Orbit wins award for ‘innovative’ building information project

Orbit has received the ‘Most Innovative Property Service’ Award from the National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) for its work to create a digital Building Information Model (BIM) of three high-rise residential blocks.

Kelly Lee, Building Safety Leader for Orbit and Aleksander Gil, Managing Director for RVT Parametrix Ltd at the National Housing Maintenance Forum (NHMF) Awards

Working with Parametrix, a series of on-site surveying activities were carried out at Becton Place in Erith, London, including laser scanning, thermal drone operations, intrusive building investigations and risk assessments to create a highly detailed ‘digital twin’ of the estate.

These 3D building replicas act as smart databases, which hold 2D plans, schedules, specifications and schematics following the ISO 19650 BIM standard – the international standard for managing information over the whole life cycle of a building.

The model can also be used for supporting tenders with accurate information, providing contractors with exact building detail and overlaying fire safety information for customer and fire service usage.

In her ‘Building a Safer Future’ report, which was published in May 2018 in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, Dame Judith Hackitt recommended the introduction of a ‘golden thread’ of information for all higher risk residential buildings.

Kelly Lee, Building Safety Leader for Orbit, commented: “When we embarked upon this project it was for the purposes of developing our approach to the golden thread, however the wider benefits of understanding our buildings inside and out quickly became apparent.

“Not only have we created a robust knowledge base that will help to keep residents safe, but the information gathered has allowed us to rethink our approach to our buildings in terms of futureproofing and reinvesting.

“As the project expands out across further buildings it will have significant impact on the business with savings across various areas such as responsive repair, cost reduction through increase in first time fixes, supporting works procurement to gain exact cost responses, lower capital outlay due to efficient planned programmes, and reduction in employee time travelling to site for minor data gathering.”

Following the success of the project, Orbit will be rolling out the approach for all of its remaining 19 buildings that fall within the scope of the Building Safety Act of over 18 metres tall, alongside the creation of a new common data environment where the information can be stored, updated and shared across relevant teams.

As well as winning the ‘Most Innovative Property Service’ Award at the NHMF Awards, the project also received ‘Delegates Choice Award’.