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The GPE vision for Rathbone Square – delivery by digital technology
The GPE vision for Rathbone Square – delivery by digital technology

The GPE vision for Rathbone Square – delivery by digital technology

The £215 million Great Portland Estates (GPE) redevelopment of Rathbone Square in London’s lively West End required an innovative solution for predictability of delivery, all while maintaining the highest quality standards to deliver a building which would last for many decades.

This mixed-use development, comprising office space, retail outlets, and 142 prestige residential apartments all located around a new garden square, was delivered as a result of foresight, collaboration, communication, and a desire to embrace digital technology across the supply chain.

The project required experience, skill and knowledge of 3D modelling and its collaborative digital process to improve the design, construction and operation of the asset. GPE, under the direction of James Pellatt, was an early advocate of digital construction methods, having seen it used on other projects as a way to mitigate risk.

From the very beginning of the project in 2011, GPE were keen to make sure the asset was delivered on time and in budget to the highest quality standards, so they sought the expertise of BIM. Technologies as BIM Coordinator.

GPE had worked with BIM. Technologies previously on the 240 Blackfriars project which was one of only a handful of BIM projects in London at the time. Using digital construction as the core project framework was very new, and was especially rare on such a large, high-profile project in one of the major capital cities in the world. The BIM process has been the consistent supporting thread within the teams, and it is this collaboration that made the project a success.

As this was such a complex project, the use of 3D models for coordination and issue management was of huge importance, and eventually resulted in over 650 models without any issues.

During the project BIM. Technologies developed its Warboard issue management platform to monitor the coordination, which provided a dashboard for GPE and the design and construction teams – allowing clear visibility of progression and encouraging openness.

As the project progressed, BIM. Technologies created a digital model of the apartments providing a virtual reality experience for the design and construction team. They used Oculus Rift headsets to walk through the plant room virtually which allowed any issues to be reviewed at close hand and to check all plant was accessible before the actual construction phase, removing the risk and any opportunity for re-work.

The connected workforce was undoubtedly the driving force behind this project, and it was this connectivity, achieved through commitment, collaboration and understanding of the project down to finite detail that has delivered buildings which will be appreciated for decades to come.

James Pellatt, Head of Projects at Great Portland Estates said:

“I am immensely proud of what GPE and our supply chain have achieved at Rathbone Square, it demonstrates the sophistication of the whole project team, resulting in a highly desirable space to live and work.

“We have delivered not only a sustainable building by significantly reducing waste and whole life cycle cost, but the digital built model delivered prior to the physical built asset has led to enhanced soft landings and will simplify future use.”

Rob Charlton, CEO of Space Group, explained that:

“This was one of the earliest BIM. Technologies projects in London. It was a complex project with many challenges. We used technology to support collaboration and manage risk, however, we learnt quickly that technology can only add value with the commitment of the team and a consistent vision from the client.”

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