Mission Hospital Virtual Mock-Up Case Study

Are you heading to Denver in October for the AGC BIMForum?  Then you know the theme of this conference is prefabrication and modularization.  It’s something we do instinctively when we see plans for a hospital or a high-rise apartment building – how can we apply Lean Construction principles to make these repeating floor plans easier to execute?  After all, when we approach construction like an assembly line, we can introduce immense efficiencies and the project can take off.


That was the case at the Mission Hospital Patient Case Tower in Mission Viejo, California.  The tower is four stories over a basement for a total of 90,000+ square feet.  The basement includes a central plant, tunnel to the existing tower, and a shelled
space.  The first floor includes the Imaging Department and a Chapel.  The second floor contains more shelled space. The third floor houses the ICU. And the fourth floor is dedicated to medical/surgery beds and associated functions.


mission hospital steel exoskeleton strucutre


Already well into construction on the exterior cladded addition to the hospital campus, the Owner did what any good patient would do: they asked for a second option.


The first opinion was a $150,000 floor-to-floor height physical mock-up.  This mock-up was built on-site to help the project team visualize the interaction of the glass curtain wall, the steel cladding, the gusset plate, the waterproofing, and the fireproofing solutions.


Realizing that the waterproofing and fireproofing systems were causing interference with the design, the Owner determined that the constructability risk was too much to bear.  In the worst case scenario, leaking and mold could compromise the entire hospital’s infection prevention program and incur significant warranty work.


Trimble’s VDC Services Team provided an onsite project manager to build a virtual mock-up, a highly-detailed model of the precise steel and glass intersections.  The model was used in the trailer for stakeholder meetings to identify constructability issues and solve RFIs.


virtual mock up of steel glass intersection


We used the steel shop drawings to design the custom connections of all the materials and the transitions between elevations.  With the baseline model from the shop drawings, the field team was able to come up with resolutions for the conflicts and model those potential fixes in real-time. 


By modeling the complicated material intersections, the entire construction team discovered that the exterior skin simply did not fit over the detailed steel structure.  Instead of accusations, change orders, construction delays, and playing the blame game with lawsuits, the team worked together to solve the issue.  Assisted by the honesty of the model, the team leads put their expertise towards a solution and got the project back on track.


Working together, the Mission Hospital Team saved:

• Rework of over 1,000 panels
• 10 project work weeks
• And by identifying coordination problems of the skin before manufacturing and
installation had started, the project team saved over $1.8M in cost and time,
for only an $80K investment in virtual mock-up modeling.
Even more importantly, by identifying these issues in advance of fabrication of the metal panel cladding system, the project team curtailed a mold infection problem and avoided years of contentious litigation.  The good news is that we are unable to put an exact number on the cost of litigation because we resolved the issues virtually and no litigation was required.  Had we not resolved the issues virtually, there would have been hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by all parties involved.
using virtual mock up model for prefabrication

The Mission Hospital won a Vision Award from Constructech Magazine, the AGC’s Marvin M. Black Excellence in Partnering Award, and the Best of California (Healthcare) from California Construction Magazine.  See the project for yourself in the
archived Fridays with Trimble webinar


What have your experiences been using BIM technologies to help advance prefabrication efforts?  We hope you’ll be able to share them at the AGC BIMForum
next month in Denver.


Trimble Buildings is hosting the Welcome Reception at the Denver BIMForum on Monday evening, October 7.  We look forward to meeting you and your team and hearing about your own success stories.  We’ll have local craft brews to welcome you to our backyard, plus many of our product experts from Tekla, Trimble Field Solutions, SketchUp, Vico, Prolog, and WinEst.  So please plan on joining us. 


If you’d like to schedule a private demonstration, please use this form to suggest a time and we will work out the details.  And if you can’t make the conference, use the form to schedule a private web demonstration any time this week or next.



Yes, let's plan a time to meet...