Has BIM Changed MEP Design Workflow?

The MEP design and installation workflow involves a number of stakeholders and parties that are collectively responsible for overseeing a series of stages that will result in the building engineering (or building services) to be planned, designed, spatially coordinated, fabricated, installed, commissioned and maintained. Typically, the building services design stage follows the initial architectural design, from which point it can usually be designed in parallel with further architectural as well as structural design changes.

The engineering teams that typically design building services solutions are usually in one of two groups. The first group is typically the building designer, also known as the consultant engineer or the design engineer. It is the role of the design engineer to work closely with the architect to develop the overall building engineering elements including lighting, cooling, heating, drainage, waste, fire prevention and protection services. Traditionally, the design engineer will not be involved in the detailed spatial design of these services. Instead the detailed spatial design and installation would normally be handled by the second party, known as the MEP contractor (M&E contractor) or trade contractor. The MEP or trade contractor is responsible for evolving the initial consultant design into a workable and installation-ready building services solution.

In some instances, there is also a third party involved – the fabricator, who will be responsible for creating MEP components such as ductwork or pipework elements or in some cases pre-fabricated solutions that consist of pipework, electrical ladder, plumbing, ductwork and sprinkler within a frame (module) that is delivered to site for installation in risers, plant rooms and corridors.

This article is concerned with the role of the MEP designer and MEP contractor, specifically, the focus for this article is to discuss how BIM (Building Information Modelling) has influenced the MEP design workflow between the designer and the contractor.

Current MEP BIM Workflow Options

Essentially there are five different MEP design workflow scenarios that currently exist and these will be discussed in the article. They are as follows

  1. Traditional 2D design and 3D BIM coordination
  2. 3D MEP design and 3D BIM coordination
  3. Designers 3D BIM design and coordination
  4. Contractor 3D BIM design and coordination
  5. General contractor 3D model coordination

Traditional 2D Design and 3D BIM Coordination

Considering the traditional MEP approach first, this is where a consultant will create 2D design outputs, which include 2D plan layouts, 2D sections and MEP (M&E) schematics. This will indicate the design intent for the building based on the use specified by the architect. Once the consultant has completed this design information he will pass on the information to an MEP contractor who will be responsible for creating the MEP coordinated solution. This article assumes that the contractor will create a spatially coordinated 3D BIM model using BIM tools such as Revit MEP and Navisworks. The contractor will use the design information and create an installation-ready solution which takes into account installation, efficiency of pipe runs or duct bends, space for lagging and hanging the services, access for post install maintenance and so on. This traditional MEP approach, from a 2D design to a 3D model has existed for the past couple of decades and allows the contractor to add additional information into the model that can be used by him and by facilities management companies after the installation. The use of the 3D tool such as Revit is of course useful as it is an intelligent model, with parametric components and therefore, as well as allowing the contractor to identify and resolve clashes before any time is spent on site, it has other uses and applications where model ‘information’ is used and relied upon.

3D MEP Design and 3D BIM Coordination

The second workflow method is more directly influenced by BIM. As the MEP designer, one will use BIM tools to create a 3D model and associated drawings during his initial design phase (rather than a 2D design) before this information is handed across to an MEP trade contractor. The MEP design engineer will typically create a 3D model due to customer specifications and requirements for a BIM model, as in many cases a federated model (which combines the other disciplines in a single model) is needed by the client for a weekly review and hence the MEP consultant cannot simply provide a set of 2D drawings. In this workflow, the BIM model is effectively a 3D representation of what would otherwise be a 2D deliverable. It will therefore consist of areas where further changes are still needed by a trade contractor. Such examples include the use of library items rather than specific MEP trade contractor procured elements that may be used in the model. The creation of a 3D BIM model at this stage by the consultant is also subject to multiple architectural and structural model changes. These have a knock-on effect on the MEP solution as it is effectively a work-in-progress model for MEP with constant architectural and structural changes and therefore will never have the same level of efficiency, in terms of layout of services, compared to an MEP model where the architectural and structural models are frozen. The downside of this workflow method is of course the extra time taken to create a BIM model by the consultant team. Added to this issue is the fact that 3D modelling expertise and skills within a consulting engineering team can sometimes be limited. Once the consultant completes his model and passes it to the MEP contractor, the decision as to whether the contractor should adapt the model or start the modelling process from the start is really based on the quality of the model to start with. In reality both scenarios will exist, in some cases the MEP trade contractor is better off starting the BIM model again using only the 2D design drawings that are created by the consultant from his BIM model, while in some rare cases the trade contractor will use the consultants MEP BIM model and adapt and modify it with his changes, to make the model ready for installation. In both scenarios, the MEP contractor will always look to make value engineering additions and changes to the model as well as procurement led model changes.

