Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
We love keeping up with the latest technology, and we are excited to announce that a new approach is being used to develop one of our design-build projects at Fort Benning, Georgia. The Martin Army Community Hospital project is a 750,000 square foot hospital project with two clinics, two parking garages, a half-mile roadway, and a new exit ramp from I-185.
This project is being developed using 3-dimensional Building Information Modeling (BIM), which allows the designers to literally build the project in the computer. They use that information for laying out the project during construction.
The benefits of using BIM are numerous, including efficient designs that allow less materials to be used during construction, conflict resolution of building components before construction begins, schedule benefits for sequencing construction, and even benefits for the long-term management of equipment in the building.
The computer model is downloaded into a GPS system like Trimble or TopCon, and then a total station is setup on the job site that can stake out every component in the building from a structural steel beam down to a 2-inch plumbing pipe. Clash detection software allows the contractor to identify where pipes, beams, ducts, and other components will conflict before construction begins, and this prevents time delays that otherwise would occur during construction activities.
We have been using 3-dimensional design software for years in the civil/site field, but this project is the first where we have designed everything outside the building as a 3-D model and then merged it in with the building model.
This allows the contractor to visualize and plan stages of construction, and literally see each step of the project being built in the computer before they engage the actual work in the field. They were able to see the site grading activities, followed by the hospital tower, clinics, and parking garages coming out of the ground together and interacting with one another.
At the end of the project the 3-D BIM model will be delivered to the client for their use as a building management tool, which will be much more useful than an a typical As-Built Survey.
Sain Associates, Inc., is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with offices in Cullman, Alabama, Pulaski, Tennessee and Mandeville, Louisiana. Sain is a site engineering, traffic/transportation engineering and planning and land surveying firm with experience in more than thirty states.