Supply chain collaborative BIM system for minimising construction waste in design

In May 2014, UWE Bristol and the Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) commenced a three year research project in partnership with Balfour Beatty CSUK to develop BIM-based software solutions to help the UK construction industry reduce construction waste during the design phase of a project’s lifecycle.

The project produced a BIM-software (BIM Waste) as a Revit Add-in to support architects and design engineers to minimise building construction waste during the design stage.

Project cost

£651,000

Funding body

Innovate UK

Project duration

2014–2017

Academic partners

  • University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol
  • Queen’s University, Belfast

Industrial partner

Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK

Project details

The project was partially funded by the Government's Technology Strategy Board (now Innovate UK) Grants Award Scheme under the “Rethinking the build process” initiative.

The aim of the project was to create a holistic BIM system that uses Early Supply Chain Involvement (ESCI) to assist in minimising construction waste during the design stage. The BIM system tackled waste holistically using Data Mining and Knowledge discovery techniques with heuristic-based search optimisation.

The project emphasised collaborative waste minimisation during design and not end-of-the-pipe management after waste has occurred. Therefore, to assist in developing the knowledge base required for the BIM system, the project involved the active engagement of industry practitioners such as architects, engineers, contractors, project managers, site waste managers, building materials manufacturers/suppliers, demolition engineers, LEAN practitioners and supply chain managers of construction firms.

Accordingly, expert engagement workshops were organised using Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) with various teams of Balfour Beatty’s supply chain to understand the expectations of the stakeholders and to have in-depth understanding of the problem. The results of the FGDs have been published in referred conferences and peer-reviewed journals.

With the use of waste data record from several projects, a BIM-based tool for construction waste prediction and minimisation was developed. The final tool is available to designers and engineers as a plug-in to Autodesk Revit. The tool is the first to integrate designing out construction waste with BIM in the industry. The impact of the final tool was evaluated through rigorous testing by the design teams using demonstration workshops.

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