While we currently operate largely within the 3rd generation of BIM, we increasingly see owner requirements that suggest the next generation of BIM is fast approaching. In the 4th generation of BIM – BI(m) – the information contained in the model becomes more important than the 3D model element itself. One of the more concrete examples of BI(m) is the COBie (Construction to Operation Building Information Exchange) requirement, where design and construction-phase information is transferred to an owner for the operation of the building. Instead of creating a mountain of paper, all the information on equipment within the BIM model – color, model, manufacturer, links to PDFs on the component - is extracted into a spreadsheet format so that owners can easily access information for the future maintenance and operation of building equipment. In this newest generation of BI(m), the owner is able to benefit from the information in the model without actually having to deal with the model itself.
The technical challenges facing BIM adoption today and in the future, are largely the result of legacy workflow protocols triggered by current software. Though our current BIM solutions have served us well over the last decade, they may not be built to lead us for future success. In particular, they have not created scalable, open or granular access to the information we create during design activities. To be most effective, future BIM implementation needs to consider the entire lifecycle of BIM data, including its consumption by downstream users. Current BIM applications create massive datasets, often within a single file. Given that we will have more – and more widely distributed – BIM teams in the future, greater granularity of BIM data will be vital for the collaborative consumption of information. Instead of continuing to create ever larger files, we need to conceptualize and structure the BIM environment for quick and easy access. We imagine an arrangement where BIM is comprised of many tiny pieces of data we are calling atomicBIM – i.e., BIM in small, discrete pieces of data. An atomized information structure would provide granularity and rapid access so that subsets of BIM information could be more easily accessed without a massive download.
Due to the benefits of using 3D virtual models to guide real-world processes, BIM has gradually grown from its origins in BM (Building Modeling) into BI (Building Information) with various combinations of model and data in between. A Building Information model can be viewed as a collection of BIM ‘atoms’ of information in a context of project information. Over four generations - BM, BM+I, BIM, and BI(m) - the composition of the atoms has changed but the essential nucleus of information is preserved. We are now entering the phase where BIM is valued as much for the information it can contribute beyond design and construction, and there are clear use scenarios, such as COBie, where the information within the model is transferred even when the model itself is not.
EYP currently uses BIM software in all disciplines and for all new projects. Certain projects stand out from the scores of BIM projects we’ve completed over the past 10+ years: modeling a large historic structure; using BIM files to expedite steep procurement; and assisting asset coordination and management using custom BIM components. Recent projects, such as ZEN and Penn State’s Agricultural Engineering Building, pivot on the use of BIM in an integrated "Big Room" setting where owner, contractors, and design teams all use BIM as the locus of discussion. Increasingly this "Big Room" approach is considered the future of BIM use by collaborative teams. From lean documentation and design review to phase planning and more, this article discusses the many ways in which EYP continues to lead the industry in leveraging the power of BIM.
W.F. Magann Corporation was subcontracted by Summit Construction to assist in relocating the Watch Box, a historic structure at NSF Indian Head (a naval research facility in Maryland) that once guarded the Washington Navy Yard during the Civil War.
A historic structure that Abraham Lincoln would often visit, the Watch Box played a vital role in keeping the Navy Yard secure and it remains to this day as the only surviving example from that period of time. As part of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the Navy decided to restore the structure and return it the Navy Yard where it originally belonged.
To complete the job, Ayers House Movers, another subcontracted construction company, needed to lift the structure from its foundation and move it to the waterfront, where W.F. Magann Corporation would load it onto their barge and float it up the river to the Washington Navy Shipyard. Upon arrival in Washington D.C, the Watch Box would need to be loaded back on land for Ayers to transport inside the shipyard.
But of course, there were challenges to be had along the way.
You’re a healthcare project manager responsible for constructing a new building in your system, and it’s time to review and make recommendations to your leadership on the project delivery approach.
For many of us who have participated in the rapid growth of BIM, It is tempting to see it as just one more technology development in the project delivery process, but its real impact is quickly accelerating beyond that. More accurately, the growth of BIM is heralding a true disruption in the construction industry. It is transforming markets, and revolutionizing expectations. In fact, it is increasingly apparent that BIM fits a well-known pattern familiar to business scholars, a pattern known as disruptive innovation and made famous by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen in his best-selling book The Innovator’s Dilemma.