BIM and 3D Animation Credited with Keeping $1 Billion Hospital Project On-Time and On-Budget

Construction partners on a large Chicago hospital project say BIM has never before been used to such a deep extent on a major hospital project.

Project managers for The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, now under construction, say they are using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and 3D animation technology to hold costs down and ensure that the project is ready for a Summer 2012 move.

The hospital’s construction managers, architects, and engineers are using BIM, which creates a virtual 3D model of the hospital, to identify and address potential design and construction issues well before they impact the schedule and budget. For example, BIM helps the hospital ensure that they are routing piping, duct work, and conduit properly before any of this work actually happens inside the building.

The construction team also says the technology is enhancing the energy efficiency of the building in several ways, including the enabling of thermal modeling, which provides a virtual comparison of potential heat loss based on which materials are selected for the building’s enclosure. Mortenson Construction, who came together in a joint venture with Power Construction to manage Lurie Children’s construction project, is a national leader in the development and implementation of BIM. Although it is often used on commercial construction projects, Mortenson believes the use of BIM to this extent for a hospital project of this magnitude is groundbreaking.

“BIM helps us coordinate and schedule 50+ subcontractors’ work inside the building, and has greatly helped this fast-track, 23-story, $1 billion project to remain on time and on budget,” says Robert Nartonis, Senior Vice President for Mortenson Construction. “It saves money because it avoids site delays and change orders common to a project of this size and scope.”

Managers at Mortenson say BIM will continue to reduce costs after construction by providing a “digital blueprint” of the hospital and its complex systems. Any time a remodeling or renovation project needs to take place post-construction, hospital officials will use the BIM model to visualize the space, review possibilities and schedule the necessary work before construction begins.

“The benefits of BIM on this project are likely to make it the new industry standard for complicated hospital projects around the country,” said Bruce Komiske, Chief of New Hospital Design and Construction for Children’s Memorial Hospital, who has overseen several new children’s hospital projects around the world.

Follow the link to see a 30-second video of how 3D animation is used to plan construction sequencing for an operating room.