Designers 3D BIM MEP Design and Coordination

The third MEP design workflow method is a more pure and direct consequence of BIM and it actually also starts to promote the benefit of BIM more significantly as it gets closer to ‘virtual design and construction’ aims of the industry. In this workflow the approach of design engineer is to create a BIM model that is spatially coordinated and that is using the actual specified components for the project. Typically, the consultant during this phase will have a longer period of time to create the model, allowing him to absorb the changes from structural and architectural disciplines as they progress through the detailing stages. The fact that the model is then coordinated with the structure and architecture as well as other MEP services allows the consultant to create a model that is being created according to an installation standard that is now more usable by an installer or fabricator. When the model in this workflow method is passed on to a contractor, the contractor may still wish to make final changes and adjustments in a round of value engineering. Typically, the contractor will use the same model in this workflow and make changes to the model provided by the MEP design consultant. Additionally, it is probable that the consultant engineer will not have provided invert (height) levels or dimensions from gridlines and walls for the MEP services on his drawings. In such cases the contractor will therefore have to create more detail in the drawings, but again contractor could use the consultant’s drawings and progress them in more detail for his/her use.

Contractor 3D Design and Coordination

The fourth workflow method involves MEP contractors (or trade contractors) taking on the design responsibility as well as the coordination responsibility. Whilst the coordination responsibility is an established skillset with experience of developing detailed and comprehensive vertical and horizontal strategies for coordination being part of the contractor’s core skills, the design responsibility is a new element for the contractor. This was traditionally known as a design and build approach; however, it is now becoming increasingly common especially in cases where companies are seeking to have rapid design and detailed coordination completed. Typically, the components to be used will be specified by the end client, allowing the contractor to design and model before creating his detailed coordinated drawings from the model, to allow installation and fabrication if needed. The reason that this particular workflow method is not the most popular at present is simply due to the volume of work in the market and also the design responsibility that also has to be assumed as in most cases, contractors may not wish to accept this risk or indeed they may not have the resources to complete the design work. For this workflow method to exist at all means that the contractor has to employ design staff directly and provide design liability insurance to allow him to design the MEP solution as well as install it. The benefit of this workflow option is obviously the time efficiency that is realized and therefore the cost benefit, as the cost of utilising contractor resource will usually be lower compared to expensive design engineering firms. However, it does come with some risk as the design expertise that design engineers possess cannot be easily replicated by contractors, even if they do employ in-house teams.

General Contractor 3D Model Coordination

The fifth variant of MEP design workflow is based on creating coordinated MEP models similar to the traditional 2D to 3D approach but for a different customer group. In this workflow method a 2D architectural, structural and MEP design that is to be used by a main contractor (or general contractor) is then progressed into a 3D BIM model by the contractor to assess the validity and completeness of the model. In some cases, some of the design elements from the different disciplines may be presented in 3D while others may be in 2D. It is also possible that different disciplines may provide models in different software that may or may not present software interoperability challenges. In such instances, a team will typically be employed to use the design data from architectural, structural and MEP designers to then create a 3D BIM model based on actual data. The aim is to identify any inconsistencies in the design data by identifying any clashes in the model, allowing the contractor in such a workflow method to effectively mitigate his/her potential risk. Any problems found within the model are usually passed back to the designers to make amendments to their 2D design for subsequent changes to the 3D BIM model which is ultimately owned by the main contractor. This BIM workflow solution is becoming less common now because MEP contractors and designers are creating BIM models themselves.

