Hospital projects highlight local adoption of BIM

[caption id="attachment_40115" align="alignright" width="400" caption="Building information modeling is key to the Sutter Health's new hospital under construction north of Santa Rosa hospital and St. Joseph Health System's new pavilion at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, shown above."][/caption]

NORTH BAY -- In less than a decade, building information modeling (BIM) has become a major construction simulation and visualization process, and it's being employed heavily on large hospital projects now under construction in North Bay counties.

Today a growing number of North Bay architects, engineers and contractors -- commonly referred to as the AEC community -- are using BIM when designing new buildings and infrastructure projects.Autodesk bolsters its BIM software line

SAN RAFAEL -- While a number of suppliers offer a range of BIM-related software, the leading North Bay developer is Autodesk of San Rafael, a firm that has been expanding its portfolio of advanced 3D building design software modules since 2002 when it acquired the Revit Technology Corporation. [more]

Those companies and firms say benefits of this advanced 3-D digital design technique are many, resulting in dramatic cost and time savings and positive return on investment, better designs, improved quality of the final product, enhanced project scheduling, more accurate documentation and efficient contractor collaboration.

BIM supports the entire project lifecycle from design and field support to ongoing facility management and maintenance after a building is completed.

According to a 2009 McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report, nearly half of the U.S. building industry is using BIM -- a 75 percent increase since 2007. The report predicted that in two years the use of BIM would double among structural engineers, triple by mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers and quadruple by civil engineers. In 2010, a similar McGraw-Hill report stated that the use of BIM on sustainable or "green" projects is poised for growth, considering that 78 percent of BIM users who do not currently use it on such projects say they plan to do so within three years.

While digital design models have been used for decades in manufacturing by major firms such as Boeing and Toyota, adoption of BIM in the AEC community is a relatively recent transition. Traditionally, this group has relied on 2-D drawings, blueprints or first-generation CAD simulations.

[caption id="attachment_40116" align="alignright" width="400" caption="BIM model of the second floor of the Queen of the Valley Medical Center showing clashing pipes"][/caption]

BIM's added value centers around intelligent objects built into the software that automatically update design changes simultaneously in all views shared by project teams. For example, if a pipe is to be added that could clash with a steel beam, a visual alarm alerts all involved and reveals the exact location of the proposed clash before work begins.

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