Met Office Data Centre

  • Location

    Exeter, Devon

  • Client

    Met Office

  • Value

    £20m

  • Completion

    2016

  • BREEAM Rating

    Excellent

BIM

Overview

The Met Office Data Centre houses a new £97 million supercomputer, along with flexible office space for staff and academics in a separate collaboration building.

We delivered the project using a full BIM Level 2 programme, complying with the latest suite of BS and PAS 1192 standards. A tailored project plan to suit the needs and of both the client and the main contractor Willmott Dixon was key to the BIM programme’s success.

Clash Detection and Interoperability

With the collaborative building’s façade leaning backwards at 60 degrees, the project was complex. A key element was to use clash detection to show any clashes between architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical models.

Revit (our preferred 3D modelling software) was used to export each model into an Industry Foundation Class file (a universal file type that works on all software platforms) meant all parties could work on the model simultaneously.

The Solibri Model Checker then allowed us to combine these models to carry out a coordination check, developing particular ‘rulesets’ that optimised the clash detection process and ensured no details were missed.

Clash Reporting and Collaboration

All coordination errors were reported to an online server, ‘BIM Collab’. This improved the efficiency of reporting, allowing each team member on the project to download the clashes directly into Revit to rectify and sync back onto the cloud.

Advances in our modelling software meant that clashes were also able to be viewed on mobile devices by all parties. This not only improved collaboration between project teams, but saved money on site before construction started.

Facilities Management through COBie

The Met Office wanted to continue using BIM for facilities management once the building was in use. By adopting a Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBie) data rich modelling approach, we identified which items were important to client through an Asset Information Requirement (AIR).

Full supplier information for each asset was integrated into a COBie Exchange 6 report. By working closely with the supply chain, not only were we able to produce an excel report containing the information, but also link directly back to the Revit model for future use by the client.

All information was filtered through the common data environment platform, accessible to the client and all project team members.

Initially we struggled to understand the true value of a Building Information Model. We worked closely with Stride Treglown and Willmott Dixon to develop our understanding and act on the benefits.

Working directly with Stride Treglown allowed us to establish early engagement with our CAFM supplier, ensuring our vision for the future use of the information outputs from the model would be of long term value, with a more agile management of our assets.

Perhaps most importantly is that the use of BIM provides the opportunity for future contractors to federate their work and offer more efficient planned delivery of change activity as the site evolves.

Ralph James, Met Office

Video courtesy of Willmott Dixon Ltd.


Architecture

We were appointed to take the project from RIBA Stage 3 to completion. A key part of the client’s brief was to provide a building which not only meets their current needs, but also enables a programme of change to be delivered as the site evolves in the coming years.

Given the challenging design, which includes a hexagonal floorplate, a non-vertical façade to the collaboration building and high levels of servicing and security for the IT hall, a peer review of the concept was crucial at the outset to:

  • provide clarity on the extent of design development required
  • set out the parameters for collaboration and coordination
  • understand and minimise any residual risks and any outstanding planning matters
  • identify gaps in contract information
  • identify opportunities to improve efficiency and buildability
  • ensure cost certainty at the earliest opportunity

The complexity of the project demanded close collaboration between team members and, to support this, Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 was employed.

Creating a combined model that included all the architectural, structural, mechanical and electrical information enabled any issues with coordination and clashes to be identified and resolved in the ‘virtual world’, saving valuable time and money on site.

Working with the Met Office and contractor Willmott Dixon, the Building Information Model has also been developed to become a valuable asset for facilities management and change management.

Project Team
Stride Treglown – Project Architect, BIM Lead, Landscape Architect, Planning Consultant
Willmott Dixon – Contractor
Arup – M&E
NG Bailey – M&E
WSP – Structural Engineer
Haley Engineering – Structural Engineer