Collaboration is All You Need

Collaboration during building design

Published on: Tuesday, 28th June 2016

When a product is critical to the overall success of a project, it is important that the manufacturer is engaged as early as possible in order to collaborate with the full supply chain. This can result in significant cost reductions and efficiency benefits as well as, let’s face it - result in a profitable contract for the entire delivery team.

The construction sector is always adapting to, and coping with challenges. Whether it’s a recession, skills shortage, changes to building regulations and the wider political landscape, changes in working methodologies, the launch of Government initiatives, the axing of Government initiatives...through it all we weather the storm, batten down the hatches and do what we must to survive and eventually thrive.

Therefore it’s logical that the construction industry has always had to focus on best value. When you have a team responsible for delivering a project, everyone has a vested interest in ensuring that the build programme remains on schedule and according to plan. In recent years, it has been gratifying to see that project delivery teams are taking a far more holistic approach – with a real emphasis on collaborative working.

However, more needs be done to ensure that key manufacturers are also brought on board at the earliest design stages.

From our perspective, we welcome partners with a collaborative work ethos. As a specialist in cold rolled steel, we have seen building design become far more complex and our early appointment in many projects has allowed us to make significant contributions to their overall success.

For example, at One Smithfield Square in Manchester, we were able to work with Galliford Try’s design team to identify where hot rolled steel could be replaced with our cold rolled steel SFS system. Our 3D modelling was able to demonstrate what at first might seem like small changes – could actually make a very big difference. In fact we were able to omit 25% of the steel used in the building – saving a significant amount of costs.

In addition, at 66 Queens Square, a collaborative approach allowed us to effectively tackle what was a challenging and complex project due to the fusion of heritage and new build. By working closely with Skanska, we were able to employ a transparent model based design process and BIM. From this data-rich file, we were able to produce the drawings and material schedules that informed Skanska’s structural design plans.

BIM has really changed the way we approach building design. Metsec is the first cold roll forming company to be certified to BIM Level 2 by the BSI – achieving PAS 1192-2:2013. With the capability to model and fully detail in 2D and 3D and share our design information with the construction team – it’s a crucial design tool. And for manufacturers like us that want to cultivate collaborative working relationships – it’s an absolute must.

It’s easy to talk about collaboration but it’s quite another thing to put into action. Whilst we are undoubtedly moving in the right direction, more must be done to invest in the early engagement of key manufacturers. In the vast majority of cases, with buildings becoming more complex, planning drawings simply don’t provide enough information.

Manufacturers like us can provide value engineered solutions that will de-risk the design process, increase efficiency and pinpoint where savings can be made. Ultimately it’s good news for all, meaning subcontractors have a better standard of tenders, clients receive the best performance, quality and value – and the project delivery team benefit from a profitable job.