David Miller Architects (DMA) is one of the first UK technology-led architecture practices to be awarded the BRE BIM Level 2 Business Systems Certification.
The DMA culture has always been based on transparency, openness and collaboration, which is why BIM and digital construction is at the forefront of their daily delivery. Being formally recognised for their BIM work was the next logical step in the development of this vibrant practice.
It is an outstanding accolade for the practice and its work; it means that DMA is the smallest architectural practice to achieve this prestigious certificate.
The BRE BIM Level 2 certification focuses on assessing a business’s capability to utilise advanced 3D modelling tools as well as having the ability to meet UK Government’s standards, preferred working methods and procedures. It also assesses staffing skills levels and internal infrastructure against the requirements of PAS 1192-2:2013 and section 4.2 table 8 of the PAS 91:2013 pre-qualification questionnaire document.
The team at DMA admitted the assessment process was extremely rigorous in ensuring that they met all the requirements of the standards. Internally, the certification process was led by DMA Director Andrew de Silva and Associate Director Tom Murphy and after the assessment was complete Andrew commented:
“We have always believed in the value of measuring systems and demonstrating the capability of our team and our projects, that’s why it was especially important to us as a practice to achieve the BRE BIM certification.
“Working through the accreditation process allowed us to learn a lot about ourselves and how we generate our ideas, which areas we concentrate on the most, and just as importantly, the preparation required in project planning. I have to commend the people we worked with at the BRE, as they gave us the opportunity to expand our thinking and really get into the detail of how and why we do things the way we do.”
The BRE Accreditation process can be quite lengthy and requires an in-depth analysis of working practices, covering all areas of the business surrounding BIM, and ensuring that every stage is Level 2 compliant.
Tom added: “Perhaps our biggest challenge during the process was ensuring our in-house Common Data Environment (CDE) was compliant; as a smaller practice, we are sometimes asked to use someone else’s CDE. We could have gone through the accreditation a lot earlier just as a supplier, but we were determined to show that we had full in-house capabilities.”
DMA is the smallest architectural practice that has gone through the BRE BIM Level 2 certification process and will be the smallest firm, in general, to have achieved accreditation. However, being a smaller practice should not be seen as a barrier as it can allow an opportunity to go through the accreditation process more easily. Smaller organisations are often more agile, and this flexibly is nothing but a bonus in allowing them to work with clients more freely than their larger counterparts.
Sean McCormick, BRE Senior BIM Advisor said: “Congratulations to David Miller Architects for their recent certification which will help them continue developing technology-led design solutions to resolve complex problems on construction projects. Technologies such as the Internet of Things, 3D printing, big data, robotics and machine learning will all have a significant influence on how we build in the years ahead and BIM will be right at the heart of it. “
Tom commented further: “We hope the accreditation demonstrates not only DMA’s commitment to the BIM process, but also that we have been formally assessed and recognised by a third party. For our practice, it means a guarantee that when we say we can meet BIM Level 2, we have the certificate to prove it!”
One of the major benefits of achieving BRE certification means that the practice has more credibility when bidding for future projects. Similar to gaining a Quality Management Qualification, DMA hopes that this will also allow them to reduce the amount of time on pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs) when trying to demonstrate capability.
Since the practice started in the mid-2000s, DMA has always displayed a forward-thinking mentality, and that can be tracked back to their first BIM-led project, the Pool House, which was completed in 2006. It was here where they realised the value of building a fully integrated digital model from which they could directly draw construction information. Some of the workflows from the Pool House project are still with them today in projects like Orchard Village where they have resolved geometric and coordination problems to ensure standardisations and connectivity with contractors and specialist subcontractors by using their digital model.
Andrew de Silva told us: “For us and what we offer to our clients, design excellence is a given, but you need to know what your practice stands for and stay true to that. For DMA it’s all about being technology-led.”