commitment to BIM from the team that succeeded in making the ambitious project vision a reality.
The grand set of 48 steps creates an inspiring and elegant community and social space, brought to life through the collaboration of expert designers and specialist subcontractors from across the globe.
With the amount of pre-cast and pre-cut materials arriving on-site from a range of countries, including pre-cut granite sourced from China and pre-cast concrete from Belgium, coordination through the digital realm was necessitated for success.
The adoption of a ‘digital rehearsal’ strategy by the specialist delivery team ensured the high-spec and ambitious nature of the project was right first time on site. Processes in place to digitally rehearse installation enabled all experts to input and quickly remedy any issues through the digital realm.
The project’s progression outside a live arena, with European Football on the horizon and international music acts booked in the diary saw, required clear methods for the alignment of people, process and technology.
Utilising point cloud technology, an initial laser scan was undertaken of the site – including Wembley Stadium and the previous concrete pedestrian ramp built in the 1970s – enabling BIMBox to coordinate the specialist models (individual and federated) against the previous environment. This was vital to ensure alignment of the new-build against the current site.
With a strategic commitment to BIM that saw all specialist subcontractors produce digital models, BIMBox led a cycle of multi-disciplinary clash detection to resolve any potential issues prior to the products being cut and delivered to site.
Within many areas, the project used much lower tolerances for clash detection compared to typical allowances. This precision was vital to ensure pre-manufactured, pre-cut and pre-cast materials would fit exactly within the correct area to mitigate against any potential delays.
100 hours of technical support
With a proactive culture in place that ensured hurdles were addressed ahead of time, BIMBox supported the subconsultants across the delivery with meeting the high standards of technical digital construction. This included technical workshops to support with the integration of specialist data requirements, delivering a consistent data structure in alignment with the wider Wembley Park estate. Further, BIMBox provided specialist geometric modelling resource to create a complex drainage model to ensure no drift in programme occurred.
The acquisition and integration of data from the supply chain and integration of this into the models was seen as paramount to ensuring the project could not only be managed correctly, but is futureproofed for years to come.
A long-term partnership between BIMBox and VolkerFitzpatrick placed digital construction at the heart of the project. The use of 3D models and immersive, digital platforms democratised the design process for all involved and ensured relevant stakeholders and clients could visualise and engage with the developing design.
Both digital and non-digital teams shared insight on innovative methods to resolve critical clashes and issues, plus deliver the pertinent data, meaning interference to the programme was avoided and risks eradicated before they could arise on site. This commitment to the production and maintenance of 3D models, at a high Level of Detail (LOD), saw as much emphasis as the physical build and created an unprecedented alliance between traditional and digital processes on the project.
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