Bruynzeel Storage Systems is a Dutch manufacturing company with sales offices in nine European countries, and more than 30 dealerships worldwide, so writes Andy Duck, the company's Marketing and Communications Manager.
Although a relatively small part of Bruynzeel’s global operations, when it comes to BIM development, the UK office is leading the way. This is not so surprising. Our largest markets in mainland Europe – Germany, France and Scandinavia – are a couple of years behind us in terms of BIM adoption. They do not have the same imperatives that the UK construction industry is facing thanks to the deadlines and structural imperatives imposed by the Government’s BIM task force.
Bruynzeel’s existing processes for creating specifications and drawings are set centrally and rolled out to all territories. We use an integrated system for drawing, specification and billing. Altering this system was not practical in the short term to create BIM models in Revit, so Bruynzeel looked externally for the expertise to provide BIM-ready models that met the relevant object standards.
In the UK we wanted to make the design and configuration of our systems more accessible for architectural practices and other third parties. We believe BIM objects are a good route for practices to configure systems within our current product standard specifications.Our thinking in the UK office is that by investing in BIM now – testing the waters with a few products – we can help to influence the Bruynzeel Group and gradually draw the company towards fully integrating BIM into Bruynzeel’s systems over the next few years. Ultimately, we see BIM as having a significant impact on internal processes in the medium term.
It was against this background that we approached NBS in the latter part of 2014 to begin the process of creating our first BIM objects for five of our most popular shelving products.
In the UK we wanted to make the design and configuration of our systems more accessible for architectural practices and other third parties. We believe BIM objects are a good route for practices to configure systems within our current product standard specifications.
Bruynzeel’s Craig Rumbold explains: “I created a 2D autoCAD drawing of all standard sizes applicable to the models – for five of our most popular products – and a walk-through of our approach to configuring a system from scratch. In essence this included the length of the base, the height, and then the additional details such as number of loaded levels and bay types.” These details were sent to NBS, who then began work on transforming our guidelines into the finished BIM objects.
Bruynzeel products are not simple, discrete objects. Originally we were talking about patching the complex object together from its component parts. However, during the process NBS suggested we could have one configurable model which included all the essential variables for a complete object. This speeded up the process of object creation, and meant our financial and time investment at early stages was kept to a very manageable level.
Bruynzeel systems are pretty much bespoke. We can offer almost limitless configurations, so by condensing – or consolidating – the objects a few sacrifices had to be made. For example, in our BIM objects shelves are always equidistant within a bay and do not contain individual configurable clearances.
“The idea was to have accessible ‘placeholder’ models for architects to use in existing project plans that are Level 2 BIM compliant,” said Rumbold. “Although our models carry the necessary information for creating NBS tender specifications, ultimately a designer or architect will still need to contact Bruynzeel for finalising specifications and pricing.”
We chose to keep the models ‘white’ in order to keep them as ‘light’ as possible for end users adding them into larger project files.
Keeping the models white also means designers have the option to select colours and designs from our standard colour charts or add specialised finishes in keeping with their overall project concept.
Looking to the future
To date, we have only created BIM objects for a selection of our mainstream products. They lack a large number of accessories and some of our specific options, plus unique products like our racking and double decker systems are yet to be added to the NBS National BIM Library. So we’re a long way away from offering BIM objects on our complete range. “Our BIM endgame would be to have every element of every product as a BIM object, provided computer processing speeds can continue to improve to enable any large-scale architectural plans that result to be sufficiently portable and managable...” said Rumbold.
Overall our BIM objects provide a level of detail that was previously unavailable in 2D autoCAD ‘blocks’. The new objects contain stoppage distances between mobile shelving, for example.
“When an architect or designer uses our BIM objects, the result is a much greater level of accuracy at early design stage,” said Rumbold.
“This undoubtedly corresponds with increased efficiency of process – one of the outcomes BIM has always hoped to achieve.”