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Letterman Digital Arts Center - Case Study

The BIM Process

NavisWorks was the only off the shelve display technology available that I know of in which on can assemble such a large amount of 3D data into a single model.  The proprietary compression technology and the ability to assemble 3D large and complex models from almost any CAD application on the market today, makes this application a must in the project management tool box.

The building information model was updated on a weekly basis and posted to the server.  The management of the digital assets was the sole responsibility of View By View.  When a revised model was made available for publishing to the server, the previous model was automatically updated.  Any older models that were downloaded to the local PC were no longer activated since they were timed on a weekly basis.  This process worked extremely well since all the team members had access to the most current information, eliminating potential communication problems that could arise by referencing the out of date model.  In contrast, paper drawings are difficult to manage as new drawings are published every time there is a change and distributed to the various disciplines.  Is not uncommon for a person to work with an out of date drawing resulting in expensive modifications on the site or in a fabricator’s shop. (Figure 6)

LDAC_P5_Steel truss_04
LDAC_P5_Steel truss_01

This part of the Roof truss had to remain in the original position as it is anchored into the shear wall

This part of the Roof truss had to be cut in order to avoid the collision with the external curtain wall

Figure 6 The above example illustrates some of the problems encountered on the LDAC project by using out of date paper drawings or as a result of a lack of communication between the concerned parties responsible for the design.  The steel truss was penetrating the aluminum curtain wall and this occurred on both sides of the building.  This problem was discovered during a typical visual conflict check of the building information model and automatically reported to the LDAC management team.  The steel frame was already manufactured by the steel fabricator but was not yet delivered to the site.  The steel frame was modified in the shop thereby minimizing the costs of a possible change order.

LDAC_P5_Steel truss_03

During this BIM process, which paralleled the actual construction of the project, many other discrepancies and unresolved design issues were found between the structural, architectural and mechanical systems.  These were pointed out to the team members during the weekly variance meetings, enabling corrections to occur often days before the actual construction of the relevant elements.  By incorporating the contractor’s shop drawings as another layer in this process, additional errors were found which, left unchecked, would have resulted in considerable costs to the contractor and delays in the construction schedule.  An additional advantage was that, by working on site full time, we conducted regular site walks, recorded everything digitally and by comparing the digital photographs with the 3D model we were able to identify further discrepancies between what was being built and what was intended.  Having already constructed the building “virtually”, deviations from the design became quickly evident to us.


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