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SMC Design’s model approach to cruise ship design

Virtual reality reviews can be made from the studio, in person and online – allowing access from anywhere in the world

Historically, design firms, operators and shipyards have had to work hard to convey their design plans and visions to each other, with many aspects of the process taking place in separate silos within the individual organizations. However, with the advent of information modeling (BIM), a more collaborative approach is possible, as common models can be used for all aspects of vessel design.

Accuracy improves when these various sources of information are put together to create a unified model, which includes everything from aspects of architecture, steel and heating, ventilation and air conditioning to entertainment and lighting designs.

SMC Design has embraced the capabilities offered by BIM and has been using it for several years in its interactions with large clients, taking advantage of the unprecedented access to information provided by virtual representation of all aspects of projects.

“The key characteristics for us are insight and visibility in design,” says Andrew Brown, Director of SMC Design. “Because we are now designing in a 3D environment, it allows for more control over technological integration and more informed decisions as we develop the design. It provides a higher level of visibility and control, and it allows us to have more in-depth critical reviews with the customer that we can stand on. Virtually space and really understand what we are creating. ”

These three-dimensional virtual meetings with clients help define the individual experience, Brown says. “Whether it’s a creative or operational review, we can travel in space, basically to be able to discuss their requirements. It’s about having a direct dialogue with the customer to talk about his goals and find the solutions that best suit his needs.”

There are also significant operational benefits to this approach when it comes to collecting potential conflicts between the various models. “One of the amazing things about the software is that it will actually look for and detect where there are conflicts within design, so you do not rely on human input to find errors,” explains the company’s BIM director, Ben Nkyi. “The software is automatic and does it for us, generating collision detection and detection reports. It’s very helpful when we start working with shipyards, when putting steel into space. We can incorporate steel into our design and the software marks all collisions with our steel and design. It helps eliminate risks before project ”

For the premises, this type of software is very familiar, says Nkyi. “The shipyards have been working in 3D for a long time.”

This means that for designers, it makes sense to use and share similar technologies to improve knowledge sharing in many aspects of projects. SMC Design uses a platform called Revit, tailored for architects and in 2018, the company brought in BIM expert Ben Nkyi as BIM manager to integrate the platform into its projects.

“We recognized that this way of working is the way forward for all architects and designers,” says Brown. “It’s not only related to efficiency but also allows us to design better that we can bring to more of our projects as we develop.”

The availability of virtual systems like those used in BIM has clearly been useful in assisting with Covid-19 era of remote work and reduced access to sites. However, Brown notes: “Even before Cubid-19, we saw benefits from this work with virtual reality. We work primarily with international clients, and this has helped reduce the amount of travel to meetings, saving clients money by not paying architects and consultants from around the world to sustain “It just lasts, especially when the customer is in one country and we are in another. We can have five different countries that all meet virtually.”

While SMC Design took the opportunity to go over everything with BIM technology ahead of some of its competitors, Brown says it’s not necessarily a strategy to differentiate the company. “I do not think there will be an element of competition using this technology because most companies will adopt it. Last time there was such a change in the way people work it was going beyond drawing tables to computers. This time it’s from two to three dimensional environments. “Already, we welcome the participation of our competitors in technology, because it will raise the level of work of the industry.”

This article was first published in the Fall / Winter issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may have changed since then.

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