Applying BIM, Retro-Style

June 26, 2012
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One of the medical center’s 55 buildings converted to 3-D models. Credit: The Ohio State University Medical Center. 3-D rendering options for a new donor recognition sign. Credit: The Ohio State University Medical Center. 3-D rendering options for a new donor recognition sign. Credit: The Ohio State University Medical Center. 3-D rendering options for a new donor recognition sign. Credit: The Ohio State University Medical Center. BIM models can be exported into energy modeling programs. Credit: The Ohio State University Medical Center. Presenting different interior remodeling options is simple through 3-D BIM. Credit: The Ohio State University Medical Center. Presenting different interior remodeling options is simple through 3-D BIM. Credit: The Ohio State University Medical Center.
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While increasing percentages of hospitals and healthcare facilities are harnessing the power of building information modeling (BIM) for planning and new construction, very few have applied its potential to ongoing facilities management and operations.

However, The Ohio State University Medical Center may be setting a new trend with its current initiative to convert two-dimensional drawings into 3-D BIM models for the organization’s 55 buildings.

“A lot of organizations have decided to use BIM moving forward, but very few are doing what we’re doing for our existing buildings,” says Joe Porostosky, manager of facilities information and technology services, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio. “We see the value of taking the time and resources to make this switch.”

What exactly is the value of having 5.7 million square feet of facility BIM models?

For starters, with such detailed building data and visualization capabilities at their fingertips, executives and facility planners will be able to make qualitatively better decisions when it comes to facility use, renovations, maintenance, and even energy use.

In fact, even though the full conversion has yet to be completed, the medical center is already seeing value in the models.

For example, “With a recent emergency room renovation, we were able to create a video walkthrough with a very high-quality rendering to show senior leaders different options for things like finishes, flooring, and paint,” Porostosky says.

Similarly, when a new senior leader came in and needed to decide how he wanted his office to be designed, Porostosky’s team was able to model and render out a picture of what the space could look like.

“We were able to use the technology right off the bat to show some value,” he says.

Similarly, Charles E. (Chuck) Mies, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA, business development manager, Autodesk AEC Solutions, Wichita, Kansas, points out, “BIM is more than just a design tool. It’s a process that offers better management and communication with streamlined processes during design, construction, and, ultimately, the built environment, long after the contractor hands over the facility. Furthermore, operating and maintaining the built environment, post construction, is where most of the money is on the line.” 

Targeting healthcare
While having up-to-date BIM models of a campus’s building portfolio is beneficial for any property owner, BIM offers unique benefits to the healthcare sector.

Research conducted by Reed Construction Data has found that larger hospital and clinic owners are now requiring BIM for specification documents.

In addition, Brian Skripac, director of building information modeling, DesignGroup, Columbus, Ohio—whose firm was brought in as the BIM consultant for this Ohio State project—is observing growing numbers of smaller healthcare organizations beginning to set BIM standards for projects moving forward.

“In comparison to other AEC market segments, the healthcare sector has the most to gain from using BIM,” Mies says. “The sheer volume of structural elements involved in establishing or upgrading a healthcare facility is unrivaled. The need for every building component performing at its best rises significantly since providing care can mean influencing a person’s chances of survival.”

Of course, what’s unique about the medical center’s approach is retroactively upgrading existing building drawings to BIM, which, in Skiprac’s opinion, will ultimately open the door to even more benefits.

“Often reimbursement opportunities and grant research funding are tied into having up-to-date tracking information and data in terms of how the spaces within a healthcare facility are specifically being used,” he says.

Similarly, Porostosky notes that this tracking and space usage data will come in very handy when reporting to different compliance agencies. “The churn in our spaces is remarkable as there is a huge amount of constant change, so we need to make sure our square footage data is right on.”

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