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Letterman Digital Arts Center - Case Study

The BIM Process

LDAC Page 2_01

Figure 2. Traditional polygonal surface modeling and renderings of the LDAC. The image on the left represents Building B and Building C (brick facing).  The image on the right is Building A showing the entrance to the employees parking garage.

Before describing the BIM process, let’s look at the traditional process in the construction industry and some of the questions and responses coming from the general contractors.  The image below (Figure 3) shows the process still used today by general contractors and their subs in coordinating the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) building systems.  This process has not changed in the last hundred years.  Months are spent over these light tables by the MEP coordinators before a final signing off takes place.  It is during this stage that the final elevations of piping, electrical conduits and HVAC are determined for each trade.

Light tables combines

Figure 3. Traditional MEP trades conflict resolution process using light tables and transparent overlays. Each trade uses different color to cloud the conflicting areas.  This process is outdated and is being replaced by the BIM process.

After having spent a considerable amount of time with general contractors discussing the state of the design and construction industry, there appears to be more questions than answers.

Can we differentiate between design and coordination?

According to the standard contract documents, coordination is the arrangement of components to fit within local three-dimensional space within which those components are shown on the contract documents.

Would the acceptance of this definition solve the problem of the costs associated with the increased in the complexity of the coordination?

Contractor’s response: NO

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