Hill Partners is an award-winning, industry-leading house builder in the United Kingdom.
We were hosted on-site by Mike Beckett, MD of Hill Bespoke Ltd., (a specialist division of the company working on complex projects) to check out some of their latest innovations using construction document management in the field. Hill Bespoke is an innovation leader for the Hill business and on the cutting edge of technological change in British construction.
We visited Hill’s Anstey Hall Barns, a renovation project that transformed derelict agricultural buildings into eight stunning new barn conversions and a small number of new build exclusive homes. All of the barns date from pre-1948, and two of the barns are historically-listed buildings. In one structure, wood dating back to the fourteenth century was uncovered, while archaeologists have dated the site itself all the way back to a Saxon settlement. Past and future meet as Hill made great use of construction management technology on the project.
Creating a Working Model with a Laser Scan Point Cloud Survey
Early in the project, Mike decided to have the site laser scanned and the results converted into a detailed Revit model. Hill used equipment from Topcon to create a point cloud survey of the site.
"We wanted to fully understand spatially what was going to fit. If the laser could see it we now have it."
Mike Beckett, MD of Hill Bespoke Ltd.
The model itself looks great and gave the team instant benefits. For example, one of the barns had a very slight tilt in the timber structure. If it had gone unnoticed, it would have resulted in the steel not fitting correctly. Thanks to the model this was avoided, and according to Mike, “if we had not used laser scanning on this project, it is likely that this would have been missed, resulting in additional costs and delays to the project.”
Due to the historical significance of this project, it is essential that as much as possible of the original building is kept intact, and a conservation officer helps to ensure this. Hill also has a model of the timber frame from the historical properties, which enables them to work closely with the conservation officer on-site.
Saving Time with Mobile Cloud Access
Senior Site Manager Jamie Robert carries an iPad connected to Autodesk BIM 360to manage the project while in the field. He is able to quickly access any part of the model and see any information while on-site without having to go back and forth to the site office.
"I am saving two hours per day by having the information at-hand and not having to walk back to the office to find plans or pieces of paper."
Jamie Robert, Senior Site Manager
This is clearly a huge amount of time saved for Jamie, and ultimately will save Hill money in the course of this project.
Cloud Collaboration for Conservation
Jamie also sees a huge advantage in using BIM 360 in that he is able to take photos of any timber that has to be changed before, during, and after any work is completed. He can then sign off on the work while on-site and upload the changes to the model in real-time. Work is able to commence without the need for the conservation officer to be present, as the evidence of all changes has been recorded.
Jamie is also able to document all of the underpinning required on-site and provide evidence to the National House Building Council. He has created a checklist within the application, which he follows and documents as the team completes the work.
"Historically all of the changes would have been recorded on paper, going back and forth to the office. Now it takes 30 seconds on my iPad."
Jamie Robert, Senior Site Manager
Finally, Mike explained that although they already had the collaboration technology to comply with BIM Level 2, they did not have a common data environment. This is why Hill became one of the first companies in Europe to start to using Autodesk’s BIM 360 Docs as a construction document management solution.
Congratulations to Mike and his team for taking on a complex and difficult project and for avoiding some big risks. It is great to see the future of making things in UK construction first-hand.