In summary, BIM has introduced a number of new workflow variants to the MEP design services sector. The previously tried and trusted method of a 2D design, from a designer, that was developed into a 3D coordinated MEP model by contractor is no longer the workflow solution used as firms now have many other variants and alternatives available. Along with BIM Modeling, other developments in the construction sector, including collaborative online working and work sharing have also contributed to the uptake levels for BIM and impacted the changes to workflow.

In terms of the MEP design workflow options, the most popular of these as we move forward will be the third option, which is the consultant creating a BIM model that is spatially coordinated, or the fourth option which is the contractor taking on the design responsibility as well as creating the coordinated BIM model. Both options are effectively a change to the traditional approach for MEP design and both point to a single source for the model and drawings as opposed to the historical two-tier design approach. All options discussed will require competent BIM coordination and MEP modelling teams and resources. XS CAD, with its large MEP coordination team and MEP engineering design team, which consists of mechanical and electrical engineering professionals, is well placed to deal with such projects for companies based in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As all are regions where BIM is now the preferred solution, XS CAD, with more than 16 years’ experience and a presence in each market is an ideal option for such companies.

Successful Design Management for the 6 Stages of Design of Infrastructure and Building Projects

Design Management

Design Management seeks to establish project management practices that are primarily focused on enhancing the design process. For Infrastructure and Building projects the successful implementation of Design Management throughout the entire Project Life Cycle can represent the difference between a superior outcome for the project in terms of Quality, Timing, Cost and Value or failure, given the complexity of Infrastructure and Building projects in today’s environment.

Design Management is however primarily focused on the Design Process within the project framework and as such is only a part of the overall Project Management of a project, albeit a critical part of the project.

If you are going to be a successful Design Manager and achieve superior outcomes for both your clients and your own business, you cannot manage design haphazardly and expect consistent results. You must manage design projects by undertaking a proven stage by stage process. This brief article outlines those stage by stage processes and gives the Design Manager a guide to successfully design managing Infrastructure and Building projects. The Design Management role is considered in this article in the context of an in-house or consultant client side Design Manager and not a Design Manager within the design team itself. It is also on the basis of a fully documented Design and Construct only contract.

Stage 1: Early Design Management Involvement-Statement of Need

The output for this stage will be a Design Report that will directly feed into the Client’s Statement of Need and overall Business Case.

Early involvement to the Project Life Cycle is important but this may need to be reinforced with the Client to appreciate and understand the benefits this will provide. There are several key tasks during this stage:

1.1 Obtaining and Assessing all the available key design Information

  • Collation of all available data and information
  • Visit the site
  • Review contract as related to design aspects
  • Review the level of the design that has been prepared to date
  • Evaluate information and highlight critical issues
  • Review findings with Client
  • Assess the team capability requirements and resourcing
  • Assess any spend on fees required at this stage
  • Engage consultant as required to provide required technical and project inputs to assist the preparation of the design report.

1.2 Design Risk Review

  • Identify design risks and create a Design Risk Register
  • Identify any Safety in Design issues
  • Analyse and provide suggestions for risk mitigation for ongoing stages
  • 1.3 Design Report Input to Statement of Need
  • Prepare draft of design report input into the Statement of Need report and review with Client
  • Prepare final Design Report component into the Statement of Need report

Stage 2: Design Management during the Outline Design Stage

With the Statement of Need or Business Case formally approved for the project to proceed, the next step is to get the Outline Design Stage going.This stage involves clearly defining the Client requirements and project needs so as to form a sound foundation for the design process to proceed and is the right time to engage consultants and set up the formal Design Management process. The following are the key tasks in this stage:

2.1 Define Client design requirements and project design needs

  • Gather all available and updated project data from the Client.
  • Identify any gaps in the information provided.
  • Meet with the Client to review the information provided and identify additional information required.
  • 2.2 Engage Design Consultants
  • Engage all the key consultants that are required to develop the Functional Design Brief. It is critical that the consultant’s scope of work is clear for the level of input required and clearly noted in their Contract.

2.3 Prepare Functional Design Brief

  • Manage and coordinate the consultant team to deliver the Functional Design Brief that will respond to and record all the client requirements and needs and form the basis to proceed for all disciplines.
  • The Functional Brief will generally be supported by Concept design sketches that provide an outline of the proposed design.

