What is the Future of BIM in Hospital Construction

Building a hospital or healthcare facility is a big and expensive undertaking. Constructing general hospital space in New York City can average $625 per square foot. With such a significant investment, anything you can do to cut time and expense – without sacrificing quality – is going to be a net positive.

That’s why so many hospitals are being built with Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM creates a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility that can be used reliably for decisions from conception to demolition.

What is BIM?

BIM is a creative vision working in concert with innovative technology solutions to enable the designer to optimize multiple aspects of a building prior to the start of construction. This not only makes the planning and design more reasonable but also helps meet green building standards at the beginning of the design.

The use of detailed 3D models is essential when considering the site of a new building in an existing urban environment - particularly when there is a significant underground infrastructure where deep excavations may be required. This process may also be reversed. For example, when extensive underground construction is needed such as a new rail extension, the use of 3D modeling would project the impact on the construction above ground based on the data below ground.

BIM allows for key benchmarks to be evaluated such as environmental influences, structural integrity based on meteorological impact, and the overall presentation of the structure.

As we try to pack more into our urban environments, BIM is quickly becoming an essential tool for future planning and development.

BIM Designs’ Hospital Experience

BIM Designs' engineers and designers are committed to completing every project faster, more cost-effectively, and with optimized project quality and constructability.  Here are four case studies that show how the process is working.

Case Study 1: Kaiser Downey

BIM Designs, Inc.'s first civil project at Kaiser Downey was a major success. Kaiser Permanente officially broke ground on their new Tower expansion on July 25, 2018, kicking off a project that adds more than 90 new beds and updated technology to the campus.

BIM Designs, Inc. provided LOD (Level of Detail) 400 plumbing modeling and subsequent layout drawings using AutoCAD Fabrication MEP to the client after coordination. Elements were modeled with approximate quantities, size, shape, location and orientation. As with all projects, the BDI team was available to the field foreman during installation to answer any and all questions.

Case Study 2: Tenant Improvement at Banner University Medical Center, Tucson

The medical tower replaces an aging portion of the existing hospital with a renovation of four large base levels of 100,000 square feet each and five floors of nursing units. The project not only must renovate pre-existing structures, but also connect to the surrounding buildings. BIM was utilized to accomplish this efficiently and without major construction disruption.

BIM Designs, Inc. was responsible for BIM detailing, coordinating, and prefabrication deliverables for the entire Mechanical Piping and Plumbing system for Tucson’s Banner University Medical Center project. Specifically:

  • Plumbing
  • Mechanical Piping (MP)
  • Medical Gas (MG)

Case Study 3: Banner Ocotillo Medical Center

The Banner Ocotillo Medical Center, situated on an 18-acre campus in Chandler, AZ, began construction in 2018.  The experts at BDI were asked to assist with the renovation, particularly for many of the patient rooms. Utilizing Revit 2018 to draw the project and Navis 2018 for coordination, BDI worked on the following systems:

  • Plumbing DWV
  • Storm drains
  • Domestic Hot Water (DHW) & Domestic Cold Water (DCW)
  • Medical Gases (MG)
  • Mechanical Duct
  • Dry-side Duct (HVAC)
  • Mechanical Piping (MP)

Case Study 4: HonorHealth Sonoran Health Center

On December 7, 2018, HonorHealth broke ground on its sixth hospital in north Phoenix. The three-story, 210,000 square-foot HonorHealth Sonoran Medical Center includes an inpatient hospital, ambulatory surgery center, and an outpatient center to meet the growing health and wellness needs of Phoenix-area residents.

BDI designers were responsible for the furnishing of CAD resources to facilitate 3D model population and spatial coordination of plumbing systems, including hangers, shop drawings, and equipment layout drawings.

This project utilized AutoCAD Fabrication MEP. BIM detailers were responsible for detailing and coordination of the mechanical room, as well as all the plumbing and HVAC systems including:

  • Storm Waste and Vent (SWV)
  • Domestic Hot Water (DOHC) & Domestic Cold Water (DOCW)
  • Medical Gas (MG)
  • Dry-side Duct (HVAC)
  • Mechanical Piping (MP)

How BIM Designs Can Help

With our previous experience working on multi-faceted projects, we are equipped to provide the BIM services to streamline the construction process, support contractors’ integration, and provide seamless coordination.

