Building Information Modeling (BIM) has gone from a design tool to a nerve centre for today and tomorrow’s smart structures.
At the recent CanBIM Vancouver Regional Session 2020, the rising role of the owner in designing and managing BIM buildings was highlighted by several speakers including Fraser Health Facilities Management executive director of planning and projects Larry Harder, who spearheads BIM construction on several different buildings for the Lower Mainland-based health care provider.
“Contractors and consultants have been working on BIM for the last ten years. Now the model is well understood and it’s time for owners to identify what they want out of a BIM model. It’s really up to us to think about how to utilize facilities information to make our facilities efficient and safer,” Harder said.
BIM has also moved from primarily a pre-construction design tool into a practice that spans the entire life-cycle of a modern building.
“There’s needs for BIM at each of the critical stages of the life-cycle of the building. Clearly during planning and the owner has to be very clear about what they want, and for us if that’s included into the BIM program it’s easier to do reconciliation,” Harder said.
“If I want a bunch of rooms a certain size with certain equipment in there, it’s a quick report to say ‘yes, I’m getting that,’ so that gives me a compliance tool,” he added.
Hospitals and other medical facilities are amongst the most challenging and complex structures to design and build because they operate on a 24/7 basis and require specific equipment able to withstand continuous use.
“Obviously components run out and being able to anticipate them, forecast them or prevent them is critical because if we have to shut down an OR room or not be able to take on patients because some critical part of the facility fails there’s little very tolerance for that, “ Harder said.
“BIM allows us to have as close to instant and accurate information to get over those problems as quickly as possible,” he said.
BIM in combination with artificial intelligence and tracking systems can also be used as a streamlined crisis response tool, Harder said.
“Patients are given an I.D. bracelet when they come in. Additional intelligence could be added to that and staff could have that same intelligence added to their I.D. badges,” Harder said. “If that’s tied into a BIM program with a little bit more analytical intelligence, when a major disaster happens, hopefully onsite people or someone within the system could say ‘we’ve identified where the problem is, here’s where our people are, you should go and start to rescue them.’”
BIM has reached a level of complexity where thousands of components can be tracked, Harder said.
“We started off tracking 13 critical components like boilers and HVAC systems, things that keep the blood of the building flowing,” Harder said. “That’s grown to 2200 (components) in the last project. They’re identified by risk management. Look at every component and what would happen if it failed. If it causes any disruption to day-to-day functioning, then we want to track it.”