BOKA Powell & Building Information Modeling (BIM)
B – Building: Generating a Comprehensive and Interactive Database of Building Data I – Information: Facilitating a Smarter Design through Information M – Model: Creating a Virtual Interactive Model from Dynamic Project Data
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Utilizing BIM, design teams no longer "draw up" a facility design; but rather, they "model it." The model that they create is a digital simulation of the entire design utilizing specialized software to create a 3-D representation of the project. For example, instead of drawing walls, the design team places 3-D wall objects, which represent the physical appearance of the element and the design software stores its information, such as “U” values, cost, area, price, finishes, thicknesses, UL ratings and much more. BIM also provides tremendous design coordination power since it "knows" how the design should go together. It knows that doors go in walls, that ducts can't go through beams, and that a door in a wall has to show up in an elevation as well as a plan and a schedule. BIM's promise is that it will increase the quality of our documents and reduce coordination errors while simultaneously allowing the design team to provide a quality design.
BOKA Powell is an industry leader in the implementation of BIM and are developing and deploying it across the entire spectrum of our practice. We are committed using the most cutting edge Building Information Modeling (BIM) software to bring an added value to our clients during the design, documentation, construction and post-construction processes. When working with BIM or a BIM-like platform, the overall success is dependent upon buyoff from the project owner. BOKA Powell’s move to BIM software was owner directed and supported, which is one of the main reasons for our success when transitioning to the platform. We have been utilizing BIM-like software since its inception, and we are currently active in several user groups, testing several manufacturers’ BIM components for content, clarity, usability and intelligence. BOKA Powell’s commitment to using the rapidly-evolving BIM technology has changed the way we work as a unified team with our consultants, by enhancing our drawing construction documentation process and redefining our design tools. We have an internal team dedicated to exploring BIM’s ever-evolving 3rd party software, which aids in and supports Information Modeling. BOKA Powell is active in several BIM user groups; we are currently testing several manufacturers’ BIM components for content, clarity, usability and intelligence.
BOKA Powell provides 3-D/BIM architecture services through the use of Autodesk Revit Architecture, arguably the industry leader, to produce accurate and coordinated drawings from an architectural 3-D/BIM model. We partner with BIM-enabled engineering firms to create a more complete 3-D/BIM model for use in coordinating across disciplines with the use of NavisWorks collision reporting software. This higher level coordination provides even greater accuracy on drawings across all disciplines. During the design process, collaboration software such as Autodesk Design Review is used to allow all team members to review the model, plans, etc. and communicate needed changes more efficiently. By using Revit software, we can easily transition the model information to a CAD-based background file in AutoCAD. Our team continually shares their drawings using a digital file transfer system that tracks when drawings are shared and allows for digital markups of the drawings that require special attention. These shared “redline” drawings are transmitted to the entire consultant team and labeled specifically for each discipline, to further enhance team coordination.
Studies have shown that something as simple as rotating a building a few degrees on the site can save thousands of dollars in energy costs over the life of the building. By using BIM as a design tool, we can make small adjustments that help us understand all ways to lower energy costs. The BIM integration enables designers and other users to optimize the energy efficiency of their designs and work toward carbon neutrality earlier in the design process than has been traditionally possible. This key ingredient for incorporating energy efficiency into standard building design practices brings a much-needed value to our clients. Additional values include green building analysis, lighting calculations, airflow studies, clash detection, construction sequencing, monitor glare control and studies of ways to achieve LEED Certification points, quantity take-offs, realistic images, virtual tours and much more.
While it is readily apparent and quite exciting that the design and construction industry is evolving to BIM delivery methods, it will be some time before all disciplines and consultants are completely entrenched in BIM documentation. BOKA Powell understands that our teams often include consultants who are not working on the platform, and it is, therefore, necessary to convert many of their 2-D (non-BIM) files. BOKA Powell works with the consultants’ information to duplicate and properly document the data and incorporate it into the more intelligent BIM model. While it may seem redundant to model over the 2-D files, BOKA Powell understands the information (the “I”) that can be more clearly defined by transferring it to a BIM model. After the information is transferred, the new model can be used in cost analyses, material takeoffs and more. BIM software also allows the designers to take advantage of clash detection which is not otherwise available with the traditional 2-D information. Traditional consultant coordination meetings are still held regularly where open communication can occur regarding changes and revisions to drawings. These drawing “pin-up” sessions allow for lively discussion whereby each discipline can discuss issues pertinent to the coordination of their work. The advent and prevalent use of BIM has not reduced the need for strong communication, but has greatly enhanced the tools and methods of communication – a core philosophy on which our company is built.