2.4 Prepare the Design Management Plan (DMP)

The DMP provides the roadmap for the way the design will be managed and needs to be prepared at this stage of the design process for best results. The DMP is a component of the Project Management Plan prepared by the Project Manager.

The key Design headings in a DMP are as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Project Overview
  • Objectives
  • Process and related procedures
  • Status
  • Documentation & Deliverables Schedule
  • Value Engineering
  • Reviews
  • Change Management
  • Independent Third Party Checks, Permits
  • Quality Management
  • Client Approvals
  • Close Out & As Built Record

2.5 Outline Cost Plan

  • Manage and coordinate the development of the Outline Cost Plan with the Quantity Surveyor, with input from all the relevant consultants.

2.6 Identify Design Risks

  • Identify Design Risks within the overall Risk Management framework.
  • Analyse and manage risks and update the Risk Register, design out risks where possible.
  • Ensure Safety in Design requirements are followed.

2.7 Value Management

  • Arrange a Value Management workshop. Value Management is a systematic review of the essential functions or performance of a project to ensure that best value for money is achieved. It takes an overall view of the function of the project as well as capital and recurrent costs.
  • Prepare a Value Management Report and implement recommendations.

2.8 Project Approvals

  • Outline and define the planning approval process and coordinate with the design process requirements.

Stage 3: Design Management during the Schematic Design Stage

With the Outline Design Stage formally approved for the project to proceed to the next stage, the next step is to get the Schematic Design Stage going. This stage involves developing the design across all the disciplines in response to the approved Functional Design Brief. The following are the key tasks in this stage:

3.1 Manage the Development of the SchematicDesign

  • Manage the team in developing the Schematic Design.
  • Monitor the compliance of the Schematic design with the Functional Design Brief.
  • Review Design Programme and coordinate with overall project programme.
  • Coordinate the development of the Schematic Design with the project procurement process.
  • Manage the preparation of the Schematic Design Report which contains drawings and outline specifications for all disciplines.

3.2 Schematic Design Cost Plan

  • Manage and coordinate the development of the Schematic Cost Plan with the Quantity Surveyor, with input from all the relevant consultants.
  • Identify any major design decisions to the Quantity Surveyor that could influence cost.

3.3 Identify Design Risks

  • Identify Design Risks within the overall Risk Management framework.
  • Analyse and manage risks and update the Risk Register, design out risks where possible.
  • Ensure Safety in Design requirements are followed.

3.4 Value Engineering

  • Arrange a Value Engineering Workshop, including external peer reviewers to negate any “built in” resistance to change and get a fresh perspective
  • Prepare a Value Engineering Report and present to the Client and implement approved Value Engineering recommendations within the Schematic Design Report or in the detailed design stage as appropriate.

3.5 Project Approvals

  • Review and update the planning approval process and coordinate with the design process requirements.
  • Manage the submission of any required Planning Approval Applications.

3.6 Update the DMP

  • Review and update the DMP as required catering for the current project circumstances.

Stage 4: Design Management during the Detailed Design Stage

With the Schematic Design Stage formally approved for the project to proceed to the next stage, the next step is to get the Detailed Design Stage going. This important stage involves developing the design to tender and construction across all the disciplines in response to the approved Schematic Design Report. The following are the key tasks in this stage:

4.1 Manage the Development of the Detailed Design

  • Manage the team in developing the Detailed Design ready for tender including as required coordination meetings between disciplines experiencing coordination difficulties and the exchange of progress design drawings and specification for proper inter-disciplinary coordination.
  • Manage changes and variations.
  • Monitor the compliance of the Detailed Design with the Schematic Design Report, Value Engineering recommendations and the Functional Design Brief.
  • Review Design Programme and coordinate with overall project programme
  • Coordinate the development of the Detailed Design with the project procurement process including early issue of documents to the Quantity Surveyor to start the Bill of Quantities. Any “shortcuts” in the deliverables to accommodate the tender programme need to be fully understood and agreed
  • Coordinate the inputs to the development of the Contract documents being prepared by the Project Manager
  • Consider the requirement for lead disciplines that are producing background and base drawings, such as architects on building projects, to complete these ahead of the supporting engineering disciplines, so as to allow the supporting disciplines adequate time to complete their dependent work. The team cannot realistically work effectively all in parallel to deliver all at the same time without some lag with the lead discipline. It also allows time for the lead consultant to review the documentation from the dependent disciplines. Allow adequate time in the design programme for this lag in completion and coordination.

