Leading cruise and luxury vessel designer YSA Design is close to completing what it believes is the first ever ship construction project to bring together everything from initial sketches to the sign-off tasks for utilities completion under one Building Information Modelling (BIM) process.
The project, for an undisclosed cruise owner, saw the Oslo-based designer using the 3D tool across the conception and execution of a complete ship newbuilding. BIM has become a significant part of land-based architecture in Norway, with its use now mandatory for those bidding for government projects, but YSA Design reckons to be the first to turn experience ashore into pioneering cruise ship build project.
Georg Piantino, Senior Architect, YSA Design says that the owner’s readiness to provide detailed information at an early stage enabled BIM to deliver accuracy and efficiency in calculation, but also uniform 3D modelling for all stakeholders through every phase of the project.
“The same 3D model is used by designers, shipbuilders, outfitters, plumbers and electricians,” he says. “Now, a virtual tour can take in everything from ‘big picture’ items such as cruise ship atriums to the fine detail of piping arrangements in awkward spaces. Right from the outset, even before steel-cutting or materials selection, collisions can be identified and colour-coded by severity so that the resolution process can begin.”
BIM is a significant upgrade compared to superimposing 2D drawings from utility contractors onto the main 3D model – a process that needs designers to zoom in to identify potential issues manually. Piantino says BIM using Autodesk-based Shipbuilding & Offshore Software Solution (including Lofting 3ds Max) allows all participants to keep the entirety of the ship in mind at every project stage. In addition to improved accuracy, 3D integration at the sketching stage enable simulated walk-throughs: decisions made on outfitting, materials and furnishing at an early stage ‘stick’ throughout the project, he says.
“It’s too early to put figures on it, but time and cost are saved from the outset and cost control is enhanced throughout. YSA Design has good knowledge of BIM but working through a shipbuilding project frame by frame in 3D, on interiors and exteriors, is a cruise industry first. In the process, we have refined our skillset and can offer BIM as a competitive edge for ship design or as a distinct third-party service.”
YSA Design has also led the way in using Virtual Reality as a ship design tool to envisage interior and exterior spaces in the digestible formats that help owners, builders and contractors better understand spaces in terms of volume, atmosphere, texture, lighting, etc. “In combination with Revit 3D software, VR makes it possible to see and ‘feel’ the space immediately, and to experience the impact that changes of atmosphere or materials can have before construction has begun,” Piantino comments.