Monday 15 February 2016

Digital Design: Efficiency in Design and Construction

BIM in Design
Today’s construction projects typically are on a compressed timeline with a limited budget. Competitive companies have to utilize every tool available to gain an advantage, so by being able to digitally design projects such as commercial, residential and public buildings we are able to design more efficiently and effectively by managing the data of the model.

Building Information Modeling helps us to analyse the performance of a building, to make adjustments to the design to create a more efficient building. It does not end there, by utilizing technology after construction building owners and operators can manage the building, servicing and maintenance digitally throughout the buildings life span and beyond by allowing us to disseminate the buildings materials for proper disposal and recycling during demolition at the end of a buildings life.

We utilize the Building Information Model as a source for information and data about the building beyond the sole purpose of design. At any stage during the design process a contractor is able to utilize the models information to help quantify materials and monitor project costs. By quantifying materials they are able to minimize waste as well as sequence construction and even site access for vehicles and staging.
Interior Heart and Surgical Centre in Kelowna
Photo Credits: Sunny Jhooty Photography

 “BIM is more than just modeling the design, it's the sharing of information for the benefit of the project”

Building operation
By utilizing the models data we are able to manage the building assets down to the “micro” asset, such as furnishings and equipment. Once the building is built and operating the Building Information Model can be utilized for use as a Facilities Maintenance or Management model. These models can be used in conjunction with Facilities Management software allowing the building operator to maintain equipment such as HVAC and Electrical equipment by scheduling maintenance and even replacement reducing the need to repair and replace on demand.

The building operations can be monitored to maximize building efficiency and performance, monitoring and adjusting the heating and cooling loads according to the buildings occupancy schedule.
Interior Heart and Surgical Centre in Kelowna
Photo Credits: Sunny Jhooty Photography

Modularization and pre-fabrication
Modularization and pre-fabrication popular due to the benefits of reduced cost through constructing building elements more efficiently. The benefits of prefabrication on easily repeatable designs such as apartment building and healthcare are huge. Building these type of design components such as bathrooms and kitchens in a controlled environment, such as a in a factory setting, is far safer and more cost effective.

Design validation
Utilization of the BIM continues on to the client for design validation, by giving our clients the ability to see and interact within a true digital representation of the design, allows them to explore the building by means of virtual reality or augmented reality.

Digital design using BIM allows for visualization and imagery, portraying design intent in a way that the public, and our client, can easily recognize and conceive. Tools such as virtual reality and augmented reality continue to evolve, providing designers tools to visually integrate concepts into a real world settings, to explore how their ideas and designs fit into their surroundings. For example nurses and doctors are able to virtually explore a new surgical suite for efficiency and workability while still at the design stage, giving their feedback and input to help refine the layout long before construction begins.

With the use of Building Information Technology we are able to fully coordinate a complex project such as the Interior Heart and Surgical Centre or the Surrey Memorial Hospital resulting in an effective design with an efficient construction process.

Scott Chatterton
Article originally published in the SICA Construction Revit Spring 2016

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