Creating a mutual start
In Copenhagen, Denmark, the Niels Bohr Building is starting to take shape, and when finished in 2017, the 53,000-m2 laboratory and teaching facility will accommodate scientists and students from most parts of the world. Since 2010, a consultancy group consisting of Ramboll engineers and architects from Vilhelm Lauritzen, Christensen & Co, GHB Landscape Architects and Collin Gordon Associates has been working together on the complex project. Their remarkably close teamwork and the use of building information modelling (BIM) are preventing the type of collaborative problems that can result in timeframe and cost overruns:
“We work together in an atmosphere of confidence and mutual respect, which means we can challenge and inspire each other across disciplines and companies. If experts cannot listen and learn from each other, it becomes difficult to create a world-class project,” says Kaare Dahl, who is Senior Manager of Ramboll’s Division for Buildings.
He also attributes the success to the fact that architects and engineers prepared the competition proposal together and that 3D technology was used throughout the entire process.
“Our 3D models allowed us all to access detailed information at various stages and do clash detection every fourth week. There is no doubt that our thorough use of BIM has been a huge driver for good teamwork,” Kaare Dahl explains.
Many paths to success
Sinead Mac Namara is unsurprised that the Niels Bohr Building, a project with strong team spirit, also avoids collaborative issues that impact the time schedule and budget:
“Our research shows that early collaboration, mutual understanding and respect for the ‘other’ discipline are all essential factors for good teamwork. All these measures prevent misunderstandings and errors, and ensure that all considerations come into play from the very beginning,” she explains and continues:
“Additionally, emerging tools such as BIM software are starting to play a role in facilitating good collaboration, and this will likely increase over time.”
FIVE DRIVERS OF GOOD COLLABORATION
1 Mutual respect among disciplinary experts
2 Early collaboration, which is particularly important for projects that are large-scale or complex in their technical resolution
3 Emerging tools like BIM software and new contract types such as integrated project delivery (IDP)
4 Establishment of common vocabulary
5 Commitment to mutual teaching and learning
Source: Sinead Mac Namara, Syracuse University, New York.