ASHE PDC: The Sixth Dimension

March 9, 2012
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ASHE PDC: The Sixth Dimension
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The days of 3-D modeling being considered an advanced technology are long gone. As its use becomes commonplace in the industry, we now see the advent of 4-D, 5-D, and even 6-D models being put to use.

The topic was tackled during “Building a Six-Dimensional Bridge between Construction and Hospital Facility Management,” a concurrent session held at the ASHE PDC Summit in Phoenix March 4-7, 2012. On hand were Mark Howell, senior vice president, Skanska USA Building Inc.; Helen Juan, VDC/BIM manager, Skanska USA; and Clay Ciolek, facility operations and project supervisor at MultiCare's Good Samaritan Hospital.

When Good Samaritan embarked upon a 357,000-square-foot patient tower project in 2007, the team set out to use 6-D, which links the BIM model to a facility’s operations and maintenance information, enabling facility staff to use the tool in the ongoing operation of the building.

However, with that said, all dimensions were used throughout the course of the fast-track project, including 3-D for the usual items like clash detection, 4-D for a time-sequencing model, and 5-D for material take-offs and ordering.

Completed between 2007 and 2010, the team readily admits that the technology integrated at the beginning of the project is somewhat less impressive these days. “We have seen a lighting pace in changes in technology since then,” remarks Howell.

But the 6-D models have nonetheless been highly valued by the facility.

Juan says the team first had to understand the facility management process through hard-copy means and recognized an opportunity to better it in terms of transitioning the facility to an electronic library of documents. However, in order for that library to be useful, Skanska also had to consider the facility’s own technology capabilities and chose a software-based program that could be housed on a desktop and easily accessed.

In all, there were 7,000 documents turned over (the scope of the project included all paper documents and drawings, as well), with operation and maintenance (O&M) reports formatted with bookmarking and page numbers to make them more easily searchable. Also provided was the appropriate hardware to be able to access the information, as well as training on how staff could best use it, including a how-to guide, Juan says.

Good Samaritan’s Ciolek says the library is used for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Research for work orders;
  • Preventative maintenance;
  • Accessing O&M’s, warranties, schedules, and training videos;
  • Updating documents; and
  • Reviewing models for future construction.

For example, the hospital needed to install a new CT and turned to its 6-D library to plan the project. “Before a design team comes on board, you have that information to look ahead and see what might be a conflict,” Ciolek says.

There is also shell space that was built into the hospital, where the library will be consulted to help plan for future expansions in that space since it’s already modeled in BIM.

However, one attendee at the session pointed out that the models, as they exist, are only capturing the building as it was when constructed, to which Ciolek agrees. “Is it a snapshot in time? Yes,” he says. He adds, though, that with more than 50% of the campus modeled, the rest of the facility and any changes that are made to it can easily be added, which will in turn increase the value of the electronic library even more.

And as long as it’s in use by the facility, Howell recommends doing just that. “The more the model is used, there is value added to keeping it updated,” he says.

For this specific project, Juan says the 6-D capabilities added about $50,000 to $60,000 to the overall project price.