Landmark Builders gained so many efficiencies by powering their constructability reviews with BIM 360 Glue and virtual reality (VR) construction technology on the 60,000 sq. ft. Greensboro Surgical Center project in Greensboro, North Carolina, that BIM collaboration software has become a competitive advantage and a selling point to potential clients.
Beth Ann Polivka is the BIM Coordinator at Landmark Builders, Inc. She has over 7 years of experience in the industry.
Landmark Builders, Inc. is a leading commercial general contractor in the southeast, providing a range of construction services including general construction, design/build, construction management and upfit/renovation. Landmark has proven experience inhealthcare, industrial, office and senior living construction.
Some of the benefits Landmark realized as a result of their pilot implementation of BIM collaboration software and VR technology:
- Ability to gain more new business by touting use of BIM 360 apps and improved ability to meet schedules
- Built stronger relationship with stakeholders, who felt they were part of the project
- Built up client trust due to enhanced communication
- Conducted constructability reviews during pre-construction that saved time in the schedule and improved overall project planning
- Significantly reduced time and cost by conducting end-user testing using highly accurate virtual reality instead of building a physical model
- Avoided rework and errors by making more informed decisions faster and more often
- Improved modeling and plans more often with BIM 360, updating model 400 times vs. only 25 times with traditional methods
Using virtual reality, Landmark was able to visualize operating rooms to the same degree of specificity as if they had built a physical room.
Piloting BIM collaboration software and virtual reality
When Landmark Builders decided to embrace new construction technologies, they didn’t just dip their toe in, they dove in head first.
Realizing how complex the 60,000 sq. ft. Greensboro Surgical Center project in Greensboro, North Carolina, would be, Landmark piloted BIM 360 Glue as well as VR and groundbreaking panoramic 3D rendering techniques to help meet the challenges of a high-precision construction project.
Among the most complex components of the surgical center are the operating rooms themselves. Traditionally, construction firms would build a physical mockup of an operating room for end user testing, and invite surgeons to come and provide feedback for optimal placement of medical equipment.
Instead, Landmark developed a virtual operating room in BIM 360 Glue and Autodesk Revit, and using VR goggles, were able to visualize the room to the same degree of specificity as if they had built a physical room. “We were blown away by the level of detail of these tools,” said BIM Manager, Beth Ann Polivka.
Using the goggles, surgeons provided feedback on where the views were, as well as where lights, outlets, and iPod docks were, making suggestions and changes on the spot (and not to mention early in the construction process). At one point, the surgeons noticed medgas outlets affixed to the ceiling, which they said wouldn’t work. Had this problem not been noticed until the center had been built, it would have cost considerably more time and money to redo.
Avoiding rework with improved accuracy thanks to BIM 360 Glue
In order to build the electrical and mechanical rooms for the medical facility, Landmark used BIM 360 Glue, which provided “a good visualization of how it’s planned to be constructed,” said Beth Ann.
Beth Ann continues: “The model was detail focused and highly accurate. Details like clearances for lights and electrical boxes had to be checked, and all equipment had a transparent box to show the required clearance area in the 3D model. This helped avoid not just hard clashes of things hitting each other, but also factor in the space needed for service of the equipment in the future. All the complexities of specialty medical equipment was taken into account and optimized in the way we built the facility.”
Clashes detected in a mechanical room of the Surgical Center with BIM 360 Glue.
In planning the ambulatory project, Beth Ann realized that BIM 360 apps could help greatly with above-head coordination, which would be challenging given the complexity of the HVAC systems. Using BIM 360 Glue during coordination, plumbing, medgas, fire sprinkler, conduit and duct work elements were all coordinated to a tolerance of one inch. During construction, snap measurements of elements to be built verse what was already in place could be made in the 3D model by anyone on site helping to ensure accuracy.
Making better decisions, more often, on the go
The Surgical Center of Greensboro project was the first one in which Landmark implemented a job site BIM box which allowed model access to each and every field worker, whether they had an ipad or not. Field teams could call up the latest amendment MEP engineers made to the plan right where they were standing onsite.
“The biggest benefit of using BIM 360 apps is the real-time factor,” Beth Ann says. “knowing it’s in real-time and what you are looking at is accurate was a huge benefit for us.”
Using the BIM tools, the teams were able to make more informed decisions, faster, and have the agility to pivot as real-time conditions changed. The model was updated 400 times, or several times per day or per week, as opposed to traditional coordinating processes where the model would be updated only about once per week, or 25 times overall.
Conducting constructability reviews during pre-construction saved time
Being able to initiate constructability reviews and make more decisions during pre-construction was another major benefit of using BIM 360 apps.
Constructability decisions could be made earlier in the process, like the decision on floor to floor height and many pieces of ductwork, for example. In doing so the team discovered a major clash of the ductwork and structural kickers, which were supposed to go in at an angle on the second floor. They discovered this before the ductwork was even ordered, and were able to redesign this very early in the design process as a result.
Having a high level of insight into ductwork and mechanical systems using BIM 360 tools also helps get owner buy-in early on.
A closer look at the systems under the roof of the Surgical Center in BIM 360 Glue.
Beth Ann says of the project, “Subs were pulled into the conversation early, including one that was pulled into design meetings, and was able to give constructability analysis input prior to construction. This saved time in the schedule during the construction phase, which allowed us to schedule and synchronize everything accurately and early on.”
From a successful pilot project to a competitive advantage
“This was our first project using BIM 360 Glue, and were really pleased to see such a huge productivity increase,” said Beth Ann.
Many of the aspects of the project were started or completed earlier in the process using BIM 360 than if Landmark had used traditional methods. As any GC knows, the earlier a problem can be identified and addressed, the less likely that issue will have a negative impact on other tasks and cause the dreaded domino effect.
“BIM 360 apps have been a great tool to talk about and a good selling point for new business.”
The team made many efficiency and productivity gains by using BIM collaboration software including BIM 360 Glue. Here are a few of those gains:
- Saved 50 hours of the BIM manager’s time on administrative tasks due to improved coordination
- Fewer errors made given the technology and coordination during the design phase -- the savings of which Landmark returned to customers
- Greater accountability by identifying the exact location of an issue via a push pin in the model, and assigning it to someone with a due date in one app
- Improved coordination that began early among the extended team of architects, engineers, subcontractors
Landmark Builders gained so many productivity, efficiency and cost benefits by using BIM 360, that using it has become a competitive advantage and a selling point to potential clients.
With the teams working so efficiently in the office and the field, the business development (?) side of things is also getting a boost from BIM 360. Beth Ann says, “[BIM 360] will be a selling point for us going forward. Schedules are a variable that can cut or win a job at the end of the day. There’s less room for error given the technology in all phases of the project. We can streamline our processes and apply the efficiencies gained to our customers.”
On the Greensboro project, being able to be transparent and accurate in communicating coordination resolutions, job progress and needs throughout the project has also helped Landmark build a stronger relationship with both stakeholders and the medical facility owners.