419 apartments, London 

419 Apartments in London (5D project)

419 Apartments in London (5D project)

Virtechs was asked by Graphisoft (U.K.) to deliver BIM Consultancy services on this £50m+ project. The scheme had been designed by the client’s own in-house architects and consultant structural engineers using traditional 2D design software, but the client recognised the potential advantages of using B.I.M. and commissioned a full ‘5D’ model.

Virtechs began the initial modelling of the project in conjunction with an architectural practice who had experience in 3D design software. As the models began to grow and increase in complexity the design team numbers increased, and Virtechs’ role evolved into one of managing the modelling process and training the members of the design team across all disciplines.

At its peak there were more than twenty people engaged in the modelling process, including architects, structural engineers, M&E consultants and others. Virtechs’ training techniques and process design ensured that everyone engaged in the design developed the appropriate software skills, and also had access to the correct information from other disciplines whilst maintaining full security of their own data.

The result was a full ‘5D’ BIM that

  • Was the source of all the drawings that were submitted for the planning application – the 2D and 3D views of the project increased the understanding of design intent, and probably helped in securing planning permission in what the client described as “record time”.
  • Identified numerous clashes and errors of omission between the different disciplines’ original 2D drawings. Often these types of problems only manifest themselves on site when in the worst cases they can cause stoppages, cost over-runs and even legal disputes. It was gratifying to see the positive reaction from all disciplines when we were pointing out the flaws in their original 2D work!
  • Allowed realistic cost estimates and rapid ‘what-if’ scenarios
  • Produced a Project Programme in ‘Line of Balance’ format.



Conversion of a Grade II Listed Building

Listed building conversion

Listed building conversion

Virtechs was commissioned by a developer client to create a Building Information Model from their original architect’s 2D drawings. We were provided with plans and elevations in ‘PDF’ file format, but it soon became apparent that there were numerous discrepancies in the supplied information.

For example, windows which appeared on the elevation drawings were absent on the plans, the floor levels did not appear to have been measured correctly, and staircases appeared in different positions on different drawings.

Following a site survey to resolve the discrepancies, Virtechs created a 3D B.I.M. from which we were able to supply a full set of construction drawings and schedules. By assigning one of three statuses to every part of the B.I.M. model – either ‘Existing To Remain’, ‘To Be Demolished’, or ‘New Component’ – we were able to produce colour-coded sets of documents under the following headings:

  • Existing structure.
  • To Be Demolished (items to be removed coloured yellow).
  • After demolition (showing gaps in structure after demolition).
  • New work (new items coloured red)
  • Finished project.

Significantly, because the B.I.M., as usual, was created from ‘Objects’ which are both intelligent and parametric, we were able to provide schedule quantities which assisted the client in his planning and purchasing, such as

  • A schedule of new doors and windows.
  • A schedule of plasterboard ceiling quantities, showing the different types (e.g. insulated, moisture-resistant etc.) across each storey.
  • The total area, on a floor-by-floor basis1, of the insulated dry-lining, the lengths of skirting board and plaster coving for each plot, etc. etc..
  • The volume of masonry and other materials from demolished items, so that the disposal could be properly planned and organised.

We were also able to rationalise certain aspects of the design to eliminate wasted space and improve the access into the building.

1 The client’s cost-base was calculated on a floor-by-floor basis in this instance. The quantities could have been provided on a plot-by-plot or room-by-room or any other basis to choice.



Supermarket external view

Supermarket external view

Virtechs was commissioned to produce a 3D Building Information Model of a proposed supermarket for the sole purpose of allowing the proposed store to be visualised by the client. We were provided with numerous 2D ‘dwg’ files from a number of sources, including architectural, M&E, structural, steel frame etc., and – as often happens – once the designs were converted to 3D a number of co-ordination issues manifested themselves.

The output from this project was a BIMx2 file, enabling the viewer to navigate the building on a computer screen or tablet, and the model was complete down to a level of detail that included the cups and plates in the staff canteen!


Luxury Housing

Detached House Stourbridge

Detached House Stourbridge

Virtechs was commissioned by a developer client to create a Building Information Model of a proposed luxury detached house from their original architect’s 2D drawings. We were provided with a single A1 sheet showing plans and elevations at 1:100 scale.

In this case, the client wanted to market the property as soon as possible and was reluctant to spend the large amount of money it would cost to build the house as a show home. Furthermore, once built, there would be no opportunity to make any changes the customer might require, so it made sense to build the house virtually, and provide an output file that would allow potential customers to explore the building thoroughly. Once again, therefore, Virtechs provided a BIMx file for download by any potential customers.

The house was modelled in detail; it included furniture, wallpaper, skirting boards and coving, light fittings and radiators, and even coat-hooks on the shower room wall!

House Plan

House Plan

Remarkably, despite the level of complexity in the model, and despite having to work from paper plans, the project was delivered to the client two days after Virtechs was commissioned. This is a perfect example of the company exploiting David Emery’s world-class computing skills!