BIM: Prepare Your Campus


On April 19th, Tocci and Autodesk co-hosted the successful “BIM: Prepare Your Campus” event.

Tocci, Autodesk, Harvard University, and Penn State presented to a group of institutional and medical campus owners, focusing on hands-on experiences with large-scale BIM implementation strategies. Both presenters and attending institutions brought unique perspectives to the discussion of how to successfully manage BIM implementation for large user groups such as medical or academic campuses.

Our discussion went beyond using BIM for design and construction and into how to capture the rich and valuable “I” in BIM. Lost information can cost designers, builders, and institutions huge amounts of money. Autodesk cited a NIST report which found that, on average, it costs owners $0.23 per square foot per year (recurring annual costs) to maintain buildings. The only resistance the Autodesk team has heard disputing this number is that it is too low. A significant amount of maintenance costs stem from researching problems before ever acting on their solutions. Imagine how much time and money could be saved by having readily accessible and easy-to-use building information for a campus like Penn State, the owner of over 28 million square feet!

The value of implementing BIM strategies was clear to all in attendance. The real challenge isn’t in deciding whether or not BIM is the right thing to do, but how to go about it and be successful. We were lucky to have industry trailblazers who were willing to share their insights. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

Begin with the end in mind.

Know what your institution needs out of a BIM implementation program. Dig in deep to develop a strong idea of what information would add the most value throughout the lifecycle of the building. This is the essential first step. Prioritize information that will help inform long-term decisions and short-term decisions for large and small-scale projects. The information that will be most helpful for campus-wide planning will not be the same information that is valuable to a one-room renovation.

Know what you want. Articulate what you want. Find an ally for your cause.

After deciding what information is necessary in order to see real value, clearly articulate those needs to internal or external BIM consultants, and others involved in BIM implementation strategy development.

Ask it and they will come.

Require that RFPs for major projects require BIM and stick to it. The upside to a down economy is that people want work and will work hard to get it.

The power of collaboration.

Flow of Building Information: Architects à Construction Managers à Subcontractors à Data Entry à Facility Managers. Think about the flow of knowledge from early design through occupancy and start the conversations between involved parties early. Open communication throughout all stages of design construction can help minimize information loss and the efficiency of doing so. Early collaboration reduces duplicated efforts which cost time and money.

Bad information is worse than no information.

Keep all information consistent throughout construction documents, databases, and other means of documentation uniform and standardized. Developing standards early will save time and make the end product more user-friendly.