4.2 Detailed Design Cost Plan and Pre Tender Estimate

  • Manage and coordinate the development of the Detailed Cost Plan with the Quantity Surveyor, with input from all the relevant consultants.
  • Identify any major decisions to the Quantity Surveyor.
  • Prepare for the Pre Tender Estimate (PTE).
  • Take any required action if the PTE is in excess of the Detailed Design Cost Plan.

4.3 Identify Design Risks

  • Identify any additional Design Risks within the overall Risk Management framework.
  • Analyse and manage any remaining risks and update the Risk Register, design out risks where possible
  • Ensure Safety in Design requirements are followed

4.4 Peer Review and Value Engineering

  • Arrange for the drawings and specifications that are being prepared for Bill of Quantities or that are at 90% completion to be issued for external Peer Review to review the “tender readiness” of the tender documents for each of the disciplines. This is also the time to review the consistency of the presentation of the documents across all disciplines and the adherences to project protocols such as title sheet formats, sheet sizes, drawing extents and overlaps, drawing scales, document numbering and revision notation.
  • As part of the Peer Review, Value Engineering of the detailing within the tender documentation should be undertaken at the same time to ensure the detailed design is the most efficient possible.
  • Manage the peer review responses and issue to the team to respond to the comments and incorporate the recommended and agreed comments or mark ups. Allow adequate time in the design programme for this important process.

4.5 Project Approvals

  • Review and update the planning approval process and coordinate with the design process requirements.
  • Manage the submission of any required Planning Approval Applications.
  • Obtain any required certification from the consultants.
  • Manage any required inputs to obtain the required Planning and Building approvals.

4.6 Update the DMP

  • Review and update the DMP as required to cater for the current project circumstances
  • 4.7 Tender Readiness Report
  • Prepare Tender Readiness report to the Client recommending issue to tender including any project issues or risks and the PTE.

Stage 5: Design Management during the Tender Stage

With the Detailed Design Stage Tender Readiness Report formally approved for the project to proceed to Tender, the next step is to arrange the design documents to be issued for tender. The following are the key tasks in this stage:

5.1 Prepare Design Documentation for Tender

  • Manage the team in delivering the documents as per the DMP at the required time in the required hardcopy and soft copy formats to the required locations.
  • Collate the required document transmittals.

5.2 Housekeeping

  • Take the opportunity to catch up with housekeeping of files on the server, in local drives and hardcopies.

5.3 Tender Technical Queries and Clarifications

  • Manage all incoming tender technical queries and clarifications during the tender period and arrange responses from any of the team where required.
  • Participate in any Tender clarification meetings with the contractor as requested by the Project Manager.

5.4 Addendums

  • Manage any design and documentation requirement for addendums that are required due to omissions from the Tender due to time constraints or from new Client requirements.

5.5 Tender Evaluation

  • Manage all required technical tender review and evaluation inputs from the team to allow the tender to be evaluated from a technical perspective.
  • Where required prepare a technical evaluation report and deliver to the Project Manager.
  • Participate in any negotiation meetings where technical matters require further clarification and arrange appropriate technical inputs from team.

5.6 Manage Consultants

  • Manage the finalisation of design related fees and any outstanding variations and claims.

Stage 6: Design Management during the Construction Stage

With the Tender formally awarded and on the assumption that the Project Manager will typically manage the construction phase delivery of the project, then the role of Design Manger will generally be reduced during this stage to a support role only or where required due to incomplete or ongoing design development resulting from client variations or changes made during tender negotiations. The following are some of the key tasks in this stage:

6.1 Issue Approved For Construction(AFC) documents

  • Manage the team in delivering the AFC documents as per the DMP at the required time in the required hardcopy and soft copy formats to the required locations.
  • Collate the required document transmittals

6.2 Housekeeping

  • Take the opportunity to complete the housekeeping of files on the server, in local drives and hardcopies

6.3 Outstanding Design

  • Manage the team in delivering any outstanding design due to client changes or changes resulting from tender negotiations

6.4 Manage Contractor Design Submissions

  • Subject to the complexity of the design, assist the Project Manager to manage the team in reviewing and responding to any contractor designs.

