The use of building information modelling (BIM) has been heralded in the construction of the Leeds Arena.

Contractors and buildings staff faced technical difficulties in bringing the structure to life but were significantly aided by using BIM. Unlike many arenas in the UK, Leeds Arena used a fan-shaped design which consists of one large super-theatre seating layout sprawling out from the stage. Leeds City Council explained that this specific layout was aimed at giving spectators the best possible view from wherever they sit.

Officials added that 90 to 95 per cent of arena shows consist of entertainment at one end of the stage, like in football stadiums, but this method does not always offer the best views or acoustics. However, Leeds Arena has been created with the idea of having "the best acoustic experience of any large arena venue in the country".

To bring this to fruition, BAM Construction had to assess the various difficult situations it could encounter. The main contractor emphasised the use of BIM and noted that the main model was created via the technology. While it was not a full BIM project, the company fed the steel work, mechanical and electrical services and the external cladding from construction team Lakesmere.

One of the main challenges was the external guttering but builders were able to assess the problems after clashes were flagged up immediately once the designs were fed into the BIM model.

Ian Carpenter, Lakesmere estimating manager, said: "This is the whole reason we use BIM. You don’t want to find clashes, but it’s better to identify the problem during the design phase rather than while you’re on site."

Leeds Arena has recently been rebranded as the First Direct Arena prior to its official opening date. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are set to be the first act to grace the stage on July 24th while the likes of Elton John, Leonard Cohen, Kaiser Chiefs, Andrea Bocelli and Rod Stewart have all announced dates at the venue.

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