The term BIM, has been around for several years, yet it seems to still be widely misunderstood. During my visit to the "FIRST AFRICAN BIM SUMMIT" in Johannesburg last year, I was asked to present on the topic, my response was: BIM - a discussion about oranges, with the central theme revolving around BIM being a multidisciplinary information input process into an intelligent data output format, irrespective of design discipline or building usage. The K-rith Tower, completed in October 2012, originally not envisaged as a BIM based design project, has been an excellent example of how BIM can improve the design and construction coordination process, but and perhaps of most interest in the discussions truing to understand BIM, it can significantly aid in the facilities and operational management of the living building. Let's review the project: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDcvnDul-vU&feature=player_embedded] To help tackle one of the world’s most difficult health challenges, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have joined ranks to build a state-of-the-art research facility at the epicentre of the TB and HIV epidemics. The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) has been erected in a prime location on the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine campus in Durban, near other major research centres and local hospitals. A large glass atrium acts as a hub for the campus, physically connecting K-RITH, the medical school, and the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute buildings. Inside the K-RITH building, a meeting space will be available that can accommodate large events or be divided into smaller conference rooms. The Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) and the South African biotechnology organization LifeLab also have office space in the building. KZNCAD KZNCAD was contracted to create a detailed 3D model to assist decision making and coordination. The complex HVAC system proved challenging during site installation as changes were constantly being made leaving all disciplines having to go back to the drawing board. Fire control, air-conditioning, water & gas had to be amended to cater for the complex HVAC structure. KZNCAD, a team of five architectural technologist modelled the MEP according to 2D construction drawings. To clearly identity the various air flow systems, the ducts, filters and valves were colour coded accordingly. IFC was the universal medium of communication for collaboration between all disciplines. Drawings were translated with ease across all 2D CAD applications with ArchiCAD at the centre, acting as the project 3D database. The 3D model became an integral part of the project and often used for presentations to the project manager and KRith. Clashes and design flaws were immediately apparent in a holistic approach from the 3D model. Realizing the importance of the 3D model the project manager further commissioned the modeling of every component in the building. Questions arose about future equipment failure, servicing, building maintenance and asset management, which lead to the implementation of a facilities management module for the ArchiCAD 3D model database. ArchiFM, a sister product to ArchiCAD is created for ongoing maintenance, asset management and space planning, the input data is seamlessly created from the database of the ArchiCAD model with continuous live Updates of any added 3D design or modeling data. KZNCAD spent time on the creation of detailed equipment as per the suppliers specifications. Data including unique IDs, serial numbers & service intervals were captured by the team in preparation for the conversion. ArchiFM will be used for preventative, scheduled and adhoc maintenance throughout the building lifecycle. Project timeline as follows: October 2011 to July 2012 - Architectural modeling August 2012 to current - Facilities management Key BIM points in this project - Phase 1:
- design visualisation
- services coordination
- construction sequencing coordination
- detailed construction coordination
- accurate as built "drawings"
Key BIM points in this project - Phase 2:
- accurate as built "drawings" containing more than 2D and 3D drawing data, also containing all manufacturers operational specifications and warranties
- security and emergency data of all building elements and zones in model
- operational input data captured in model
- ongoing spacial coordination managed by and captured in model
WHAT IS BIM? The K-rith project, has shown a very interesting perspective in understanding the BIM concept. The project was not "designed" in 3D, but in traditional 2D CAD, infact taken to the point of construction with 2D documentation. Complexities and timelines of the project, dictated that a superior system was required, initially a pure 3D representation of the project was required only, to simply visualise coordination problems around the complex HVAC system, over time this visualisation for coordination was extended to the building structure and eventually became a complete design requirement, involving client usage specifications, contractor's construction sequences decisions for the installation of large components versus complex structural detailing and ultimately in maintenance versus construction and design considerations, where several spaces where being designed as "sealed" environments. As construction and coordination demands on the 3D model reduced, two new areas became increasingly relevant for "virtual exploration" versus real world access restrictions, these were new design codes being implemented in South Africa and the stringent operational demands of the soon to be completed facility. Here, we see the generally disregarded values of BIM coming to the fore. Large amounts of detailed information was entered into the 3D model (eg. serial numbers, commissioning data, service cycles, security and emergency related data). These data fields, although generally not visible in the 3D model, are intelligent components of the BIM. Once the BIM was linked to an FM module, these data fields are able to trigger alerts or events, to notify facilities managers of upcoming maintenance cycle requirements on building components. These data fields are further capable of compiling new employee operations manuals, according to elements such as the access control zone specifications of the employee, etc. Most relevant to the long term use of the facility, is the ongoing data population of these fields from physical building monitoring devices. It is therefor possible to collect thermal levels or pressure levels of certain rooms, or combinations of spaces, which can be used to evaluate the performance of the HVAC system and critically to accurate balance such a system during it's initial activation phases, or to evaluate the maintenance cycles and performance of such or any other system, versus the actual maintenance costs and reports of a sub-contractor, etc. As the above story suggests, BIM is far more than a 3D model to visualise a design, it is a dynamic tool in the complete life cycle management of every building. To gain a different perspective on a real world BIM implementation of ArchiCAD, review the Mota-Engil Group live online webinar recording here.