BIM People – Kevin Rudden, President of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland, CEO of GARLAND Consulting Engineers


Kevin Rudden is President of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI). He is also a Director of the European Federation of Consulting Engineering Associations (EFCA). Kevin is CEO of GARLAND Consulting Engineers, an Irish based International firm of Civil and Structural Engineers. discussed Building Information Modelling (BIM), and BIM adoption among ACEI members with Kevin.

When did you become interested in BIM?

As a Consulting Engineer I am always looking at more efficient work practices to ensure we stay at the forefront of the profession. Consequently BIM has been on my radar for the past 12 years. The development of our BIM capability was one of the strategic goals identified in 2010, in the preparation of our 2015 Business Plan.

When did the ACEI first discuss BIM?

The ACEI first discussed BIM in around 2008. Initially, discussions were in the context of affordability of software. In 2012 the ACEI formed a liaison committee with CitA. Currently the focus of the ACEI is on removing any barriers to BIM Implementation as a result of conditions of engagement.

What is the level of awareness of BIM in your sector?

Consulting Engineers in Ireland are not just aware of BIM but are the most advanced practitioners of BIM in the Country. The first national survey to benchmark the level of BIM adoption in Ireland carried out by CitA and Enterprise Ireland in September 2015 revealed that 67% of the construction industry sample possessed confidence in their skills and knowledge to deliver BIM. This figure rose to 90% among Consulting Engineers. In an equivalent study in the UK, The NBS National BIM Report 2015 identified that only 50% of the industry utilized BIM. With the advent of the 2016 BIM Mandate in the UK, it is clear that significant opportunities are available for Irish Consultants in the UK.

While the larger companies may have been the first adopters of BIM, many smaller companies have been quick to see how BIM can significantly increase their productivity and win them larger projects, projects which they would not have been considered for in a 2D world. Once clients become familiar with the benefits of BIM they will expect this level of information from all consultants. In this regard, Information Technology and BIM has been a great leveller in our industry.

What do your members think of adopting BIM?

ACEI members are strong supporters of BIM adoption. They understand the benefits it can bring to appropriate projects but they also recognise its current limitations. BIM may not be suitable for all projects and it is essential we use the most appropriate tools for the given job.

What has helped members with adopting BIM?

A demand for BIM services has required the adoption of BIM. Nothing focuses the mind more than real projects with real demands. A study commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce – Ireland earlier this year revealed that Ireland is the number one destination in the world for US foreign direct investment (FDI), with more than $277 billion invested in Ireland since 1990. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Intel have demanded BIM on their Irish developments.  Intel’s $5 billion investment into a new processor manufacturing facility in Leixlip is Ireland’s largest BIM project to date. Completed last summer, the project involved a significant level of industry training – at its peak over 300 designers were working simultaneously on detailed design coordination within the model. These projects essentially instigated the digital transition in Ireland which has now filtered down through PPP, Design & Build and HSE projects.

What is your organisation doing to help members adopt BIM?

The ACEI has an active BIM Committee which fully participates in CitA activities and liaises between the association and CitA.  We see our role as working in partnership with CitA and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to remove any barriers to BIM adoption. We also fully support CitA’s training initiatives and our member companies provide invaluable case-studies for training purposes. The ACEI strongly believes that it is critically important that training is coordinated across disciplines and not provided in the traditional silos created by disciplines.

The ACEI recently initiated and supported the adoption of the CIC BIM Vision.

“The CIC embraces a BIM enabled world. CIC actively encourages the Irish Construction and Built Environment Sector to continue to take full advantage of current and emerging information and communication technologies to remain at the forefront of the industry in Europe. The CIC views BS1192 PAS1192 and BS8536 as important routes towards standardised BIM implementation.” 

What do you think needs to be done to further ease the integration of BIM into the construction industry? 

We are as an industry struggling to reconcile the collaborative approach needed for successful delivery of BIM projects and our traditional adversarial legal frameworks and more particularly the form of contract, conditions of engagement and professional indemnity insurance which has grown up around it. We need to re-draft the legal approach around how projects can be designed and constructed today and not how it was done 200 years ago. The ACEI is working with CitA to actively encourage all stakeholders, at every opportunity to remove any barriers that preclude and hinder full BIM adoption. With this in mind we are also reviewing within the CIC whether the RIBA work stages adopted in the UK could be utilised in Ireland. As the RIBA stages of work are aligned with PAS 1192, its adoption removes a significant barrier to BIM integration.

The low percentage of overall fees payable at the earlier stages of a project, currently does not allow the full resourcing of a BIM process at project commencement, where it can have a greater impact on the overall project outcome. Generally BIM projects do not cost any more, but require a realignment of work stages to ensure that payment schedules are amended to reflect the earlier work required in the production of a BIM model. This cash flow issue is currently a major barrier to BIM implementation particularly in public projects.

At present a European CEN Committee is tasked with drafting a European BIM Standard.  It is essential that the CEN standard will be very similar to the PAS1192 standards. We do not want another Eurocode scenario; a standard capable of being transposed differently in every member state. As members of the European Federation of Consulting Engineering Associations (EFCA) we are represented on the European CEN Committee and we actively lobby for the preparation of an appropriate standard.

What other technological innovations will support the construction industry’s transfer to digital?

The Internet of Things is changing the way we design and manage our cities. It allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure. This creates amazing opportunities for a more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems.

4D printing has to be one of the most fascinating emerging technologies to allow printed material adapt to accommodate future requirements, using utilising carbon nano responsive materials. This will allow us change building materials or components while in use.

Links: BIM Ireland

Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland

GARLAND Consulting Engineers

The Construction Industry Council

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