BIM Designs, Inc., is proud to serve our community and support those that are working tirelessly to save lives. By partnering with BIM Designs, Inc., our clients are receiving more than BIM services. They are partnering with an organization that will foster a partnership and provide white-glove service from beginning to end, BIM Designs will bring to completion a process that is more than a building: it is a lifeline.

Using BIM modeling, the experts of BDI are trained and skilled at tackling your Hospital's construction challenges.

A recent survey of architects, engineers, contractors, and construction managers demonstrated how effective BIM can be for construction.  Collaboration and pre-planning using BIM provide these benefits according to survey participants:

  • Reduce project error and data friction
  • Reduce the time required for communication, workflow, and decisions
  • Customer satisfaction with greater project visibility
  • High quality and constructible deliverables for fabrication
  • Reduce the need for co-location (and related costs)
  • A more collaborative project delivery model

BIM has 4 main components to ensure a project’s successful completion:


1. BIM Improves Productivity

With real-time collaboration, BIM creates a hub for information between contractors to find solutions via remote technology. This reduces downtime and the need to wait for another meeting or travel. Instead, BIM allows for quick access to what you need when you need it with everyone working off a single, reliable source.

This allows remote BIM prefabrication, for example.  Areas such as patient rooms or bathrooms might be built off-site saving time at the job site and take advantage of cost-effectively construction techniques.

2. BIM Enhances Scheduling Abilities

With any project, timelines can change due to many factors, such as delayed shipments or a reduced workforce. By using BIM, schedules can be constantly evaluated and adapted to ensure each benchmark is met. In construction, time is money. Keeping projects on time is crucial.

BIM brings together dispirited areas that affect scheduling, such as construction sequencing, material lead time, installation duration, and other project inter-dependencies.

3. BIM Reduces Change

While the construction industry expects change orders on projects, BIM helps to reduce the need for work to be redone. By using BIM, the project can be virtually preconstructed which allows for all contractors to create and implement plans that will produce a project with significantly less chance of multiple change orders.

Pre-construction visualization allows clients to experience what the space will look like.  Changes are made before construction begins rather than afterward.  Change orders are expensive when ordered mid-project.  Clash detection can avoid having to make adjustments on the fly, such as moving conduit because of beam placement.  Rework is reduced when everything is planned out ahead of time.

4. BIM: From Client to Community

When you employ BIM on a project, you are not just protecting an investment, you are protecting the many individuals that are relying on your building to serve their needs. As BIM is integrated into the medical field, the cost savings can be passed from the project to the community. Because you took the time to employ vital resources, the community will know that where they go for care truly has their best interest at heart.

Who Is BIM Designs, Inc. (BDI)?

BIM Designs Inc. is an agile BIM design, modeling, consulting, and coordination service provider for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) contractors and developers that require experienced journeymen detailers and engineers for Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection (MEPF) modeling and Virtual Design Construction (VDC) services.

To date, BDI has completed 75+ projects including YouTube’s new headquarters, the Google Caribbean Campus, the Texas Rangers Stadium, Nvidia's Voyager building, Microsoft's Bellevue Campus Expansion, the Banner Health Ocotillo Medical Center, and many more.

BDI operates domestically in 10 states and continues to grow its coverage map. The BIM market that they serve includes building preconstruction, HVAC, Plumbing, Process Piping, Electrical, Laser Scanning, and Building Maintenance Solutions. BDI’s core values focus on building and maintaining trusting relationships with customers with the ability to produce quality results.

If you need 3D BIM modeling, design, and MEP detailing services, we have the expert tradesmen at BIM Designs who know how to precisely design and model your systems. Contact us today for a FREE estimate or to discuss your project needs.

Steve Couch

About the Author

Steve Couch is the Head of Sales and Marketing for BIM Designs, Inc, and is based in Phoenix, AZ. He manages the marketing, sales, and estimating teams to drive revenue and expand client portfolios. An avid international traveler and award-winning public speaker, his experience in public relations, organizational leadership, project management, and communications make him a natural relationship builder, and enables him to build strong community and corporate partnerships.