Originally posted Thursday, 30 August 2012

Written by Chris Towery

For the past eight years, AIA’s Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Knowledge Community has held their annual BIM Awards to spotlight construction projects that display superior use of BIM technology and processes. While winning a BIM award has always been viewed as a huge honor for all parties involved in a construction project, this year AIA added the Owner’s Choice Award to their program, which honored projects that offered specific value to Owners. This was the first time such an award has ever been presented in the history of the event.

The Awards Process

This year in the overall BIM Awards, AIA/TAP honored projects with awards in five different categories: 1. BIM Excellence, 2. Delivery Process Innovation, 3. Outstanding Sustainable Design, 4. Academic Program/Curriculum Development, and 5. Specific Process Improvement Using BIM. The Owner’s Choice Award, however, was specific to the Delivery Process Innovation category.

For this category, the overall AIA jury selected two projects as award winners and three projects as honorable mentions. The winners were the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building Modernization in Portland, Oregon, and the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Patient Care Pavilion in Oakland, California. The three honorable mentions included the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Washington; the Maricopa County South Court Tower in Phoenix, Arizona; and the Warrior in Transition Barracks at Fort Carson, Colorado. These five projects were then submitted to the COAA jury for the Owner’s Choice Award.

The COAA jury was made up of the following members: Ed Gannon, Manager of Design Services at Pennsylvania State University; Gene Herring, Associate Director of Facilities Planning and Construction at the University of Florida; and Patrick Wilson, Project Manager at the University of Chicago. Before each of the five project teams offered their presentations, the COAA jury sat down to develop a selection criteria to determine the Owner’s Choice winner. While the AIA’s criteria for winning projects were mainly focused on design and how BIM enhanced the design, the COAA jury used criteria that was more concerned with the building’s performance over the long run.

“The Owner’s selection criteria were more focused on building and facility performance,” said University of Chicago Assistant Vice President for Capital Project Delivery Boyd Black, who represented Owners on the overall AIA jury. “And with building performance, we’re talking about long-term performance over the life cycle of the building. I mean, an Owner definitely wants a well-designed building that meets the project requirements, but they’re also thinking about the building’s performance 100 years after it’s built.”

With those factors in mind, Wilson and the rest of the jury eventually came up with five key selection criteria for the Owner’s Choice Award:

1. Effective use of BIM in all dimensions to achieve project goals and bring value to the Owner. (Modeling, visualization, scheduling/logistics, cost control, and lifecycle management.)

2. Emphasis on collaboration. (How well did the team work together relative to the delivery method and sharing of information among multiple disciplines—IPD/co-location, design-build, design assist, traditional delivery.)

3. Emphasis on Building Life Cycle (Use of BIM to facilitate energy modeling, ongoing energy management, LEED, or other standard for sustainability and energy efficiency.)

4. Emphasis on project turnover and transition to building operations. (Use of BIM to facilitate owner operations and- maintenance integration.)

5. Focus on Innovation. (Progressive used of BIM, new ideas, creative use of software, or innovative process that has never been done before.) The Winner In the end, the COAA jury presented the Owner’s Choice Award to the Maricopa County South Court Tower project. This 695,000-square-foot, 16-story court complex in Phoenix, Arizona, was completed in November 2011 and opened for business in February 2012. Due to a huge increase in court cases in the county, the Owner needed the new tower to be built on a three-year fast-track schedule, a full 18 months faster than typical buildings of this nature would normally take. With such a tight schedule, the project was especially ripe for BIM technology and integrated project delivery (IPD).

“Working on this project, we weren’t just making a step forward, we were making a huge leap forward,” said Sue Klawans,Director of Operational Excellence and Planning at Gilbane Building Company.

The project not only faced a challenging schedule, but since the tower was to house court proceedings, the building itself had an inherently complex design. First off, the tower needed to be secure, with circulation plans for three distinct populations: judges and law enforcement, the public, and the suspects being held in custody. To deliver jailed suspects safely to the courthouse, the tower also needed an underground tunnel connected to a nearby downtown jail. Finally, at 278 feet high, the proposed design would be right at the top of the Federal Aviation Administration’s height limit for city buildings.

Overcoming Obstacles

To meet these challenges, collaboration between all parties at all stages was essential. To achieve this, the project team worked for nine-months in full co-location during the preconstruction phase. Moreover, BIM was utilized to maximize performance and efficiency throughout every phase of the project.

“Our approach to the project was that there was no part too small for BIM,” said Jim Miller, Project Manager at Gould Evans Architecture.

In constructing the South Tower, the project team utilized numerous dimensions of BIM: modeling, scheduling, pricing, and life-cycle management. They were even able to model logistical situations, such as crane staging and swings with BIM technology. The technology also offered the team modularization and offsite assembly, so they could perform model-based prefabrication and station layout. They were able to create prefabricated curtain walls and model MEP entirely in BIM, both of which helped achieve schedule and cost savings. Further, the team utilized laser-scanning technology to verify the construction of the building structure, and they reconciled this with BIM to ensure proper design of the prefab panels.

The team also used the BIM model as a basis for computational-fluiddynamics studies to validate design decisions and calculations. Additionally, BIM was used for energy modeling to optimize the performance of the building envelope and comfort level of the interior spaces. On the macro level, the team used BIM to model construction sequencing during design to help assess constructability, logistics, and the tower’s impact on the surrounding buildings.

To keep within the short timeframe, the designer and contractor scheduled the delivery of the steel mill order 15 months prior to the primary architectural permit package. Since the model for the steel frame was the first to be completed to construction specifications and everything else had to be built around it, the ability to track the steel delivery and construction was crucial to maintaining the overall schedule. To achieve this, the steel members were all affixed with individual bar codes, so workers onsite could scan these bar codes to see the current status of what steel was built, what was on site, and what was in transit. Due to the BIM-enabled design assist process, over $6 million was saved on the steel alone. Similarly, the close coordination of design and construction teams allowed the team to buy out the building’s copper skin materials at historically low prices.

Since this award was specifically focused on the value to the Owner, special attention was paid to the project’s turnover and transition to building operations. The COAA jury found that the team did an excellent job of passing data across the building’s entire life cycle from BIM modeling all the way to the facilities management’s Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). Specifically, the project team was able to seamlessly deliver building-asset information in a welldeveloped integration process utilizing Revit, Maximo, and OnBase to facilitate the management of data. In the end, the team was able to pre-populate facilities management databases, which was enormously valuable to the Owner.

“By pre-populating facilities management databases, we were able to save facilities roughly two to five years of work,” said Klawans.

The Key to Success

With such an extensive use of BIM and the collaboration of all parties working on the project, the team was ultimately not only able to meet the schedule, but also see returned money and added scope. It’s estimated that the BIM solutions saved the project around $30 million, with $4.75 million in contingency returned at 65-percent completion. Moreover, the team’s attention to detail also won them the first-ever Owner’s Choice Award. “What impressed me most about the Maricopa project was its thorough use of BIM and the well thought-out implementation process,” said Wilson. “They really demonstrated that effective planning i www.afgcm.com s the key to success.”