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25 May 2018
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Simon Francis is head of estates services at London South Bank University
Simon Francis is head of estates services at London South Bank University

11 September 2017 | Simon Francis

Simon Francis reports on how London South Bank University is deploying building information modelling.

Yet another academic year has rolled around and I am again contemplating the start of another term at London South Bank University. And this year there is real positivity in the air. As the university moves up the league tables, expanding our offering and winning a silver award in the Teaching Excellence Framework, my team is seeing months of hard work pay off. With the mobilisation of a new combined campus and residence cleaning and waste contract, the launch of a new timetabling system and the refocusing of our portering and frontline support services, we expect to make a big impact on the experiences of new and returning students.

Most exciting of all, though, we are now deep into the design stage of the new development taking place at the heart of our campus. While we are busier than ever preparing for the new term, we now also have to find more time to spend on our involvement with the design process. While this is challenging, we are delighted have been involved in the design from day one.

I am also continuing to lead on BIM for the project, ensuring that the development is compliant with the PAS 1192 standards. I have support from a team of our academics as we are using the project as a learning opportunity for students. The opportunity for collaboration that BIM delivers is going to bring us the most benefit. 

It is a common misconception that BIM is simply 3D modelling; while the BIM model is hugely important and will change the way we plan to operate and maintain the buildings, it is the collaborative BIM process itself (i.e. the development of the EIR, AIR, Plain language Questions etc), that has allowed for formal FM input into the design process, at an earlier stage, and to greater depth, than would previously have been achieved. It should contribute not only to efficiency of operations, but also reduce the development’s life cycle costs.

Simon Francis is head of estates services at London South Bank University