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ARCHIFYNOW > TIPS & IDEAS > BCI Virtual Equinox Mr Frederico Ramos from Aedas

BCI Virtual Equinox: Mr Frederico Ramos from Aedas

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BCI Virtual Equinox was held over three consecutive days at the beginning of May 2021. Designed to connect architects, interior designers and design specifiers with product suppliers. Get a glimpse of the industry insight sessions that were held at this virtual event. Below is a transcript from day one featuring Mr Frederico Ramos from Aedas.

The BIM beyond BIM. A reflection on how digital transformation is impacting AEC industry beyond conventional 3D BIM.

BCI Virtual Equinox: Mr Frederico Ramos from Aedas

Denise Wong

Our first speaker is Mr Frederico Ramos, principal at Aedas, with over 25 years experience, a degree in architecture, a degree in environmental and territorial planning, and projects across five continents. Federico is passionate about architecture and experience in all project stages across a large variety of project categories. As a digitalisation enthusiast, he is often invited to speak in Asia, Europe and Middle East. Today, he will be speaking on the BIM beyond BIM. A reflection on how digital transformation is impacting AEC industry beyond conventional 3D BIM. If you have any questions, feel free to type them into the Q&A tab on the right of your screen. And we will address them at the end of the session. Fred, over to you.

Frederico Ramos

Hi, good morning to you all. Well, first of all, i'd like to thank BCI, and Equinox for inviting me to talk today. So today, over the next 20 minutes, we're going to talk a little bit about BIM and beyond BIM. What is this idea of BIM and beyond BIM and how this is impacting the AEC industry over the conventional three dimensional BIM. So we'll be talking a little bit about the concept of and definitions of BIM. What is this idea of beyond conventional BIM and other BIM impacting the design process, the construction process, the operations and maintenance of buildings, and also why we believe that we could be facing the new paradigm with this idea of transformation and disruption that we’re all facing.

First let me talk a little bit about Aedas. So att Aedas we believe that great design can only be delivered by people that have a social and cultural understanding of the communities that they are designing for. This actually informs our strategy of a global presence with over 1250 talents that are distributed along our 12 global design centers, and in Singapore, we are actually on one north on the metropolis building, occupying two floors with circa 250 people. We offer services on architectural landscape, interior, master planning, graphical design and retail consultancy. And from the period of 2014 to 2019. We have won over 590 International Design Awards. At Aedas Singapore, we have always looked at BIM beyond just BIM. An early adopter of BIM, our first project on BIM was actually back in 2007. And over recent years, we have completed more than 50 projects using BIM. We are often invited by the industry leading software companies to review and comment on their software's before they are released. And we are very proud to be one of the only three companies in Asia that has been invited by Autodesk to participate on the beta test of their new product release for ISO 19 650 and also be the only company in Asia that has ever been invited to participate on the prestigious ARC of transformation program. We have just recently completed our two new IDD integrated digital deliver projects and we are very proud that we’ve been invited by the DCA to submit this one for the 2021 IDD awards. Some of our work includes the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort, the Raffles Auto Restoration, the Star Vista, or the Sand Crawler. And a little bit about myself. As mentioned already before, my name is Fred Ramos. I'm an architect with a second degree on environmental planning. And I have over 26 years of experience in the industry. Being an enthusiast about digitalisation and healthcare. With talks in such diverse places as Budapest, Tokyo, Osaka, Vienna, Coimbra, Stockholm, and Rheas.

So, let us talk a little bit about BIM. So, what is actually BIM. BIM is not the same for everyone. In fact, we don't even agree what is the definition for the acronym of BIM. For some of us BIM stands for Building Information Model, for others, BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. So, for those of us that follow the Building Information Modeling approach, we tend to consider BIM as a process. This is the case of the NBS in the UK or the American Institute of Architects in the USA. For those of us that tend to see BIM, as Building Information Model, we tend to see BIM as a product where the product is actually the model. This is the case of ISO or the building construction authority in Singapore. There is no right or wrong, but if you take an approach where BIM refers to a model, then you need another word to talk about the entire process and this is where it can embody virtual design and construction or VDC as you often also see in the industry.

