Modeling Down to the Smallest Detail
Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become an essential component in successfully collaborating across multiple architectural, engineering, and construction teams. It is an invaluable tool in constructability assessments and overall quality assurance/quality control processes. Bremik has since found the best way to ensure a precise model for construction is to build our own model from scratch—all the way down to the smallest details, including every stud and bolt. Additionally, we have found this precision in modeling allows us the opportunity to pre-fabricate walls offsite when our crews self-perform wood-framing, shaving time off project schedules and inherently saving clients money. In 2014, we formed an internal BIM team dedicated to completing construction-ready models in Revit and to exploring avenues for innovation.
Improving Accuracy Amongst Trades
Due to the obvious benefits of having an exact construction model in Revit, we decided to utilize our internal BIM team to build a complete model of the Canopy Hotel before construction began in 2016. Sitting at 12 stories in a densely urban part of Downtown Portland, Canopy Hotel provided the perfect opportunity to see how building our own construction-ready Revit model could shape a project’s success.
There was great complexity to Bremik’s self-performed concrete scope of work; the construction-ready model for Canopy allowed our crews to lay out the slabs, columns, walls, and steel before pouring each floor. Since much of the concrete work was not just structural but part of the visible design of the building, Revit also helped us identify where to install necessary bracing without impacting the architectural aesthetic. Bremik was able to spatially coordinate mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installations in the dense concrete structure with an unparalleled degree of precision. Our team knew exactly where each steel beam would sit and where each bolt would be installed. On a project that had absolutely no room for error, creating a construction model that could continually evolve—as necessary, and as the hotel was being built—proved invaluable to the building’s successful completion.
Enhancing Clash Detection
Since our success in modeling the Canopy Hotel project, clash detection has become standard practice on our larger projects. With the accuracy BIM offers for “virtual construction,” our crews are able to identify areas where mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire sprinklers (MEPF); architectural; and/or structural elements clash months ahead of construction. This results in the ability to outpace possible problems and resolve them before they become costly and inconvenient to fix.
We perform these “clashes” across all trades to make sure that teams aren’t intersecting each other’s work and that there is also sufficient space for wiring, plumbing, HVAC, etc. Through proactive issue detection and resolution, our team can find and fix anything from missing dimensions, to insufficient clearance between mechanical and structural elements.
As a recent example, on the medical office building One Community Health, our BIM team established that certain areas didn’t have enough space for the mechanical HVAC systems between the ceiling and roof joist. Bremik’s proactive approach to constructability assessments meant we were able to ascertain the issue before the project broke ground and subsequently work with the architect to deliver an appropriate solution. This type of issue would generally be easy to overlook in the early project stages, leading to costly fixes and schedule delays upon breaking ground. Bremik’s experience on this project has shown us how invaluable design validation using BIM is. It ultimately results in smoother field installs, as well as better schedule and budget execution.
Evolving Pre-Fabrication for Self-Performed Wood Framing
As BIM software continues to evolve, we’re able to explore further opportunities for how both Bremik, and the construction industry as a whole, can continue to save time and improve workflow. “We are modeling to make our crews more efficient,” says Bremik Project Manager Spencer Bradley.
To test some possibilities, this year our BIM team began “virtually constructing” wood walls in Revit ahead of actual construction—first for One Community Health, and most recently for the Mt. Hood Brewing Facility. For Mt. Hood Brewing Facility in particular, BIM Modeler Peggy Martin modeled the concrete and framing in Revit. From there, she was able to auto-populate shop drawings for every wall panel (totaling 50 walls, all approximately 8-ft.-wide and 12 – 18-ft.-tall). Our pre-fabrication team then built these wood walls at Bremik’s shop from the drawings and stored the walls until they needed to be delivered to the Government Camp site for installation. The walls were built to accommodate exactly where cutouts for HVAC and cable trays would need to be installed, which meant no rework of any of the framing. Pre-fabricating the walls off site also eliminated the waste that would have been produced had the walls been built on site.
That’s Just the Beginning
We believe there are more opportunities for creating shop drawings from our models, beyond what we’ve generated thus far. We are excited to continue exploring innovations and opportunities for the construction industry to build construction-ready BIM. It has already proven invaluable in spatial coordination amongst trades, quality control, design verification and validation, and overall precision. Full construction models and pre-fabrication of wood-framing is something we will continue to look at for Bremik’s self-performed work—particularly on projects where schedule is imperative. It will also serve as an exceedingly beneficial resource during times where there is great market demand, as we will be able to produce more work with fewer resources based on solely on preplanning.