AGC BIMForum Philadelphia


When we first started preparing for the BIMForum in Philadelphia, we likened getting started with BIM to training for an athletic event.  More specifically, we recalled the image of Rocky Balboa running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art!


As we work to get BIM protocols and best practices in place, how do we still provide Owners with value for their BIM dollar?  As we saw at the Dallas BIMForum, Owners don't want to pay for "less bad," they want results.  What does it mean that both General Contractors and Architects can rise to a new standard of care by utilizing BIM? 


One case study of this level of care came from McCarthy Building Companies and their work on the St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton, CA - a four-story acute care building attached to an existing hospital structure at the medical center.



As Todd Foos from McCarthy Building Companies explained, "In-wall coordination for a hospital room is extremely complicated.  There is a localized inundation of twenty services to supply a 4-foot bed.  There are no excuses - you have to get it right."


The majority of the work centered around the use of virtual mock-ups to help translate the elevation drawings for the doctors and nurses.  By being able to see the nurses stations and the operating rooms in 3D, the "end-users" could visualize how they wanted the layout to work.  This included the complex lighting booms from Stryker over the operating tables and the convenient placement of the paper towel holders.  With every item placed correctly in the room, the casework could be finalized and all electrical, plumbing, and exhausts run correctly behind the wall.


While this sounds like a no-brainer, think of how many examples you've seen where the room doesn't match the needs of the occupant.  In this case, though, the Owner had set a goal of absolutely no change orders.  With this in mind, the Vico Services Team even modeled each doctor's office with the individual physician.  Who knew that some physicians prefer to stand on the right of the patient, while others prefer to stand on the left?  This small detail determined the placement of the monitor which influenced the placement of the CPU, with in turn determined the outlet placement.


Perhaps the best example came from a mammography nurse who asked if there was some way she could maintain eye contact with her patient as she went behind the lead-backed drywall wall to flip the switch for the x-ray.  McCarthy was able to accommodate the request with special medical-grade glass and quickly modeled a viewing window above the control panel.


That is a standard of care that extends past the Owner to your mother, your sister, and your wife.  The doctors and nurses were able to sign off on the print outs of the modeled rooms, not the confusing elevation drawings and the Owner got what he wanted - no costly change orders.


As BIM continues to evolve, we know that pushing the BIM envelope means moving beyond the low-hanging fruit of modeling and coordination.  There are so many possibilities to augment and extend the BIM: model-based LEED comparisons; model-based scenario comparisons; model-based scheduling; model-based estimating; model-based production control; model-based facilities management.  We built the BIM for a reason, didn't we?  And that reason has to be more than a pretty picture.


We left the meeting knowing that there is still much to do, but that we were with the group who was going to do it.


We hope to see you at the next event in Phoenix, January 14-15, 2010.


Read reports from past BIM Forums:


AGC BIMForum Lake Tahoe


AGC BIMForum Washington DC


AGC BIMForum La Quinta


AGC BIMForum Dallas


AGC BIMForum Phoenix