Written in cooperation with HT Group
What is Building Information Modeling?
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process most commonly used in the construction industry. The aim of creating these models is to provide builders with all relevant information about the project in a digital format. This model is used and updated not just for construction, but also throughout the entire lifecycle of the building, encompassing everything from operations management to eventual demolition.
What are the benefits of Building Information Modeling?
The benefits of this type of unified project management are clear: All aspects of the project are centralized. This reduces the chance of information loss that typically occurs when a new team takes ownership of a project or during the collaboration process with different experts. When everyone — architects, surveyors, engineers, contractors and the owner of the building itself — works from the same model, the project is free to run more smoothly.
Summary of the benefits of Building Information Modeling:
- All aspects of the project are centralized
- Reduces the risk of information loss
- With everyone on the same page, the project can run smoothly
Why is building information modeling important?
At its core, BIM involves the generation and management of digital renderings of physical spaces. Since a building information model is digitalized, it can be easily shared and used as a basis for collaboration to facilitate decision-making in construction projects.
BIM is referred to as having seven dimensions. The first dimension is about research, planning and conceptualization, the implementation of which into a vector design is then the second dimension. In the third, or spatial dimension, parts and objects are turned into a three dimensional model. Time represents the fourth dimension, used for streamlining building and factoring in assembly time of all building-related parts. This data is then lifted into the fifth dimension in which the model is enriched with cost-related information. The sixth dimension is considered “as build” and takes environmental impact and sustainability into account. In the seventh dimension, information for through-life operations management of the project is implemented. With all that said, how can BIM be translated for use in hospital and healthcare facility development projects? And what role does BIM in healthcare have to play?
How to use BIM in hospital construction
When building an operating room, be it a renovation or completely new facility, the process involves many stakeholders. Generally, the chain of development usually goes something like this: After the hospital decides to renovate or build new O.R.s, they hire equipment planners and architects to facilitate master planning. Together they define room numbers and types, and develop drawings. Contractors and construction teams are then hired after a bid. An evaluation is then completed by hospital stakeholders, such as administration, O.R. directors or managers, team leads, surgeons, IT, biomed and facilities. The request for proposals (RFP) is then released and the hospital stakeholders and equipment planners select vendors. After selection, they refine the scope based on their needs and these vendors. Finally, scheduling and execution of the project are overseen by the project manager, who is often part of the hospital facilities. And that is just the construction process! This doesn’t include management and maintenance after construction.
Why implement BIM for operating room construction?
By implementing building information modeling hospitals can keep all involved parties on the same page during O.R. construction projects. These projects can then benefit from maintaining a clear oversight of increasing complexities while maintaining flexibility. Using such a model also ensures that all requirements for the project are considered and coordinated during the conception phase.
1st Dimension: Digital drawing board
This is the concept and planning phase of the project. At this time, the team gathers information from the customer about what kind of O.R. should be constructed. For example, will it be a hybrid O.R. with special room size requirements? What kind of technology, equipment, door systems, monitors, etc. will be needed?
2nd Dimension: Creation of 2D plans
At this stage, O.R. floor plans and wall elevations are drawn up. Each wall is rendered in accurate detail to show the integration of monitors, medical equipment and other installations in 2D.
3rd Dimension: Creation of 3D visualizations
A 3D model of the 2D plan is created to visualize the space. A consistent, model-oriented approach in this phase eliminates manual changes to individual model-derived drawings. Since the medical equipment that was selected in the first dimension is not yet finalized, it’s very important here to perform collision checks to verify that pieces of medical equipment within the O.R. will not interfere with each other.
4th Dimension: Time management
This dimension is all about process optimization and transparency. At this phase, all interdependent construction processes are coordinated in a schedule. As a result, any potential conflicts or additions can be detected and remedied early in the construction process. This also allows project partners to plan their construction timelines.
5th Dimension: Cost management
This dimension focuses on cost transparency and allows builders to estimate their costs before or during the process. It is also used to facilitate taxation and logistics. If changes occur in planning, for example, wall surfaces change from metal to glass, these associated costs can be shown.
6th Dimension: Environment and sustainability
At this stage, the model is considered “as build” and is used to ascertain information about environmental impact and efficiency.
7th Dimension: Life Cycle Management
This final dimension establishes the through life operation of the operating room project and is enriched with management instructions and supplier information. This could include, for example, service and maintenance planning, which allows the customer to plan these future activities well in advance.
The BIM Value Chain for Operating Room Projects
With building information modeling healthcare providers can create a whole value chain before, during and after O.R. construction. Since all stakeholders work from the same set of data, everyone can add their input to make sure that all requirements are considered and coordinated. There is less coordination on site which results in more rapid construction progress. Effective implementation can even translate to shorter downtimes and more efficient maintenance after the project is completed.