Guest Post – BIM: Wringing It Out
The SmartBidNet Blog welcomes guest contributor Jason McFadden, LEED AP, Project Manager
Jason McFadden joined Barton Malow Company in 2005 through the company’s award-winning LEAPS internship program. Upon graduation from The Pennsylvania State University with an Integrated Bachelor and Master of Architectural Engineering degree, Jason became a full-time employee in 2007. Jason has managed the construction process on sports, higher education, and healthcare projects along the east coast. Several of his projects have achieved LEED certification including Medlar Field at Lubrano Park – the first LEED certified sports facility ever. In July 2008, Jason was recognized by Consulting Specifying Engineer Magazine as one of the Top 40 Engineers under the age of 40 in the construction industry. A vital asset to Barton Malow’s BIM and technology efforts both regionally and nationally, Jason leads the company’s building information modeling efforts through training and implementation. His innovative approach to BIM has achieved a high-level of customer satisfaction leading to repeat clients.
Wringing It Out – How Barton Malow Implements BIM Beyond Clash Detection Into Every Phase of the Construction Process
If you take a sponge and soak it in water, you fundamentally improve its function. Instead of being lifeless, it is suddenly brimming with potential. Building Information Technology (BIM) is like a sponge full of water. Originally designed for clash detection, Barton Malow quickly recognized its benefits and began making it standard procedure on all new projects.
Over time, Barton Malow recognized the many benefits of BIM that went well beyond clash detection. Soon, the firm was implementing the software in every phase of the construction process. The following examples illustrate how Barton Malow is incorporating BIM in newer ways that benefit the Owner, the designer and the entire construction team.
Preconstruction – Increasing Estimating Accuracy
Barton Malow is providing Construction Management at-Risk services on St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Florida. Recognizing the need for quicker and more accurate estimating, Barton Malow chose to implement BIM during the preconstruction process.
For example, Preconstruction Director Chris Moeller and Project Engineer Chris Moore created a skin model of the façade. By associating costs with the building façade, the team was able to show real-time price changes when different components were modified within the model. When a change to a skin material was made in the model, the price changed instantly to reflect the new design. This allowed the entire project team to make decisions on aesthetics and price more effectively.
Construction – Better Project Management
The use of BIM for clash detection continues to be a meaningful use of the software. At the University of Virginia’s South Lawn project, Project Manager Brian Larson and the construction team were able to gain a quick and transparent understanding of coordination issues before they arose in the field. Their ability to analyze and coordinate the building’s systems in a virtual environment allowed the team to reduce rework and eliminate change orders, bringing added value to the project overall, and helping ensure the University will have a beautiful, highly-functioning facility for years to come.
Facility Management – The Model Lives On…
The Maryland General Hospital Central Care Expansion project was a trailblazer for use of BIM technology. As the project neared completion, Senior Project Engineer Corinne Ambler turned her attention to commissioning. This renovation/addition included an array of indoor air handling units, electric centrifugal chillers and cooling towers, temperature and humidity systems as well as the necessary duct work, air handlers, dampers and fans.
Ambler’s job was to gather all the closeout documentation and maintenance information for the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems to pass along to Maryland General Hospital. “Commissioning typically creates binders and binders of information that are not easily managed and updated,” said Ambler. Instead, Ambler catalogued all the systems information and entered it into the model. “Providing the information in a easy-to-use electronic format has made things much easier for the hospital’s facilities staff.”
The Next Generation of BIM
BIM has been an unbelievable tool that has advanced the design and construction process to places unheard of ten years ago. However, improvements can be made to further improve the technology. For example, BIM users are bound by software constraints. While an architect might build a model using Revit software, a construction manager may use Vela, Tekla Structures for Construction Managers and/or Navisworks. An industry-wide, standardized software would streamline the process. It would also allow users to view the model out in the field.
Another challenge is the size of the files produced by architects. These files are too big to email or save to disk and are often too large to upload to an ftp site. Devising a safe way to compress design files without losing information would streamline the process.
Barton Malow continues to wring out the capabilities of BIM in ways that benefit our Owners, design partners and subcontractors. We will continue to serve as an industry leader by stretching the abilities of new technology and implementing better and faster ways of producing accurate results.