BIM research helps North East company double turnover

A Teesside University research partnership which has helped a North East company double its revenue has been given the highest rating possible.

Building and roofing specialist Hodgson Sayers Ltd is expected to turn over an extra £10 million in revenue over the next three years as a direct result of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

In addition, the KTP has enabled the company, based in Stanley, County Durham, to develop a new range of patentable security doors.

As a result, the KTP has been given a grade of ‘Outstanding’ in an external, independent assessment for Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

KTPs typically last for two years and are a collaboration between a university and a company. They are part-funded by Innovate UK to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills.

For the KTP with Hodgson Sayers, Kin Ma, a Teesside University BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design graduate, worked at the company to investigate ways in which Building Information Modelling (BIM) approaches and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software could be integrated into its systems and processes.

The project was led by Professor Nashwan Dawood, an internationally renowned expert in BIM, from the University’s School of Science & Engineering, with co-supervision from Dr Mohamad Kassem.

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places. It is changing how buildings, infrastructure and utilities are planned, designed, built and managed.

By implementing BIM approaches, along with the integration of ERP software, Hodgson Sayers has been able to operate much more efficiently and adopt an intelligent business approach to its operations.

As a result, the company has been able to bid for much larger contracts, including valuable public sector contracts, as a Tier 1 contractor.

The company has also used the same approaches to proactively design a new range of security doors which are expected to bring in a further revenue stream. Mike Wade, Financial Director at Hodgson Sayers, said: ‘The KTP has massively improved the company’s operations.

‘As a business within the construction sector, changing management practices can be challenging. However, the KTP has allowed a more collaborative and cross-generational acceptance and understanding which has galvanised and quickened cultural change and encouraged more open thinking.

‘The embedding of BIM capability and philosophy has enabled the company to integrate and improve operations propelling us to Tier 1 contractor status and has allowed the effective design and manufacture of patentable new products.

‘The exposure of existing staff to new ways of working has had a significant and positive impact on entire culture across our organisation.’

Over recent years, of the KTPs undertaken by Teesside University, 75% have been awarded the top two grades, with 62% graded ‘Outstanding’. This compares with national averages of 58% achieving the top two grades and 17% graded Outstanding.

Professor Dawood added: ‘This KTP has generated fascinating amounts of research and knowledge, particularly in the field of BIM for Manufacturing (B4M).

‘It has helped us develop case studies which can be used in the teaching of both post-graduates and under-graduates.

‘As a result of this KTP we will also be expanding our teaching in the area of industry 4.0 in relation to design for manufacturing.’