Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Beyond Construction Documents

As the building design industry has more widely adopted Building Information Modeling (BIM), the ability to work in 3D software has gone from  “nice to have” to “MUST have”.  These tools allow intelligence to be embedded into the design, and enhance collaboration and coordination among trades.  To truly take advantage of these capabilities a firm must have a team of highly trained designers with deep knowledge of the software tools.  EEA’s BIM team is at the forefront of 3D modeling of MEP systems, continually attending conferences to stay on top of emerging trends, and lecturing at local user group meetings to share their knowledge.

Our BIM team uses Revit MEP to model intelligent building systems. So the Mechanical systems contain air flow and pressure loss data, . Plumbing systems contain flow data , and riser diagrams are actual 3D views of the model, instead of 2D line work. Additionally, electrical power and lighting circuits contain electrical voltage, loads, circuit breaker ratings, voltage drop, wire information, and panel information. The mechanical, electrical and plumbing schedules are generated automatically. These intelligent systems combine to make a BIM model that is not simply used to create construction documents, but a highly coordinated, data-driven, and useful model.

Clash Detection and Coordination

As noted above, another key feature of BIM software is the ability to coordinate multiple trades BEFORE equipment and fixtures are installed in the field.  Our BIM team uses Autodesk Navisworks to combine models from various disciplines into one coordinated model. The clash detective tool is then run to easily and quickly analyze the various geometry collisions in the model. Responsibility for resolving each clash is assigned to the agreed-upon trade, and each BIM model is corrected. This process is repeated until the coordination model is clash-free, and the design team is confident that the design is coordinated to an acceptable level. This allows the final model to be delivered to the client with confidence that it is accurate enough to build from, and can prevent costly and time-consuming changes in the field.

Laser Scanning

In order to attain the most precise and current as-built measurements for a BIM model, EEA utilizes 3D laser-scanning technology. The scanner is placed in the space, and emits laser pulses to create a “point cloud” consisting of millions of point measurements.

 Laser scanning produces this

This point cloud can then be imported into other software in order to start building a BIM model. The BIM team uses Autodesk ReCap and Revit to model from the point cloud to create a highly precise BIM model that contains actual as-built dimensions and conditions.

3-dimensional model (BIM) created from point cloud.