During a recent presentation with with Purcell Architects at Autodesk University, the renovation of Big Ben (also known as Elizabeth Tower) was a prime example of how building information modelling (BIM) and Autodesk Revit were utilised throughout the seven-year project.
Company: Purcell Architects
Location: London, UK
During a recent presentation at Autodesk University, the renovation of Big Ben (also known as Elizabeth Tower) was showcased as a prime example of how building information modelling (BIM) and Autodesk Revit were utilised throughout the seven-year project. As one of the most well-known clock towers in the world and the centrepiece of the UK Parliament, the refurbishment of Big Ben required precise planning and execution, which was made possible through the innovative use of BIM technology.
Purcell Architects, Heritage Consultants, and Masterplanners initiated the project in 2015. During a session at Autodesk University 2022, Andrew Dobson, the project lead at Purcell, revealed that in addition to Revit, the team utilised PowerPack for Revit to achieve their goals.
During his presentation at Autodesk University, Dobson disclosed that Purcell has been utilising BIM since 2006, and the technology was instrumental in the development of their historic building information management protocol (HBIM). The implementation of HBIM has revolutionised Purcell’s methodology for documenting and designing the conservation, repair, and creative adaptation of historic structures. Revit has been employed by the firm for new construction projects and has been adapted for the repair and renovation of historic buildings, notably in the refurbishment of Big Ben.
Described on the Purcell website in 2020, the project to restore Big Ben was the most comprehensive renovation of the Parliament building’s iconic clock tower to date. The initiative tackled the corrosion affecting the 160-year-old cast iron structure, necessitating the replacement of 10-20% of the ironwork. Additionally, the undertaking involved the restoration of the building’s exterior, refurbishment of the clock mechanism, enhancement of interior spaces, installation of energy-efficient lighting, and the installation of a new elevator system.
During his presentation, Dobson clarified that the renovation of the cast iron roof was an exacting task. The process involved the removal of each cast iron tile, which was then numbered, restored, and finally reinstated in its original location.