On Thursday, November 8th, manufacturers and AEC professionals attended the presentation of Cécile Jolas – who works as an Engineering and BIM project manager at Tipee – at Polantis’ facilities in Paris.
Tipee is not originally specialized in BIM technology. The society based in La Rochelle brings together scientific and complementary technical skills of several researchers and engineers’ profiles. Each one of them is specialized in different sustainable building themes to effectively meet the challenges of the energy transition.
Since 2014, Tipee has developed a digital activity around several axes: the assistance to the owner builder, BIM management and consulting (e.g. the Social Union for Housing or the French Building Federation).
Cécile Jolas coordinates this pole, born with the project presented that morning.
Hold by the Public Office for Housing of the Urban Area of La Rochelle and coordinated by Tipee, Rupella-Reha is a winning project of the “Call for Expression of Interests” launched by the Environment and Energy Management Agency on the theme “buildings and islands with positive energy and minimum carbon footprint”. In 2013, Tipee wins the call for tender.
A small operation to “test” the BIM
This is a small rehabilitation operation of 16 housing in La Rochelle: 1,000 m² for 650 000 € of work budget.
It is since this test operation that all the BIM methodologies that Tipee now uses on a daily basis have been designed. Tipee has accompanied – and been accompanied – on this project by the architect’s drawing board and the owner builder who launched their BIM activity as well.
Between the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, the question whether to throw yourself into BIM was far from being obvious. Cécile Jolas even explains that “at the time, everyone was in total discovery mode”.
The building in rubble, from 1954, is a typical set of the hinterland of the Charente, which offers accommodation from a studio apartment (T1) to a flat of about 95m2 (T5) with a repeating pattern per floor. The building has not been subjected to any modification (on the structure, in terms of energy improvement, …): the 1954 plans are therefore accurate.
The rehabilitation in occupied site presents an objective of 50 square meters per year, the architects will use insulation from the outside.
The 3D scan, mixed results
At the beginning, the decision was made to test the 3D scan technology for the project.
In 2014, the price was prohibitive: the scan costed 8000€ for 1000 meters for the statement of points only (therefore no modeling).
It was also an operation in an occupied site: in order to make this statement the approval of the tenants was needed: this scan constituted an access to the private life. It was also necessary to make appointments with each tenant.
The report of such an operation is nowadays mitigated as it has been time-consuming: a day work was needed for the outside and four for the inside. Every apartment has been stated within an hour.
Indeed, the advantage of such a scan is that it was no longer necessary to return to the site for additional statements but the apartments being occupied, the furniture and the people present sometimes distorted the statements.
Nine versions of the digital model in a year
The general contractor (architects drawing board and design office) spontaneously proposed to build the digital model of the project from the point cloud: it was formed and equipped with software for this purpose. The architect chose to use Archicad while the design office equipped itself with Revit. The project being a public order, it had to be delivered in the IFC exchange format.
The first digital model was not “exceptional” according to the euphemism used by Cécile Jolas. It took 9 versions to be fully exploitable and importable in IFC.
NB: the architect of the operation now intervenes as an expert during days devoted to the exchange of models between different software. It is this project that has allowed him to develop such expertise.
The quality of the models
To realize its digital model the design office Fluides first chose a software that “has been inconclusive” and finally equipped itself with Revit.
At this point of the presentation, Cécile Jolas points out the fact that a complete and detailed model is necessary to make its exploitation possible. For example, in the case of the Fluides model, the integrity of the connectors (above the sheath and the ducts) had to be present in order to make relevant calculations. Cécile Jolas insists on the necessity for manufacturers to provide their BIM objects.
Tipee’s teams have focused on the models’ quality and the need to obtain workable elements for studies… With “perfect” models, the synthesis part was reduced: it simply had to be superimposed.
In order to obtain this quality, Tipee has worked a lot on the working documents given to the project’s stakeholders. For example, the team developed a very precise method for reviewing the model: each element that was not correct was captured and integrated into an excel with the mention of what was wrong so that the designer of the model could make corrections.
The part under construction
The project is today under construction. That part also posed question to Tipee: how to integrate in the BIM the very small companies that work on the site (in separate state bodies)?
The integration was made from a digital and collaboration perspective: the companies were asked to connect on the platform set up by Tipee (on the base of the actual Kroqi of PTNB). They had to submit the data sheets of the products laid down, their commercial references, their guarantees and maintenance notes…
The tree structure of the platform was tailored to the project with the general contractor and each company had a space dedicated to his batch to file his documents.
At first, such an operation required a lot of pedagogy and technical assistance but today these companies see the interest and the value of that digitalization.
The general contractor first since it recovers files very easily: this greatly facilitated the realization of the record of executed works for example.
The project will be delivered in 2019, Tipee keeps on supporting project stakeholders to promote their rise in competence.
In parallel with this project, the design of a tool to optimize energy costs
From this test project, Tipee also wanted to go further by creating a tool more in relation with the primary skills of the team: the optimization of energy costs for new projects or rehabilitation. The project was supported by the Environment and Energy Management Agency .
Generally, and for a project like the one that Cécile Jolas presented, we study two or three scenarios of rehabilitation. The economist, the Fluides office, etc. make their quantitative and simulations on their side.
The tool developed by Tipee reviews many interesting scenarios to better assist the design. Based on the product information found on Edibatec, it incorporates different variables for high floor, walls, windows, low floor, exterior joinery, heating system, etc.
These different products are combined to determine what is the most optimal combination of products and the best cost/consumption/performances ratio. There are a few thousand possible combination that are calculated by this algorithm (which represents around 200 years of work for a human being).
The interest of that tool? Give priority to innovative and efficient products (beyond those that one would have chosen for ease or habit).
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