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University of Southern california (USC) - Case Study

From Design to Fabrication to Erection to Facility Management

The BIM Process

For Phase 1, BIM was chiefly used for clash detection, subcontractor coordination and job site location and dimensional control. Additionally, the BIM model was specifically built to have a second life once construction concluded. USC wanted its facilities department to be able to incorporate the 3D model to manage the structure for its planned 100-year lifespan as well. BIM will be used for energy conservation, maintenance and long-range facility planning, including remodeling and future additions. The university expected the sophisticated building modeling tool to improve the lifecycles for all the buildings through thorough “smart” operations and maintenance monitoring – primarily of mechanical systems. Long-term plans were to use the school’s data-rich 3D model as a framework for enhancing the 2D software that was being used for managing most of the key buildings on the entire campus at the time.

While primarily used for a visual representation for projects, BIM for this project would be much more: benefiting the university long-term, as well as benefiting the firm in its design of particulars like structural integrity, sustainability, and interior and exterior functionality and sense of place.

Once completed, the BIM model was handed to the contractors who turned it into a fabrication model to create the precise specifications they needed to build the building.

As the structure was becoming reality, the BIM model was transformed in various ways to aid various subcontractors. Still, the building modeling approach was exhibiting the advantages of saving time and improving communications that was desired. For Phase 1, the model could be re-evaluated simply by viewing a computer in the nearby construction trailer. Computer screens featuring scope and orientation capabilities -- as well as hyperlinks to the full extent of material and process details -- were readily available. Detections of clashes of one element of the buildings with another were identified early and solutions were determined quickly using BIM. Decisions were made in hours instead of days because the usual RFI process was digitally transformed.

Time was saved by the use of the BIM model by material fabricators. Specifications on the steel fabrication and mechanical duct, piping and plumbing, as well as some of the framing were prepared in precise details, thanks to the customization that BIM provided.

USC_P3_ MEPF_900_02

Figure 7.   MEPF models collected from the subs for coordination.   These BIM models were used for shop drawings sign off and fabrication.  Different colors were assigned to each trade detailer.

USC_P3_Clash 01
USC_P3_Clash 02

Figure 8. Some of the clashes that were resolved during the coordination weekly meetings

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