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Posted by Blake Wilcox, MEP Manager

Topic: Building Information Modeling, Virtual Design & Construction

Building Information Modeling (BIM) has made a huge impact on the construction industry more in the last few years than the previous fifty years combined.  It allows for projects to be completely pre-built in a computer and then in theory copy and pasted into the field. The benefit is you can find issues, scope gaps, design problems much earlier and solve them.  You can prefabricate typical assemblies and complex components offsite in controlled and efficient environments and then merely assemble them in place.  However, building an effective BIM Model and executing in the field is no easy feat – it takes expertise and know-how.  That’s why we’d like to share our top eight strategies to successfully implement this technology on your next project:

1.       Have a Strong Foundation. Your Model is your foundation from which you will build and check the job against. It must be complete! Make sure to model all MEP systems, valves, lights, access zones, insulation, AV devices etc. Take some time to ensure your architectural model is as complete as it can be. Model soffits, coves and ceiling. Take care to understand the space in which you’re modeling and ultimately building.

2.       Clash free Doesn’t’ Mean You’re Done. The MEP systems must be viewed for constructability. Although it’s clash-free, it doesn’t mean you can build it.

3.       Document Everything – from Model to CAD. There is nothing worse than solving complex problems only to build them seven months later and have no idea why you did what you did. Keeping the history of the solutions to problems will save you headaches later on.

4.       Assemble the Final Model as both NWC and NWD.  There are benefits to both structures. You won’t know which works best for you and your QAQC manager until you implement inspections later on.

5.       Bring the Model to the Field and Use It!  Don’t try to be too fancy here.  Get a solid laptop or two, load a version of Navis on each and put the model in the field. We have since built BIM Boxes where we have large monitors, UPS power supply, Wi-Fi synced to Drop Box central file structures.  We didn’t start this way – we grew to what suited our needs and the projects.

6.       If You Do This You’ll Never Have to Inspect Anything Twice. This is the simple part but the most critical piece – it’s the use of highlighting.  First, someone must inspect the MEP items to ensure they are installed per the model.  Then, once they have verified the duct is correct, highlight it!  You’ll never miss anything. Best Practice: We use PDF sets for each floor where each trade is broken out on its own drawing, these get loaded into BIM 360, linked to the floor, linked to a work-to-complete item and then we simply highlight what we inspect and save. This way anyone at any time can inspect or check up on the project to see progress of install.

7.       The Devil is in the Details. Now that we know things are installed at the right location, it’s time to leverage checklists. Every piece of equipment has a project specific checklist and these lists are linked to the equipment in BIM 360’s equipment matrix.  Now we can track the exact status of all equipment from submittal to install to piping-power-startup and commissioning. If its installed in the right place with the right details your job will go much smoother at the end.

8.       Turnover. Now that the job has been built off the model, everything is installed per the details and you’ve tracked it all through BIM 360, you have a tremendous amount of data. This includes checklists, history of items, spread sheets and dates. Export this, polish it and turn it over.

Developing and executing this process on our projects is an effective way to improve workflow in the field and install work faster and with more confidence.  BOND remains committed to mastering ways to find efficiencies and enhance project delivery from start to finish.  Some of the benefits of BIM modeling have included reduced MEP punchlist and Commissioning punchlist by as much as 95% from other projects where this Field-to-Model process is not implemented.  We are actively rolling this process out to nearly all of our projects.

For more information on BOND and its BIM modeling capabilities please contact Blake Wilcox, MEP Project Manager at BWilcox@bondbrothers.com

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