What are the benefits of BIM? We all know and are familiar with the idea that BIM is a time saver, that BIM is a cost saver, but the benefits of BIM go way beyond what you can see on a BIM enable project. When you look at the worldwide level, you can actually see benefits of BIM in the environment with a reduction of waste that can go up to 50%. In the nation level, you can see benefits of BIM in the level of productivity, where you can increase productivity up to 28% by using BIM. At the developers level, you can see economical advances have been where the GFA construction per square meter can be reduced by up to 8%. And in the process level, you can see huge amount of advances in terms of the quality of the product that you deliver. So you might ask, is BIM the future. Well, in reality BIM has been around for over 30 years, so it's likely not to be the future, if anything BIM is the present, but if you look at BIM as just the conventional 3D BIM that people traditionally associate with BIM, it is quickly becoming the past, because in reality BIM is much more than just 3D geometry as conventionally we refer to it. So, one of these ideas to understand your level of maturity and development in BIM is the maturity BIM levels as establish in the UK. So, the level zero being when you are using a mix of 2D and 3D solutions and the level two as being when you are actually working in collaboration with other consultants sharing models. The goal for the UK industry was to achieve level two by 2016. They then postpone it to 2020. And even so they are struggling to try to implement it all across. Level three is the ultimate goal of BIM, some argue that it is not even possible today with the technology available, some argue that it is and it talks about this idea of integrated in operational data, where everybody is going to be working in just a single model. When you look at it from the ISO, ISO actually went even further beyond this BIM maturity of the UK and they introduced not only these three stages, but they introduced also the layers. They introduced this idea of business layer, information layer, technology layer and standards layer. Meaning that whenever you are actually trying to achieve your stage three, you need to be stage three in all your levels. Another aspect that industry and the tool that industry uses to calibrate them to allow you to understand what is this idea of beyond BIM is BIM dimension. So being the 3D dimension is actually when you refer just to geometry, but then you have the fourth dimension when you have time to it. The Fifth Dimension when you have cost. Sustainability will be the sixth dimension. Seventh dimension facility management and the eighth dimension is safety. I should actually make a note here that some models diverged on the order, usually beyond the fifth dimension, not all models of the same agreement in terms of what is the sequence of dimensions to a point that some of them even talk about this idea of 10 dimensions. But all of this is to point you that there is much more beyond just the three dimensional aspect of BIM that in this dimension is just the first step of it. When you start to take a look and talk about this idea of the fourth dimension, the fifth dimension and safety on site, you need to start to embrace also the concepts of simulation and automation that is way beyond just 3D geometry. And if you go for the seven dimension that is actually BIM for FM (Facility Management), then you enter on a much wider ecosystem of information. In the diagram on the screen, you can see that if BIM information model is just one of these elements, when you bring it into the FM, you're actually including this all kaleidoscope of other information that you need to manage with it. And when you're talking about these digital, when you're talking about BIM for facility management, you start to embrace this idea of digital twins. So, digital twin is basically a digital representation of your life asset that is connected through the real life asset by Internet of Things sensors, and you use it to calibrate and to actually monitor the real life asset performance against your digital twin.

You might be familiar also with the concept of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. So, when you start to talk about BIM for facility management, you go also with this idea of mixed reality that is extremely useful when you are dealing with on site facility management because it allows you to see beyond the wall, beyond the ceiling that facilitates a lot in terms of your operations and maintenance. So, if BIM for facility management talks about BIM for design, BIM for construction and BIM for operation and maintenance, you can even go beyond that by introducing this idea of all lifecycle BIM. Lifecycle BIM is about the idea of leveraging the power of digitalisation to minimise risk and reduce waste, simulate and optimize operations and inform future decisions through all the lifecycle of your living assets. And of course, when you start to look at all your life asset, you then need to consider the question of data, data becomes paramount. And data preservation becomes a big issue, bringing you to introduce the concepts of data integration and integrity that lead based on current data environment BIM as a single source of truth, or also the notion of data interoperability, where you will be dealing with things such as open BIM, and BIM data management all to try to avoid waste. And if you're talking about data and preserving data across the process, then standards robustness became fundamental. You have the ISO standards that deal with international standards to auto manage information in the BIM process, you have the building smart IFC standard that helps different BIM platforms to communicate among each other. And you have COBie, which stands for Construction Operations Building Information Exchange, that is a standard that helps BIM platforms to talk with facility management and operation management. So, to talk between BIM, and facility management software.

