Electric water heating specialist Heatrae Sadia has joined its sister company Baxi Commercial to become one of the first heating manufacturers in the UK to invest in BIM (Building Information Modelling).

This is a move away from traditional 2D CAD drawings to fully rendered, easily visualised 3D BIM designs, with the Megaflo eco unvented hot water cylinders being the first of many Heatrae Sadia products which will make the transition.

BIM involves virtual designing of buildings to ensure collaborative involvement between architects, structural engineers and M&E consultants, providing access to data-rich 3D ‘objects’, which contain embedded asset data key to each specific discipline. An object can be a 3D image of a product, component or structure and can include detailed dimensions, material specifications, accreditations, thermal efficiencies, carbon content, maintenance schedules and performance.

The concept became a hot topic for the construction industry when, in its 2011 Construction Strategy, the UK government announced that all public sector projects over £5 million would be fully collaborative 3D BIM by 2016.

Heatrae Sadia has become a pioneer in the creation of BIM objects, starting its investment programme with its unvented hot water cylinder Megaflo eco. Available from the Heatrae Sadia website (www.heatraesadia.com), architects and specifiers can simply drag and drop the models into their building designs while also being able to easily access the product information they require.

The Government has identified that by using BIM capital building costs can be reduced by 20 per cent and, in addition, it expects similar levels of carbon reduction. This is achieved through unlocking new, more efficient ways of working at all stages of the project lifecycle.

With BIM comes better data, more informed, more reliable, higher-quality design, improved visualisation, better workforce coordination and collaboration, increased productivity, fewer trade clashes onsite and improved construction and project management.

Heatrae Sadia’s head of marketing Jon Cockburn said: “BIM allows building design options to be explored digitally long before any physical activity takes place on site, whether for new build or refurbishment. With BIM everyone involved in the design, specification and construction process gains a clearer idea of how a building will be constructed and how various stages of the project need to progress.

“This has many advantages, including precision engineering and structure and services harmony by identification of which products need to be delivered and installed first, reducing on site clashes. This can be a huge benefit; it’s been calculated that on average each clash costs £3,000.

“At the moment the focus has majored on construction industry manufacturers with only a relatively small number of BIM objects available, so we believe the investment in our products within the water heating sector will give us a competitive edge. Ultimately, having BIM objects available could soon make a difference to whether a manufacturer’s products are specified or not – especially on large projects.”

To assist architects, developers and specifiers further, Heatrae Sadia also offers its SpecPro sizing tool for point of use water heaters, unvented cylinders, solar thermal cylinders, boiling water products, chilled drinking water equipment and hand dryers. It is available as a CD or as a download through the company’s website.