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Adding Dimensions to MMC

Ciaran Arthur, Strategic Development, and Leo Doherty, Project Director, Suir Engineering
Ciaran Arthur, Strategic Development, and Leo Doherty, Project Director, Suir Engineering

Ciaran Arthur, Strategic Development, and Leo Doherty, Project Director, Suir Engineering

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is a term used to describe several construction methods which differ from ‘traditional’ construction. Advancements in construction technology, software platforms, modular construction, and the Internet of Things are transforming the industry. For example, a growing array of robotics is taking over specialisms such as welding, drilling, and containment to name a few. An IDC report published in January 2020 forecasts that demand for construction robots will grow about 25% annually through to 2023. There are significant advantages to be gained from growing the MMC industry, including better and more innovative designs, environmental & sustainable advantages, schedule performance, improved Quality Control, Health & Safety, and reduced waste. Domestically, the recent announcement of Autodesk 10-year commitment to Technology University Dublin new Design and Construct Centre demonstrates the MMC opportunity further again.

In response to technology and digital advancements across the construction industry Suir Engineering has implemented Modern Methods of Construction (MMCs) into its processes. The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged all in construction to accelerate remote communications while maintaining efficient delivery processes– it has demonstrated how construction digitalisation can have a significant impact. To that effect, Suir Engineering has a dedicated team with a mission to develop its full Technology and BIM capabilities and understand what opportunities it will advance to ‘Succeed by Delivering a Better Experience’.

Some examples of work to date are shared here.

Suir Engineering through an Early Contractor Involvement, ECI framework, collaboratively delivered early stage planning for a hyperscale datacenter. Suir Engineering BIM Manager and Project Manager set about a desk-based construction review of the design using 3D and the 2D construction information to identify opportunities for MMC.

• Quickly the project was broken down into component parts, repeat patterns identified and specifically complex elements were reviewed. In-depth construction knowledge was combined with lean thinking and the power of 3D visualization, to quickly identify key areas of focus in the technical wing of the building.

• For some of the more complex modular concepts, full scale mockups were constructed at Suir Engineering 23,000 sq.ft. offsite manufacturing facility to evaluate and illustrate detailed proposals to clients and other contact partners on the project.

• One month later detailed prefabrication drawings were produced by Suir Engineering BIM Team. The following morning Suir Engineering had the capability to begin cutting and assembling units for installation on site.

 Suir Engineering has a dedicated team with a mission to develop its full Technology and BIM capabilities and understand what opportunities it will advance to ‘Succeed by Delivering a Better Experience’ 

In 2020 Suir Engineering invested in a dedicated workspace to grow and expand its BIM capabilities. With this expansion of knowledge & skills, Suir Engineering puts itself at the forefront of Digital Construction, Virtual Design, and Construction Management. Many of MMC solutions seen by Suir Engineering in the BIM, Planning, Co-ordination, and off-site fabrication areas are afforded by well-developed, highly accurate 3D models. Suir Engineering is currently exploring all project processes to enable enhanced delivery by maximizing BIM & technology workflows. Many projects can be planned and segregated in specialist packages from an early deep dive into the overall design and construction plan. The Suir Engineering Project teams work closely with the BIM team to quickly identify elements that can be delivered more efficiently. A process follows:

• Once areas and activities are identified, feasibility metrics are established to find the best yields from this process.

• Schedule compliance and improvement plans are key to the initial reviews, if substantial improvements are identified, Suir Engineering works with its Client, Design Team, GC & other contactors to evaluate mutual risks and improvements.

• Aspects such as site access, module development, size, & transport options (for larger OSM) are quickly reviewed in the planning and evaluation phase.

In 2018 Suir Engineering introduced the ‘Suir Way’. The ‘Suir Way’ is about bringing the business together through consistent and familiar processes designed to help continuous improvement. Suir Engineering has a dedicated team of experts who work across the business innovating and maximizing process gains, removing unnecessary action’s and reducing waste. The ‘Suir Way’ works through structured, consistent meetings at all four levels of the business, called Tier Meetings. These meetings facilitate dialogue, debate, innovation and empower our people to make changes to ensure a quality build for clients across all domestic & international construction sites and in our Head Office functions. By sharing learnings and gathering KPI data Suir Engineering can identify areas necessary of improvement.

Initially from making small innovative improvements across the portfolio of projects, Suir Engineering has a business wide, consistent improvement plan – some of the projects are shared here.

MMC working in parallel with ‘Suir Way’ encourages innovation and offers our people with an opportunity to identify and share new ways of working. Suir Engineering aims to ‘Succeed by Delivering a Better Experience’ – MMC and the ‘Suir Way’ are leading initiatives to deliver this vision.

 

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