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Digital Tools Used to Build V&A Dundee

BAM Construct UK | 2:56

Digital Tools Used to Build V&A Dundee

Peter Smisek

8 January 2018

Video Views

UK contractor BAM explain some of the digital tools being used to build the V&A Dundee, an £80 million museum situated on the city’s waterfront, in this video. 

The scheme's complex design - conceived by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma - and its impressive waterside positioning made for a challenging build. 

Above: V&A Dundee will welcome its first visitors this summer. Below: The museum's unique design was conceived by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (image courtesy of V&A Dundee).

Malcolm Boyd, one of BAM’s construction managers, explains that the main challenges lay in constructing a temporary cofferdam - as part of the museum extends into the Firth of Tay - and in forming the building’s double-curved external walls.

Above: The museum's temporary cofferdam (image courtesy of V&A Dundee).

The scheme's unique form meant that accuracy during setting-out had to be “millimetre-perfect”.

To achieve this a digital, three-dimensional model of the building was created from which the contractor could extract data onsite, positioning the museum with remarkable accuracy.

Above: External curving walls presented a challenge for the project team, who were able to set out the building using a digital model, below ( images courtesy of V&A Dundee and BAM Construct UK).

Data from digital models was used throughout the construction works, according to assistant site manager Sean MacDonald, who was able to supervise some of the building’s finer details by accessing information from a tablet device.

Above: The site management team could access project information on their tablets whilst on site (image courtesy of BAM Construct UK).

This follows BAM’s “making it before we make it strategy”, in which "digital twins" of different assets are created before the physical building works commence.

The digital models are subjected to a number of project scenarios, helping to anticipate problems that would be more expensive to resolve once on site.

Above: Creating a "digital twin" of the V&A Dundee allowed BAM to assess and anticipate different challenges that could arise during construction (image courtesy of BAM Construct UK).


The project has experienced a significant delay and seen its estimated costs nearly double since it was first announced in 2010. However, since breaking ground in the spring of 2015, the scheme has been delivered within its revised budget and programme.

The new museum is set to open in the summer of 2018.


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