Also, one idea that we have seen a lot lately is this idea of trying to combine the visual design construction operation with the smart city for a full integration of data. So this is the idea where you're actually leveraging on digital twins workflow, and all the data that you have accumulated in that, to integrate with your geographic information systems that are the base of your Smart City programs. With all of this, many of us start to see a lot of the artists actually started to discuss this idea that will see the BIM managers become the future project managers. And actually, when you look at it, if you look at the expanded notion of BIM, and beyond conventional BIM, you're looking at data to do with lifecycle. So, when you are a BIM manager, you are actually managing all the process and all the data that occurs through the lifecycle. So actually, in reality, managing all the project and all the process. So in fact, you are doing a little bit of project management. So let us look at our others, the BIM is impacting the design process. So when you talk about actually adopting BIM, it's a big transformation in terms of the way that you think. So it's not only going from drafting to modeling, you then go beyond that, and you start to use algorithm needs to inform the way that you design. And the moment that you do that, you can actually embrace this new notion of data driven design. So the first step of data driven design could be considered the evidence based design, evidence based design is where you use the power of computers to leverage big data. And this will allow you then to actually have a much more informed decision making process on your design process.

The next step is actually what we call the performance based design. And for us architects, we are very familiar with this idea that form should follow function as stated by Louis Sullivan. But if you adopt a performance based design, form should then follows performance and not so much function. And the steps within performance based design could include paramedical design, algorithmic design, generative design or evolutionary or logarithmic design. And all of these is actually to ensure this principle of the form follows function where you adopt what design strategy that informs your design option rating. And other BIM and BIM beyond BIM impacts the construction process. When looking at the on site construction, you have designed for manufacturing, and you have of course BIM to field. But if you go for partially off site approach, you will then be talking about the traditional, conventional prefabrication, but also the modular construction that can bring you up to 45% in time reduction. If you go beyond that, we can talk about assembly and when you talk about assembly, you're actually talking about this idea of prefabricated piece, prefinished volumetric construction that allows you to have complete models and portions of the building being prepared outside and bringing and install on site. This will allow you a potential in terms of time reduction of up to 60%. But the last step of it is actually the idea of 3D printing. And 3D printing can allow you a time reduction in the order of the 70% with a potential cost reduction up to 80%.

How is then BIM and beyond BIM impacting the AFM process. Well, in recent times we see that the asset operation has evolved dramatically. It's going digital, its going integrated, its leveraging more and more on monitoring technologies its using artificial intelligence, data analytics and robotic process automation to optimize the way that we manage the buildings, all of it leveraging on digital twins. So when you use BIM, BIM actually allows the information to be digitally structured and captured along your process. So it really optimises the process. It enables predictive maintenance, it reduces the risks in terms of downtime, and safety risks, it's actually reduced the cost of maintenance. And one that I particularly like is this idea of increased transparency of the facility management through greater intelligence and insights. So this, we believe, could be bringing us to a new paradigm. So what if with this technology and enhancements and the big data and user environment, we could be at the verge of a new paradigm, a new paradigm where we will see a skill shift that will lead to new players and new type of players, that will be a mix between a funky designer and a geeky coder, a data scientist that will be technologically savvy, and you'll use cognitive and AI intelligence. And  we'll have people in a new process, that is, designing the system that is going to design the buildings and build the buildings not so much designing the buildings itself. People will be performing new roles, where you will use your knowledge and skills to adjust the requirements in collaboration with the computers, what we like to call co authorship with computers. In a new industry that is going to adopt mass production of limited series leverage on the benefits of design for fabrication, with a one team mentality that is going to align the interests of all parties involved in creating a non dispute culture. In an industry that is 40 users and body users. And I really love this idea: UN-Habitat was able to use Minecraft video game to design public spaces over more than 25 emerging countries. All of this to create the built environment for a better society. Leveraging on this idea and concept of built ecosystems that are founded in circularity, integrating gray and green structures, enhancing urban biodiversity and promoting population wellness. And with that, I conclude, and I will be available for any questions that you might have. You have also my contacts on the screen, just in case you forget now you can always come back to me later.

