From Drawing Board to BIM with Varming


Jorgen Varming, the noted Danish engineer, founded his consulting engineering practice in 1933 in Copenhagen. He established the Irish office of Varming Consulting Engineers in Dublin in 1946 to undertake a range of commissions for the Irish Transport Company (Coras Iompair Eireann), which included the mechanical and electrical services design for the iconic Busaras Building.

Since this first appointment more than 70 years ago, the Varming Irish practice has played a central role in the advances which have taken place in the development of building services design applications in Ireland. Over that long period of time, the Varming practice has amassed a highly impressive project portfolio. Many of their projects showcase evolving design techniques and innovative solutions, which were developed to address the wide range of complex challenges posed in creating different building environments.

In this context, it is not surprising that their early recognition of the positive opportunities offered by Building Information Modelling became a key driver for Varming Consulting Engineers to take a leading role in the adoption of BIM by the consulting engineering profession in Ireland.

“We are always ready to evaluate and embrace new technologies which display potential to improve the quality of our designs and the ability of our designers.” says James Kavanagh, Varming Chief Executive.

“Over our long history, this philosophy has enabled us to survive many challenges of significant economic peaks and troughs while always meeting changing demands in client expectations and ever evolving industry work practices.”

James Kavanagh

This evolution in design is reflected in how in 1946, the Varming designers developed hand drawings on a drawing board and used slide rules for design calculations for the Busaras building services installations compared to how Varming now adopt BIM techniques as part of their everyday design process on modern building projects. One recent project, Three Park Place, a 18,000 sq.m office development in Dublin City Centre, was designed using BIM to achieve LEED Platinum accreditation on completion.

On this project, BIM modelling was integrated with dynamic simulation techniques by Varming designers to enable the client to evaluate the environmental impact of a range of proposed design solutions at planning stage. The exercise included detailed analyses

of solar gains to optimise glazing ratios and to ensure façade compliance with building regulations. Modelling of all mechanical and electrical services was undertaken to verify the target BER, as well as to confirm that LEED credits for daylighting, ventilation, indoor air quality and thermal comfort would be achieved.

Implementing BIM on this and on other projects has had a significant positive impact on Varming workflow and has become a valuable tool which can facilitate both a collaborative process and produce a quality sustainable design solution to optimise the scope, schedule and cost of all projects.

Tracking different design options, understanding their impact and making appropriate alterations, whenever necessary, enables Varming designers to create simultaneous design options within a single model for client consideration before key decisions are made for the final construction of the project.

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