BIM In Action: Different Approaches for Different Projects

Today is BIM Training day for the Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE), an organization that is promoting the smart use and growth of BIM in the construction industry. CADsoft is presenting a panel demonstration showing how different members of the team share information and can work on a project. So far, though, we’ve seen some great presentations by several different contracting firms and architects that demonstrate a common theme: when it comes to BIM, there is no 1 sure-fire method. Different strokes for different folks seems to be the case, though different methods certainly have some key advantages.

There are different approaches to modeling in Revit that work better for one group or another. For example: The designer creates a column that goes from ground to top floor — the GC wants to break that up by pour and floor. Same goes for slabs: GC wants them broken up by pour, designer doesn’t care.

Different contracts can allow for more integrated approaches and allow the GC to have more input in the modeling process that the designer uses. A design-build situation changes the game significantly.

Glendale Courthouse
One of the ACE presentations was by Quintin Smith of DL Withers Construction, Darrin Orndorff, Aaron Goodmanson, and Michelle Rutkowski of Dick & Fritsche Design Group, and Mike Rivera and Cory Yeager of Midstate Mechanical and focused on the Glendale Courthouse Project. I was thrilled to hear that they took an approach very similar to what we push for.

Dick & Fritsche modeled the building accurately in Revit, meeting the tolerances already set out for the project in initial meetings with other team members. Did they model every little detail? Of course not — each team decides ahead of time what they are responsible for and each team also owns their own model that includes their information. DL Withers has their own Revit specialists who adjust the architect’s model to suit their needs.

On this project, Midstate Mechanical was using a non-Revit based application, since they use the 3d MP&E models for fabrication in their shop. However, these 3d models translate very easily into a format that Navisworks can utilize, allowing for accurate visualization and clash detection.

On the courthouse project, Dick & Fritsche was advanced enough in their own Revit expertise that the model they were providing was ideal for DL Withers to use and augment as needed.

One thought on “BIM In Action: Different Approaches for Different Projects

  1. Until architects are confident in their models to the point of signing a “right to rely” agreement when handing their model to a G.C., the G.C. will always have to check and verify the details in the model. The model is not a design document and thus without this agreement the G.C. would assume responsibility of any errors in the model if used for coordination or to create their integrated work plans. It is a case by case decision whether or not it is easier to check an existing model or to re-model certain items of a project. In the Glendale Spring training project example however, there never was an architectural model provided, thus forcing the G.C. to create the architectural model based on the architect’s 2D design documents. The good news is that architects are becoming more and more Revit savvy and there is also software applications being developed that allow portions of a model to be divided when linking these objects to a schedule (eliminating the need to re-model these items).

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