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Employer: Willmott Dixon Interiors

Project: 39 Victoria Street, Westminster

IT-based building information management modelling was at the heart of Richard Purcell’s full-scale refit of an 11-office block as a modern working environment.

It allowed dimensions to be verified, the design coordinated, and potential service clashes detected. Richard also used it to generate virtual reality presentations that let the client and the supply chain understand the project before any construction work began. On completion, the client awarded Richard its Leeds HQ scheme.

Vacant for two years before Richard Purcell undertook a full-scale refit of its 96,000sqft of office space, this 11-storey Department of Health block was fitted out with flexible spaces to suit agile working and hotdesking. With services key to creating and maintaining a modern working environment, level 2 BIM (building information management) was most definitely a project plus.

Yet there were big obstacles to BIM on this project. Richard’s own expertise in generating and holding building information in a collaborative 3D IT environment stood out among the almost total absence of BIM skills across the client team and the supply chain. With the client lacking any asset information on the building’s operations and maintenance, he had a point cloud survey carried out, laser-surveying the spaces in the existing building to create a digital cloud of geometric data.

As well as using the BIM model to verify dimensions, coordinate the design and detect potential service clashes, Richard leveraged it to generate visualisations, animations and virtual reality presentations to help the client understand the project. The resulting enhanced grasp of the scheme allowed the modification of some material finishes and was a valuable quality management tool as supply chain partners could get up to speed on the project before any construction work began.

The rationalised offices have a lower desk to staff ratio than in the department’s previous head office setup, which has attracted interest from other government departments. As soon as this fast-track fit-out was handed over, with the impressive distinction of no defects at all at practical completion, the client awarded Willmott Dixon the contract for its Leeds HQ on the understanding that Richard would be its senior operations manager.