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Investa, Lendlease and Willow Leap into the Future at Martin Place

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Sixty Martin Place by Investa is the latest addition to Sydney’s global skyline. The striking architectural form was conceived by Hassell and incorporates a unique curved façade rising over the adjacent heritage church. However, it is not the only ground-breaking feature of the newest Sydney skyscraper. Behind the scenes, here is something most people cannot see—the building’s full digital twin.

A Collaborative Effort

Willow Digital worked with Investa’s design team and head contractor Lendlease to complete the virtual build. It mirrors the physical elements of the 33-storey building for use in the design, construction and operational phases of the asset.

The result for co-owners and developers Investa Commercial Property Fund and Gwynvill is a circa billion-dollar asset. The building is more effectively future-proofed, has enhanced operational responsiveness, and allows facilities managers to maintain optimum building performance and occupant experience with more ease.

Investa is also a leader in the sustainable property space, and Sixty Martin Place exemplifies that goal. It targets a minimum 6 Star Green Star Office Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia and 5 Star NABERS Energy rating. Also, it has recently been awarded the WELL Core & Shell Pre-certification at the Platinum level.

Benefits of Twinning

Willow Digital Project Lead James Shirley tells Jobsite the digital twin process helps achieve such goals.

“While it incorporates a 3D model—similar to BIM—it goes a quantum leap further. It provides Investa with a ‘single source of truth’ that records and verifies every aspect of the building’s equipment, warranty information, operation and maintenance information—presented within an intuitive 3D environment.”

This is a massive benefit compared to the conventional approach, requiring both the construction team and the Facilities management team to painstakingly accumulate analogue asset information on paper and USB keys.

“Usually, the handover phase is full of uncertainty with information provided in non-digital form resulting in knowledge lost or kept in filing cabinets,” Shirley said. 

The digital twin approach addresses two of the crucial recommendations of the Shergold and Weir Building Confidence report on improving construction industry quality and compliance.

The Process in Play

The industry-wide reforms have been endorsed by all the state, territory and federal building ministers. They have highlighted the importance of improving documentation.

They also suggested a “digital passport” be created for any commercial building project, incorporating complete documentation for the asset. Once finished, the document should be handed over to owners.

While this approach is not yet mandated in most jurisdictions, Investa and its construction partners Lendlease and Willow Digital have opted for taking an industry leading position. They are already embracing this approach with Sixty Martin Place.

Lendlease have played a critical role in embracing the opportunity to create a world first in delivering a digital twin on completion. – James Shirley

Throughout the construction process, Willow’s platform tracked and validated 71,848 digital assets within the building for completion and compliance. All the operations were carried out directly with the head contractor.

This ultimately creates a digital enabled, accurate and intelligent building at the point of handover, ready for more efficient and connected operations.

Shirley explained that 3D BIM captures spatial information about building geometry, the location of each element and static data, such as the manufacturer of a light fitting. The digital twin, meanwhile, incorporates all the “live” components, such as operational parameters and performance, installer details, maintenance information and compliance.

It also provides an evolving, transparent and comprehensive records of commissioning and handover to the FM team and owner.

Working Together Through Tech

The digital Sixty Martin Place has a searchable database, which enables ongoing monitoring and verification of compliance and performance, Shirley said.

On the other hand, the FM team gains access information relevant to efficiently resolving an anomaly or tenant complaint.

It also empowers a data-driven operations and maintenance program that minimises costs, reduces equipment downtime and delivers metrics relevant to NABERS energy audits or maintaining the WELL rating.

Importantly, the comprehensive detailing of products, manufacturers and installers provides transparency should there ever be an issue with non-conforming or non-compliant products.

Shirley gives the example of paints, where the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) might become an issue in the future.

Should that be the case, the owner, FM team or consultant will be able to undertake a full audit of all paints. They would then obtain their individual material data safety and manufacturer information quickly by searching the digital twin database.

Big Goals Less Emissions

Auditing for embodied carbon or operational emissions becomes equally simple. It thus offers valuable support for Investa’s commitment to the Science-Based target of net zero operating emissions across its portfolio by 2040.

The Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation is backing the Fund’s sustainability ambitions, having committed $110 million in equity last year as part of a $600 million capital raising for the Investa Commercial Property Fund (ICPF). One of the primary goals of the capital injection was supporting the realisation of the Sixty Martin Place project.

Shirley said the digital twin is like an “insight engine” for the owners and FMs across energy, compliance and risk.

“Market forces are really driving asset owners to be smarter in how they are managing their portfolios,” Shirley said. “For Investa as an institutional property owner and developer, with a national portfolio of commercial assets, it makes sense to embrace this technology.”

Three Heads Are Always Better Than One

While the outcomes of the digital twin are multifaceted and wide-ranging, Shirley explained the process was relatively straight forward for the construction team.

He said the first question the Willow Digital team got from project team-members was “how do we do it?”

“We explained that there is no difference to the design or contract outputs; there is just a change in the process. They simply use a digital platform, and Willow’s software tools to upload digital data instead of using paper.

“It’s almost like an insurance policy to ensure everyone is handing over all the relevant data.”

Shirley said there was 100 percent compliance with the digital documentation process at Sixty Martin Place.

“Everyone understood the process, and they all ended up feeling a sense of progress.”

Photo courtesy of Investa Commercial Property Fund.


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