Specialist carpentry and joinery sub-contractor, Atlantic Contracts, secures new project by adopting BIM

Masterson Holdings (Atlantic Contracts)

Meet Atlantic Contracts

Atlantic Contracts is a provider of specialist carpentry and joinery services. It is a division of the construction group Masterson Holdings, which also consists of Getjar Limited (specialists in groundworks and reinforced concrete frames) and Glencoe Plant Services. The group turns over approximately £150 million per annum.

With a head office in Hertfordshire, and storage and distribution centres in the home counties, Atlantic Contracts undertake complex and demanding projects across London and the home counties.

The company has extensive experience of working in both the public and private sectors. It has embraced the changing world of construction procurement, committed to developing long term relationships through formal and informal partnering with its clients and suppliers.


Enhance client confidence, extend capabilities, and build business; with BIM

Carpentry, collaboration, and construction
Part of the formal aspect of such partnering is the adoption of digital practices, enabling greater collaboration and cooperation between contractors, subcontractors, and clients at every stage of the development of a construction project. This collaboration is among the core benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM).

Across the Masterson Holdings group of companies, Simon Copeland, the Group Quality and Environmental Manager, provides guidance and direction in the software they deploy and the industry standards they adhere to, such as ISO 9001 for Quality Management, ISO 14001 for Environmental Management, and ISO 45001 for Occupational Health and Safety Management. Simon 30 years’ experience, mostly in technical roles, within the construction sector. He ensures that the group stays abreast of industry trends, developments and evolving working practices.

“We needed to make an initial move to BIM adoption when one of our projects needed to be based on BIM-compliant drawings,” says Simon. “The client also stated that, moving forward, they would only be placing projects out to tender with BIM Level 2 certified contractors and subcontractors. As an AutoCAD based operation, we knew it was time to change.

We also knew that Symetri, with whom we had a long-standing relationship, would be the ideal partner to guide us through what had to be done to progress both the immediate and ongoing requirements.”


Revit and Navisworks adoption, and a recalibrated approach for the BIM future

Symetri’s consultancy team advised that the first step should be the introduction of Revit – for accurate and precise 3D modelling and visualisation – and Navisworks, which allows stakeholder communication through review of project models and associated data. Symetri trained the design team in both. “As a result of Symetri’s help, and our introduction to the two software packages, we were able to fulfil the immediate project requirements,” says Simon. “Moving from 2D to 3D was a smooth transition for the team. This stage gave us the confidence that we could move into the BIM world relatively easily.

That belief was confirmed when Symetri conducted a BIM Fundamentals workshop for us. They took us through the necessary documents and policies we would need to introduce, such as the LOI and LOD”. The Level of Information (LOI) describes the properties of an object (dimensions, materials and so on), and the Level of Detail (LOD) describes its geometric detail.

The BIM Gap Analysis: Getting in great shape
With an understanding of the basic principles of BIM Level 2 standards, specifications, and the management of information in place, the next stage was to undertake a gap analysis of the company’s systems and procedures.

As a required step along the way to BIM Level 2 Certification, this process-based assessment was undertaken to ensure best practice across Masterson group companies. Areas included: competency, configuration management, procurement management, process control arrangements and risk management across the business and on a project specific basis.

Deep evaluation of processes and workflows
“This was a really thorough process. The basis of the gap analysis is a document that runs over more than thirty pages that stimulates a top-to-bottom review of how you run your design operation, through to construction, and everything associated with it.

The Symetri team didn’t treat it as just a ‘check-list’; they used it as a framework to help us deeply and honestly evaluate our workflows and documentation, and understand the need for BIM practices in removing any obstacles to shared understanding and collaboration across the supply chain. As a business, we were in good shape before this but, as Symetri spotted and helped us rectify a number of non-conformities against the required standards, we ended up in great shape,” says Simon.


Beyond ticking all the right boxes

Symetri helped the design team address a number of areas with a view to creating the written policies required for BIM Level 2 Certification. As family-owned and run businesses, the Masterson Holdings group of companies is organised in a non-hierarchical way. Good ideas rise quickly to the surface and, if they make sense in improving efficiencies and services provided to clients, they are implemented. Within the BIM collaboration chain, however, certain areas are subject to formalised documentation to provide evidence of best practice.

“Symetri created a number of our policies for us. Where there were gaps, Symetri set about plugging them. They took their responsibility to our business to the highest level; almost treating it as if it were their own,” says Simon. “For example, they wrote our BIM policy and statement, our scope of services, our supplier BIM assessment procedure and various other documents that perhaps we could have completed ourselves but it would have taken us far longer. Symetri are BIM experts, and they sorted everything out in the space of just three months”.

Masterson Holdings, encompassing Atlantic Contracts and Getjar Limited, was audited for certification by Lloyd’s Register, and duly gained BIM Level 2 Certification in August 2020.

A clear path ahead
“Our adoption of Revit and Navisworks jump-started our progress from 2D into 3D. After that, we were encouraged to see that much of the process of preparing for BIM Certification was about simply taking the high standards we adhere to across the group and moving them up a gear; with more detail, more easily and readily understood both by clients and by other parties we work alongside on a project,” says Simon.

Proof of best practice
Simon sees an increasing number of BIM capability assessment forms coming in from main contractors, looking for responses on information management, BIM, IT assessments, software and modelling, and related areas.

“We are no longer at any disadvantage compared to our main competitors. More opportunities are open to us and more organisations are interested in working with us. Across our group, we all feel that we’ve not only validated our competencies for the digital world of the construction sector, but we can now prove our adherence to best practices in an industry-wide recognised way,” says Simon.

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