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Letterman Digital Arts Center - Case Study

The BIM Process

The request for information (RFI)

In typical construction, the request for information (RFI) process requires considerable resources.  Issues have to be identified and effective solutions must be researched and resolved. The revised 2D digital design has to be reimported into a PDF format, printed and filed.  It is now possible to minimize this RFI process altogether by making available to all members of the design and construction team the correct information derived from a building information model.

One challenge that we faced in maintaining the integrity of the BIM was staying ahead of the many changes or omissions, which occurred during design/construction process and to ensure that we always were delivering up to date “as-built” data to the client. It was not uncommon for the designers or the contractor to make changes on the job site without reflecting those changes on their drawings.

3D laser technology

Laser measuring and pointing devices guided by specialized software using the building information model data were used to check for the accurate positioning of pipes in the data center.  Existing conditions can be laser scanned and converted into as built 3D models. 

Laser Pointing

Figure 18.  Laser pointing was introduced to this project.  This was a new technology at that time developed by a small Canadian company, today purchased by Leica.

Laser pointing was used to check for the pipes penetrations in a very tight modular computer center.  The raised floor supports were supported by a 2 x 2 foot grid supports and all the penetration had to be located within this grid.

Once the location and orientation of the laser scanner is in sync with the building information model, any objects in the building information model can be located on the site.  Laser scanning can also provide a very accurate representation of existing conditions.  The 3D scans can be used to verify proposed designs against existing site conditions and monitor construction progress.  These scanners were widely used in the industrial plant environment but they are gaining popularity in the construction industry.  We were one of the first trained in the USA  by  the Mensi Laser scaning technology, the French company that developed  the laser scaning equipment

Emergency response simulations

Another critical usage of the building information model was to simulate an emergency situation.  Since we had a 3D model of all the complex mechanical piping located in the parking levels, we were able to simulate the height clearance required for the Presidio fire department fleet of fire fighting trucks to access the underground parking in case of an emergency.  Similar simulations can be performed for other emergencies such the evacuation of people from the effected areas of the buildings.  NavisWorks clash detector module was used for this clearance check.

We have discussed the possibility of installing smart dust chips technology in critical areas of the MEP building systems, such as fire sprinklers main valves.  Once the smart chip detects an emergency situation, the building information model will activate the area of concern and simulate the necessary steps to be taken with the use of 3d avatars such the ones our children play with on their play stations and game boys.

There are many more possibilities available to facilities managers and building owners once a building information model is available but this is a topic to be covered in another white paper

LDAC Page10_Fire tucks
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Figure 19.  There were considerable amount of large pipes on the two underground parking floors.  Since this project is located on the Presidio, part of the National Park Services Administration, Park Presidio Fire department had to have vehicle access to the building.  We have used NavisWorks to check for clearances, simulating the Fire Trucks for any possible collisions before they had the chance to drive through.

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