BIM (Building Information Modeling) creates and manages data during the design, construction, and operations processes. The software is a powerful tool used by structural engineers to bring a project to life in 3D with the ability to manipulate data in real time to promote collaboration and team-inspired solutions while improving accuracy and constructability. The optimization and automation of design through BIM helps prevent mistakes in the design process and provides better results for the client.
ESSENTIAL BENEFITS OF BIM
BIM confirms that what is designed can actually be built. The resulting structural model is an accurate representation allowing engineers to identify problematic or unconstructable components before they become costly design errors.
“All major structural components built into our models contain Different levels of design information used for varying purposes such as populating schedules for a footing, framing schedules, or determining how many yards of concrete may be required — these are just some of the useful tools representing the ‘information’ part of BIM within Revit,” said TGE’s Chad Dickinson, BIM Design Manager.
Not only does BIM serve as the project’s data repository, it uncovers design issues while allowing the entire project team to work together toward resolution. When constructability issues are not found early — or worse, are caught in the field — the budget can be significantly impacted. Risk of project shut down causing potential for long delays and costly change orders also may occur.
“Further benefits of collaborating on the lifecycle of the BIM process is that the entire engineering team can support all project types from initial concept through design completion,” said Dickinson.
By applying BIM, you can minimize jobsite shutdowns due to constructability errors including timeline delays, on-site labor issues, materials delivery scheduling, and more.
BUILDING IT BETTER IN BIM
There are multiple benefits of having a 3D model correlating with BIM information. While building a BIM model in Revit is time intensive and has upfront project costs, the value of producing an accurate model of the project has many advantages including:
Improved safety and efficiency through identification of potential hazards and physical risks before onsite construction.
Cost control and minimization of costly change orders.
Design adjustments are instantaneously available to the entire project team.
Project elements can be sequenced and scheduled saving time and money.
Increased viability of materials substitutions.
The TGE design team understands how to leverage these benefits advantageously, particularly in architectural design review application and verification of feasibility for construction from a structural perspective. 3D rendering reveals design disconnects that can be fixed almost instantaneously by in-house professionals. TGE is an expert at evaluating design documents delivering design specifications in the most cost-effective way without compromising design.
On a recent complex residential project featuring modern architectural design elements, concrete 12’ x 12’ cantilever columns and footings, uncommon in residential construction, were specified. Additionally, the variety of materials — including wood, glulam, ICF concrete walls, and laminated veneer lumber (LVL), as well as the sheer number and sizes of beams — presented further challenges. The ICF concrete walls provided opportunity for TGE to develop a creative solution using the ICF wall for lateral and gravity designs. The team also devised a complicated roof system incorporating multiple roof diaphragms while determining the ideal roof support system to use with the number of windows and expanses of glass specified in the design. The BIM model proved an invaluable tool aiding in the design, cost, and constructability of the building.
Another project, a prototypical design for a national restaurant chain, required modifications to exterior canopies based on location and geography. TGE’s BIM process allowed recognition and correction of specific design issues during the design phase and prior to issuing construction documents; again, saving the client time and costs by avoiding potential delays during the permitting process.
ONE TEAM, ONE LOCATION, ONE GOAL
While the BIM software platform is a valuable tool, in-house application in a collaborative environment is key and not a service always offered by firms.
“Walking down the hall to discuss solutions and execute them on the spot with my team helps keep projects on schedule. The ability to work with my drafting team in person rather than relying on online documents or calling a 3rd party modeler allows for rapid on-the-spot corrections, enhancements, and modifications,” said TGE’s Connor Asmus, E.I., Project Engineer.
TGE uses one central model to create projects allowing multiple team members to work simultaneously, streamlining projects and encouraging teamwork at all levels of the construction document process. Value is particularly demonstrated when critical deadlines or “hot rushes” come up. The centralized model allows insertion of supplemental team members into a project to pick up
redlines and comments concurrently, amplifying production and the ability to hit critical, fast-tracked deadlines.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Chad Dickinson has been with TGE since 2017 where he brings almost 30 years of experience in the industry to our firm. With a love for creating, building, problem solving, finding creative solutions and helping others, the work he gets to do each day is a result of how he was raised coupled with these passions. Chad has worked in the field, for architecture firms, and engineering firms. This diverse work experience has transformed Chad’s career into leading a team of BIM Designers, where he has the opportunity to teach and mentor the next generation of designers and engineers. Chad’s wealth of knowledge is seen in every project he touches. His team supports the three structural engineering teams where they work on projects across all three of our market sectors: manufacturing, commercial, and facilities.
Connor Asmus, E.I., joined TGE in 2019 as a structural engineering intern before graduating from Boise State University in 2020 and joining our team full-time as a Project Engineer. With a love for math, science and construction growing up, engineering was a natural choice for Connor. As a structural engineer, he gets to dive into what excites him every day. Being able to present clients with quality work and know that what he’s doing benefits society as a whole gives him joy that inspires him to work hard every day. Connor is looking forward to his journey to becoming a licensed professional engineer and continuing to dive into his passions while impacting the community.