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Monday, January 25, 2010

BIM GC ROI: Enterprise Construction Field Mobility Blog «Construction Field Mobility Blog

The presentations at January’s AGC’s Winter 2010 BIMForum “Model-Based Buildings: A model’s life both during and after the project” in Phoenix covered the real-world use of BIM (Building Information Models) from the design phase through fabrication. They included CNC and an owner’s use of BIM for ongoing maintenance. There was one particularly interesting presentation that covered what is probably an uncharted area — the use of BIM for insurance and claims.

Rather than providing a run-down of everything that happened during the two-day event, there were a few highlights that the speakers hit on that made a lot of sense to me and that I’d like to share:


at BIMForum

at BIMForum

Christof Speiler, the Director of Technology and Information at Morris Architects presented the kick-off session about “Standards

for Construction and Ready Design Models.” He spoke about the collaborative nature needed to maximize the value between the design and document models, or what he called “sharing models.” He continued that to realize value in a best-case scenario, you need to think about standards for everything from authorship to granularity, timeliness and accuracy. To this I would add integrated data from the jobsite, say from mobile applications such as Field BIM because the standards help to increase consistency so that when you’re looking at a model containing your QA/QC inspection data, it can be organized the same way as your last model. This makes it easier to analyze and understand as you go from one project to the next.. Christof was not the only presenter to mention the need to focus on the “I” in BIM. Chris Fischer of Schuff Steel echoed the same point. Though, I particularly enjoyed the way Christof crystallized yet another three-letter acronym called BPM (Building Pretty Models), which describes the contrast or temptation to focus on the the sheer visual nature of models rather than the real benefits they drive. You can read his exact quote and more but that was part of my takeaway on the idea.

The “Ring of Fire”

Ring od Fire

Ring of Fire

While I don’t think Johnny Cash would sing about BIM, we all got a look at the “Ring of Fire.” It’s a CNC (Computer Numeric Control)-driven, plasma cutting and arc-writing machine from Peddinghaus Corp that can be fed directly from a Tekla (a Vela Partner) model in the production of nearly any kind of steel member. While the machine itself saves tons of time in the fabrication process (taking the cutting process for each piece down from 25 minutes to 3 minutes), what I thought was really interesting was that the model can be used to drive the machine and the machine itself can also mark the piece. That means that folks in the field can be looking at a number on the steel that is tied directly to the model already. This would make it super easy for someone in the field doing, say, a QA/QC inspection on a field weld to read the piece mark number, jot down their inspection results in Vela’s mobile QA/QC application, and link it back to the same model that was used to actually produce the piece itself. All without having to worry about how to get data from all of the various systems involved. Boom (or “zap” I suppose)! You now have a history of your steel and your QA/QC inspection results data in your model too.

“BIM After Construction”

I’ve given presentations a few times now where I’ve said how you can easily sync data from Vela’s field applications (such as iPodCommissioning) into models. In fact, I’ve often referred to it as being “as easy as synching your iPod.” That said, I was kind of surprised when Birgitta Foster of Sandia National Laboratories started her presentation on the Owner’s use of BIM after construction by describing how she wanted all of the data in her FM (Facilities Management) system to work with her models, and that she wanted it to work “just like plugging in my iPod but with no cords.” At Vela Systems, we get that and we’ve done it too. At Sandia, the business case for what I call the BIM iPod (sorry Apple) is pretty compelling. Birgitta’s business case for linking into her models all of the O&M manuals, panel schedules, and various other information that would typically come from the commissioning process, and further link the models to her FM systems, is that Sandia could save two hours per work order for their facilities team. The average work order consumes that time in collecting the right documents and verifying the right location or asset to service. At a rate of $50/hr and around 14,000 work orders per year for the 900 buildings at Sandia, that’s a $2.4 MM savings.

Are you already working on a project or multiple projects that use models as the enabler for process improvement by accessing data from mobile applications? Or, are you working with “retro-grouches” (another new term I learned about at the BIMForum which, by the way, is open for someone to claim on Wikipedia) that need some additional persuasion to get on board? We’d love to hear your stories. Let us know and comment here.

Source: Enterprise Construction Field Mobility Blog «Construction Field Mobility Blog


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