Design Management in Action

The above methodology represents a general approach for Design Managing Infrastructure and Building Project. This methodology has been applied successfully to numerous projects undetaken by the author, however as any Design Manager will know, every project is different and every design and project team is generally comprised of different team members.

The key to making the above methodology work is studying, applying and start implementing it to suit your particular project. It offers focus and a clear direction for any design for an Infrastructure or Building project to achieve a superior outcome for your Client and your own business.

Designing Fast Food Retail Interiors

There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a new enough concept and so convenient. So convenient in fact that fast food retailers built their entire outlet, buying experience, service levels and food standards to satisfy the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improved education about nutrition, the need to eat healthy meals and also the vast amount of competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century consumer.

The focus is now on delivering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to linger around and make the outlet part of their weekly or daily routine. So, what does the new brand focus require? Well it needs to demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, an improved buying experience, a nicer seating ambience, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas and improved conveniences.

While the ingredients and the quality of food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the outlet and how the various elements of the interior design impact the brand and therefore elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.

Before we consider the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached outlet or store design to deliver their brand. Luxury brands for example have always designed stores to captivate distinct segments of the market, yet maintained a sense of delivering individuality. Luxury stores almost distinctly appear to be lacking in the amount of merchandise that is displayed and in some cases maintain plain colours and simple soft furnishings to make customers feel at ease. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retailing as they have mastered the buying and ongoing servicing needs of customers in a single outlet. The way that showrooms are designed, allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment which allows them to manage the flow or ‘journey’ from buying a new car, arranging finance, servicing and shopping for parts, while having pleasant and well stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of building outlets that manage distinct needs, encourage loyalty and provide a smooth journey from the initial desire to purchase to sealing the deal.

For architects and interior retail designers, fast food retail design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to reinforce the new brand challenges that retailers are faced with.

The following provides a summary of some of those challenges:

Food Preparation – Providing more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant food area which is well lit, well organised and efficient. Specialist kitchen design that takes into account the food cooking and preparation process is called for, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen layout plans that allow the food preparation process to remain efficient while remaining visibly pleasing and pleasant for customer to see.

The Eating in Experience – The need to provide an efficient seating arrangement, with comfortable seats, while also paying close attention to retail lighting plans and retail flooring plans is so important as it allows customers to feel that they can stay for while, this is in sharp contrast to early fast food restaurants where seating was designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the outlet.

Fixture and Fitting Selection – Interior retail designers also need to focus on other consumer needs such as power points, interactive devices for children and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the ‘fresh food element’ – all important elements that the brand is trying to deliver.

Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their layouts to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. This requires less staff of course but it also calls for the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks that are strategically located within the design of the outlet.

Improved Washroom Facilities – Retail designs and architects have to design washroom facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities that they specify have to reinforce the brand while maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. The retail design drawings that they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environmentally.

Back of House and Waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience that they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, their food storage and their waste, including the customer’s own packaging waste. A store design is not complete without attention to how these aspects are added to the design of the outlet and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and therefore they are also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities.

The designers challenge is therefore vast and rather than allowing for the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools such as Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so that they can create a design that is easily changeable and manageable. Retail BIM modelling also allows for the use and re-usability of Revit families and models that can be used for subsequent stores and therefore ensure some brand consistency as well as design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also allow the creation of 3d retail images and 3d rendered perspective for retail interiors as well as retail exteriors. These are an important and effective way of communicating the store or outlet design during the various design stages that a designer is responsible for.

Whilst the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food quicker and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to elevate the importance of the store design and how that will affect and ultimately promote the overall brand experience for fast food retail now and well into the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is one that is served by a designer that is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone for delivering a design solution that is easy to create, manage, share and communicate.