More Design for Your Dollar

The time has now come where the pretty pictures translate into tangible benefits to our clients. “The biggest benefit from Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology is that it allows us to do investigation faster – to provide design options quickly and more thoroughly,” explains David Semproch, architect. “Design is about continuously searching for the best answer from many possible solutions. Building Information Modeling allows us to harvest a lot more information sooner, providing key details that influence other design decisions.”

“We can see details now during design which were only visible in the field before,” continues David. “And the best part is how easy it is to share potential solutions with our clients.” BIM technologies marry building systems allowing previously separate design elements like floor plans, building elevations, piping layouts, and HVAC systems to come together before they reach the field. The objects placed are “smart,” that is they have actual properties attached to them – a door has length, width and depth as well as the ability to open and close. “Before BIM, clients had to understand the cryptic language of process diagrams and building drawings,” explains David. “Now we can show them – often on their own computers – models of their facilities with options that are easy to understand.”

Bentley Systems is the leading developer of architectural and engineering design software including MicroStation, the program SSOE uses for BIM. “We asked David to be a presenter at our 2006 U.S. Users Conference because we knew he would help others make even better use of our programs,” notes Jim Barr, Director of Product Management for Bentley Systems. Two thousand people attended the week-long event. “SSOE and David were an obvious choice for our Best Practices Presentation. David is on two of our by-invitation-only Users Councils and we his value input.”

Just how much of an effect can SSOE’s expertise in BIM have on your project? Taking structural steel as an illustrating point, let’s find out. With steel prices soaring it is imperative to provide adequate load capacity without over-engineering the structure. BIM technology quickly illustrates the possibilities of numerous design options, tracks steel weight to the 100th of a pound, ensures all systems work together without conflicts and completes structural system estimating take-offs, which were once two-day projects, in as little as a half hour. 3D designs are shared with steel fabricating facilities through compatible file formats. Fabricators no longer have to enter design requirements from drawings; they simply add connecting and erection details then later return the files to ensure the best as-built drawings possible are delivered to you. The savings in time combined with the efficiencies of far-reaching design options equal priceless value. BIM is an important design tool SSOE is wielding to ensure superior service for you while providing for our firm’s growth and writing our future.