Oslo-based cruise and luxury vessel designer YSA Design has nearly completed what is believed to be the first ship construction project to be undertaken from initial sketches to the sign-off tasks for utilities completion under a single Building Information Modelling (BIM) process.
The project, for an undisclosed cruise owner, saw YSA use the 3D tool across the conception and execution of a complete newbuilding.
BIM is now a significant part of land-based architecture in Norway, with its use now mandatory for those bidding for government projects, but YSA claimed to be the first to turn experience ashore into a cruise shipbuilding project.
Georg Piantino, Senior Architect, YSA Design said that the owner’s readiness to provide detailed information at an early stage enabled BIM to deliver accuracy and efficiency in calculation, and also uniform 3D modelling for all stakeholders through each of the project’s phases.
“The same 3D model is used by designers, shipbuilders, outfitters, plumbers and electricians,” he explained. “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 said 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 enabled simulated walk-throughs: decisions made on outfitting, materials and furnishing at an early stage ‘stick’ throughout the project.
“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,” Piantino added.
YSA Design is also using Virtual Reality as a ship design tool to envisage interior and exterior spaces in the digestible formats to 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 said.