Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 14.14.25A North East company is future-proofing its business thanks to cutting edge research with Teesside University.

Sotech Optima Ltd, which manufactures rainscreen cladding and facades, is taking part in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to investigate ways in which Building Information Modelling (BIM) and an automated design infrastructure can be incorporated into its business.

The Peterlee-based company is already seeing improvements in its systems and processes as a result of the KTP.

BIM is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of built assets. It is changing how buildings, infrastructure and utilities are planned, designed, built and managed and is recognised by the UK Government as the most effective way to drive efficiency and growth within the construction sector.

KTP is a world-leading programme, part funded by Innovate UK, that helps businesses succeed by connecting them to the UK’s rich academic resources. It is a partnership between the business seeking expertise, a university and a recently qualified graduate – known as an Associate.

Mohamadreza Jenaban, a MEng (Hons) Mechanical Engineering graduate from Teesside University, has been employed as KTP Associate at Sotech since April 2015.

His work has been supervised by Professor Nashwan Dawood and Dr Mohamad Kassem from the University’s School of Science & Engineering.

Incorporating BIM as part of current work flow, manufacture and construction of cladding and facade is a unique process which is set to pay dividends for the company.

Richard Egginton, Business Systems Manager at Sotech, said: “This is much more than simply just using 3D models, it’s going to have a massive impact on how we do business.

“It will drastically reduce our Enterprise Resource Planning budget and the design element of the research will greatly enhance our unique selling point.

“It will enable us to do things faster and more accurately and that, in turn, will mean cheaper prices for our customers.”

Mohamdreza has also taken part in special KT4BIM project with other KTP groups from across the country. The aim of the project was to set up a virtual level 2 BIM scheme in order to share the journey and learning.

The project was so successful that the team was asked to present its findings to the annual RICS BIM conference 2016 in London at Euston Square.

He said: “The KT4BIM project has helped me gather a lot of knowledge which can be used towards a BIM project within Sotech.”

Dr Kassem added: “Through this project we have gained significant knowledge of both processes and design technologies in the cladding industry.

“We have also learned about the challenges for implementing BIM in this sector and this knowledge will be of enormous use for future teaching and research.”

Professor Dawood added: “We are not only assisting Sotech to improve their processes through adoption of BIM, but also helping Sotech to prepare itself for the upcoming digitised future within construction.”

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