Denise Wong

Thank you Fred for the very insightful presentation. We have some questions coming.


Q: In which region, in Asia Pacific or Southeast Asia, is BIM practiced or application considered mature, or mandated? And what are the challenges and opportunities for this?

A: Okay, it's a very good question. And, of course, being based in Singapore, I'm a little bit biased for that, of course, but I do believe that there are very good examples on the Asia Pacific, I have worked also in Australia. And I've noticed that in Australia, there is a very good cultural, so in terms of implementation of BIM, while in the Singapore side of it, I would say that you have a top down approach where the government has a very big impact on how BIM is rolled out throughout the industry. In the Australian case, you actually see it a lot being pushed from the market side, from the construction market side and contractors. And it is a lot of times pushed by the needs to become more efficient on the construction side. Another interesting example of BIM in the region is also in Japan. But I say that in general, all over the Asia Pacific you are seeing a growing tendency to go towards BIM and beyond just the conventional three dimensional. And I guess that one of the big challenges that we'll find in the future when you talk about BIM in the APAC region is the fact that APEC in Asia is actually the biggest market in terms of construction, but in terms of representation on the new tools and BIM processes, its still a little bit Europe and US focused, the developers that you have, but I think that in the next years, we will see the rise of representation from Asia and the APAC region in terms of all the models, the strategies, the workflows, and even the software's for BIM, and all that goes beyond BIM in the digitalisation world are going to occur.

Q: What are some of the challenges to enable BIM uptake in developed countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong?

A: I actually work in Hong Kong and in Singapore, and I've used BIM in both markets. When I was in Hong Kong, I was a part of the team that was designing the West cologne terminals. And one of the things that I noticed there was that the approach that we are proposing was quite innovative to a point that we actually met with the industry even before we went to tender to align with the industry, in what strategy to go in terms of how you do BIM. When you talk about Singapore, it's very, very developed and material. So I think both markets are mature, I see a little bit more government push in terms of Singapore and Hong Kong. But I would say that, regardless, even without the support from the government, I believe that in the coming years, the benefits and the disruption of the digitalisation process in the industry will be so high that markets will be forced to adhere to it. And that's why we talk about this idea of the new paradigm that is going to completely revolutionise the way that we operate. And I believe that both Singapore and Hong Kong have all the necessary skills and resources to actually play a big role in leading worldwide in terms of how we approach BIM and digitalisation.

Q: What is your advice for developers who are beginning a journey with consultants who are not BIM ready? So, what is the cost of the implementation of BIM?

A: I'm going to be a bit blunt here. I would say that, as a developer, you should look for consultants that are BIM ready. That should be your first step. It will be very difficult to implement BIM with a consultant that is not BIM ready. And as I demonstrated in my presentation, in reality, the benefits for using and adopting BIM are way too big for a developer to ignore, we're talking about the potential of 8.6% reduction on the cost of gfa. So you should really invest and select your design consultants to be BIM ready. Then if you're starting your journey to BIM, you should ensure that you have in house knowledge about BIM. So first thing you will need to look from some experts that can advise you. There are some companies that provide services for owners. You might need to develop a strategy of implementation for what you want to achieve, by when and how do you achieve it. It's a service that we often consider doing. And we reflect a lot with our partners in the industry, how to move from where we are to where we want to be, for instance, at Iris, Singapore, we have a digitalisation roadmap that plans our targets along two years and where you want to be so developers will have the same for sure. I like how you phrased it, because it is a journey. Because technology is constantly evolving, you also will also be evolving and adapting. But the moment that you actually change it, is going to be a radical, cultural shift. And I think this is the biggest challenge that you have. Because in one way, you will have young people that probably are very familiar with BIM and digitalisation, but not so much experience. And then the other side, you will have people that have a lot of knowledge of the industry, but might not be so familiar with BIM. And somehow in your own company, you need to create the culture where you can extract the best of these two groups of people to implement a successful strategy to ensure the success of you company in five years and in 10 years time.

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ArchifyNow is an online design media that focuses on bringing quality updates of architecture and interior design in Indonesia and Asia Pacific. ArchifyNow curates worthwhile design stories that is expected to enrich the practice of design professionals while introducing applicable design tips and ideas to the public.
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