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Better Planning and Coordination Through BIM

Posted on June 28, 2012 in Blog

Construction on the new Virginia State Police Driver Training Facility began in March 2011 and is still underway. The Driver Training Facility includes 684 acres of driving courses as well as a 55,000-square-foot training building and a 10-square-foot maintenance building.  While planning for the construction of a main classroom in the training building, the KBS project team used Building Information Modeling (BIM) tools to quickly analyze and create solutions to the unique layout and coordination challenges of the space. t

The virtual mock-up of the classroom space (above) compared to the construction photo (below) demonstrates how accurately construction is visualized in BIM.

The virtual mock-up of the classroom space (above) compared to the construction photo (below) demonstrates how accurately construction is visualized in BIM.

The tiered classroom features an array of curved, suspended metal ceiling panels set between soffits on the front and sides. The rows of ceiling panels are suspended at different heights, and required detailed coordination between the location and clearance requirements of the HVAC diffusers and sidewall sprinkler heads along the side soffits.

To begin the process of creating a virtual mock-up, KBS received a model of the space which Dewberry, the project architect had already created for their own design and documentation process. We were able to layer on additional detailed information by modeling each of the ceiling panels according to the approved shop drawing submittals.  The HVAC subcontractor, M&E Contractors, uses model based fabrication as a standard practice and we were able to combine their model with our updated architectural model.  Seeing all of this information simultaneously in a 3D environment allowed us to coordinate more efficiently as we adjusted the locations of the ceiling panels and HVAC vents in the soffit wall. Once the vents and ceiling panels were adjusted and coordinated, we issued dimensioned sketches to the project team for their use in the field. These same sketches were also used to identify and dimension the locations of sidewall sprinkler heads, making sure they had the available clearance necessary from the ceiling panels and light fixtures.  Rather than waiting for the first row of panels to be installed and making the necessary adjustments in the field, the virtual mock-up provided a cost-effective and time saving alternative.

Dimensioned sketches taken directly from the improved model enabled more detailed planning and predictable field conditions.

Dimensioned sketches taken directly from the improved model enabled more detailed planning and predictable field conditions.

The use of Building Information Modeling tools on this project helped contribute to a more complete visual planning of the space, and sped up the planning efforts and decision making for the entire project team.  Thanks go out to Dewberry and M&E Contractors for their commitment to Building Information Modeling technology and for providing us with the tools that help us continue to plan and build smarter.

Contributed by: Jim Droski, KBS Virtual Construction Manager