Converting six million square feet of space from 2D drawings to intelligent 3D building information models at one of the nation’s largest medical centers is no small undertaking. But that’s exactly what Joe Porostosky, Director of Facilities Information and Technology at The Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University, and Brian Skripac, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, managed to accomplish.
In July 2008, Joe Porostosky and Dave Pifher (Lead Facilities Space Analyst) began considering a transition away from their traditional AutoCAD documentation for representing building floor plans, recognizing the limitations it had in representing space and the associated data.
In short, AutoCAD amounted to lines on a piece of paper, and internal customers wanted more value out of their space data. The initial investigation looked at staying with AutoCAD or moving to AutoCAD Architecture or Revit Architecture.
Over the next six months, the team continued to informally investigate and discuss these options and explore the necessary steps to make this transition a reality. Luckily, they would receive help. In January 2009, the team was introduced to Brian Skripac, then Director of BIM at DesignGroup, a local architecture firm with a reputation for BIM leadership in Columbus, Ohio.
Over the next 18 months, they continued to discuss their options while watching how the technology and the industry were progressing. Then, in June of 2010, they concluded that they needed to formally determine what it would take to make a wholesale switch to BIM. The dramatic improvement to the visual presentation of facility plans, along with the ability to do energy modeling, and the general move to BIM by the architecture industry were the driving forces behind this decision.
In addition, a 1.1 million square foot Medical Center expansion project was being designed in Revit and coordinated in Autodesk Navisworks, and Joe’s team wanted to be ready for the BIM deliverables at the end of that project. They then began taking steps towards a BIM implementation.
Step 1: Implementation Planning
Joe’s team developed a detailed BIM Proposal and Implementation Plan to fully understand the timeline and resource requirements for a complete conversion to BIM. This document served to formally scope the project and to promote this forward-thinking initiative to senior leadership gaining the necessary labor and financial resources.
Once the plan was complete, they then shifted towards execution and implementation. However, that required the team establishing how to implement its ambitious plan, gaining a deeper understanding of BIM technology and contemplating how it would integrate/redefine their existing team and processes.
Step 2: Establishing a team
The first step to the implementation was defining the outcomes for the Medical Center and making sure a solid plan was in place to present to senior leadership to assure a commitment of resources to accomplish this project. Understanding how they were going to use the model geometry was important, but equally important was knowing what additional data was needed in the models to optimize their use and met the wide range of uses and expectations for the team at the Medical Center.
In addition, Joe and Brian had lengthy conversations about how the internal team at the Medical Center would be structured.
Who was going to take on the task of modeling the more than six million square feet of buildings? Would it be the Medical Center, DesignGroup, or both? Who would provide the needed internal technical leadership for this project and the larger ongoing BIM initiatives, and how could that person quickly get up to speed with the technology, so they could provide the needed owner’s perspective to the on-going project development?
A key driver behind this discussion was to make sure we were reinforcing the larger educational mission of the Medical Center and taking a, “teach a man to fish,” approach to the project. The outcome was a decision to bring on a team of architectural and engineering students from The Ohio State University to learn how to develop these models, while providing a valuable real world, educational experience.
With a decision made on how they would build their team, they then began executing on their multi-phased approach to the implementation.
Step 3: Identifying a multi-phased approach to implementation
With a strategy for building a team in place, they began the process of creating a defined scope of work, schedule, and a well-planned multi-phased approach to the overall BIM Implementation project. That multi-phased approach broke down as follows:
- Phase 0:
- Standards & Template Development
- Process Map and Workflow Integration
- Best Practices & Consulting
- Phase 1:
- Implementation – “Big Bang Approach”
- 54 Buildings – 6,012,540 square feet
- Includes basic building information: exterior, walls, windows, doors, columns, etc.
- Student and User Training
- Phases 2 and 3:
- Planned future detail to models
Part of determining the overall schedule was leveraging the team’s initial conversion analysis with metrics that DesignGroup provided to identify how long it would take to complete the modeling effort of Phase 1 which became known as the “Big Bang Approach.”
Joe and his team concluded that a modeling effort covering .025 minutes/sf would be a realistic expectation. Balancing this against a desire to have Phase 1 completed during the summer of 2011 meant the Medical Center would need to hire five full time students to meet the schedule. They then got to work.
Step 4: implementing 6 million square feet of BIM
In February of 2011, the team began Phase 0 of its implementation plan, which included four primary objectives:
- Creation of the BIM Implementation Team (to include a project champion, technical staff, BIM experts, and more)
- Development of BIM Standards and Revit Templates
- Development of a process and workflow for model development
- Preparing for Phase 1 (Big Bang Conversion) kick off
With a team in place, over the next couple of months, creating standards and templates was not just about rebuilding AutoCAD content in Revit, but reinventing those systems and process to create a new and better way of doing things. This enabled Brian to guide the conversation and bring his past experiences and unique perspective to this part of the Medical Center’s BIM evolution and development of BIM Standards.
There were also extensive conversations about what the appropriate level of detail for the models would be (for both now and in the future) to accomplish the outcomes defined for this project. This dialogue not only provided a structure for the content/standard development in this phase of the project, but also set a foundation for the process map and workflow integration that would be defined as well.
Knowing there is no easy way to move from AutoCAD to Revit, the Medical Center’s collaboration with Brian Skripac allowed the team to clearly understand how the conversion process would occur. This would include using the AutoCAD floor plans as an underlay in Revit for the team model on top of. While this provided the floor plan information there was a significant amount of data needed to build a full 3D model that did not exist in the AutoCAD files, such as floors, ceilings, roofs, exteriors, and window, door and wall heights.
The last step in Phase 0 was to collect as much existing building information as possible to ensure the students could hit the ground running when they started in June of 2011. For each of the 53 buildings, the team planned to construct models to support key tasks:
- Conduct a field verification to determine accuracy of the existing AutoCAD floor plans
- Collect supporting drawings such as: as-built plans, wall sections, building sections, elevations, etc.
- Photo document the building exterior and any of its unique features
As part of this implementation project it was the team’s intent to have each of the building information models accurate within a 1% deviation from the actual conditions. Following field verifications, only seven buildings did not meet this standard as AutoCAD drawings, and would get additional attention during the next project phase.
The team’s estimates indicated that Phase 0 took approximately 1,080 hours over about a four-month period of time spread across five staff, with the BIM Coordinator incurring the bulk of those hours. Based on this, preparation time for the project was about 0.011 minutes per square foot.
The initial project preparation of Phase 0 proved to be critical to the success of the project, as significant and long-lasting decisions were made that would have been difficult and painful to change once our implementation began. In addition, the Phase 0 work that was conducted significantly accelerated the students’ work in creating the building information models.
Click HERE to read more about the implementation of BIM at The Ohio State University. Joe and Brian share insights on how they relied on a surprisingly unexpected resource to help develop Revit-based building information models. They also explain their plans for future uses of BIM in several ways, such as enabling improved asset analysis, as a tool for conducting people and vehicle capacity analysis, and to support recruitment and fundraising efforts.