Harnessing BIM for Facilities Management at Medical Research Institutions

Willi Mainor_bw

Will Mainor

by Will Mainor

Designing healthcare and medical research facilities is a laborious task, requiring engineers and designers to factor in numerous variables like lab requirements and equipment needs. As research changes, so too does the lab’s usages. In order to accommodate these shifts in need, these types of buildings, like the new Albert Sherman Center at University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School in Worcester, Mass., are more and more relying on Building Information Modeling (BIM) for design and long-term facilities management.

From its onset, a number of contractors and subcontractors made use of BIM technology when planning the nine-story, 512,000sf, state-of-the-art, LEED® Gold certified multi-use facility. With over 90 miles of ducts and pipes, the use of BIM played a critical role in efficiently managing data and effectively leveraging it for facilities management purposes.

Suffolk Construction and UMass partnered with Microdesk to catalogue all the various pieces of information from architectural and engineering models, including shop drawings and 3D models, as well as operations manuals and other documents, and integrated them into the system to correspond with their specific building components. Having a central repository for this information enables the facilities staff to acquaint themselves with the Albert Sherman Center before even opening its doors. Working with the staff, Microdesk held training sessions to enhance the user experience and ensure it was intuitively designed for day-to-day use.

BIM played a vital role in the project’s completion and will continue to do so moving forward. Currently, the BIM model offers insights into the day-to-day operations of the building such as locating key pieces of infrastructure that when repairs or maintenance is required, will reduce disturbances and allow for targeted troubleshooting. BIM also future proofs the Center, as it adapts to the ever-changing research and advances in technology. Using the model, the staff will be able to easily access all the information it needs for any future renovations.

For the Albert Sherman Center and other healthcare and research labs, BIM’s significance cannot be understated. From ongoing facilities management to future changes and expansions, the ability to access information and data from a single source plays an invaluable role in safeguarding a building’s daily operations as well as its longevity.

Will Mainor is an applications engineer at Microdesk.