Written By: Travis Justice/MCL Construction
First of all, let me say that MCL Construction's investment into BIM and other technologies is the key to the firm's continued growth and success. I know this because of the information gathered at the most recent BIM Forum in Atlanta, Georgia, in late October.
Can you build without BIM? You bet. Older methods of construction, coordination, and collaboration still work and may be the right fit for a lot of smaller projects. However, after listening to presentation after presentation for two straight days, and seeing it firsthand on our own projects, I have concluded that the only way to build bigger, better, and give the quality and value our clients demand and deserve is with technology and innovation. BIM is no longer a buzzword; it is the standard for which all substantial sized projects will be designed, constructed, and turned over to the owner. Eventually, smaller projects are going to be managed the same way.
Everybody says they can "do" BIM, but buyer beware! There is a fine line between what a lot of our competitors say they can do compared to what they can deliver. I'm always looking for feedback from our building partners, finding out what we do well, what we can improve on, and find better ways to collaborate. I was pleased, but also a little surprised when I asked a local architect about our BIM team and services. He said MCL Construction is doing things with BIM and coordination that no other company in Omaha is doing. Could this architect be telling me this because we were having a good steak for dinner? Yes, but I didn't get that feeling. Why? The proof was in the finished product, over 100,000 total square feet completed two weeks ahead of schedule.
Collaboration is the key to success on a BIM project. The earlier the owner, architect, general contractor, and trade partners are engaged, the more successful a project becomes. The BIM Forum presentations in Atlanta talked about the value of forming the "team" first, then start the design, preconstruction, and finally, construction where every phase is seamless to the next. You will get no argument from us. The examples they gave were from two full-service firms that have architecture and construction under one roof, and the other was from a team that has been working together for over 15 years. It's easy to tell a good story when you are set up for success in advance.
However, what the BIM Forum failed to talk about was how to get everyone on the same page if you aren't a one-stop shop or you don’t have a long-term relationship. More times than not, this is how the process takes place: the owner wants to build a new project; owner hires the architect; architect starts to design and uses historical data to set the project budget and continues to create. By this time in the project, the BIM process is inefficient, and its value lessened.
Our goal is to provide the owner and our building partners with the maximum amount of data and information that leads to increased efficiencies in the design and construction process that, in the end, provides cost savings, value, and quality. The way we do this is to change the process slightly, and it would look like this: owner wants to build a new project; owner hires architect and construction manager (preferably MCL Construction) at the same time; Design Assist and construction coordination start with trade partners; the project gets built.
In the old Design-Bid-Build delivery method, there could be a combative relationship between the architect and the builder. That delivery method is archaic and leads to delays, significant change orders, and trust issues.
Collaboration with BIM leads to Integrated Project Delivery or a Design Assist process that is holistic and efficient. For BIM to work to its fullest capacity, the project team must be engaged before design starts. Will this change in thinking happen over night? Probably not. However, MCL Construction is prepared for the future by building with the best tools and technology in the industry.
By: Nicole Schippel-MCL Construction Estimator
The middle of August 2016 found four MCL team members in sunny San Diego, California. Although the weather was perfect, our MCL team was not there to take in the sun. They were sent to attend the annual Bluebeam eXtreme Conference.
For those unfamiliar with this product, Bluebeam is a PDF review and editing software that includes an intuitive toolbar layout that lends ease to marking up documents, combining and/or rearranging documents, printing pdfs, and sharing documents among as many users as one wishes through its Bluebeam Studio application.
While many of Bluebeam’s PDF document editing capabilities have become general knowledge for those who have replaced Adobe Reader with this arguably superior product, attending the Bluebeam eXtreme Conference unlocked doors to a plethora of other capacities that MCL staff might use Bluebeam to find efficiencies and/or better analyze and share information.
How does Bluebeam Studio work?
A user first creates what is referred to as a “session” in Bluebeam Studio – naming this session based upon the project, etc. at hand. From there, the administrator sets up a hierarchy of folders for uploading documents. For example, one might create a folder for each set of drawings that are to be published during the design phase (e.g. schematic design, design development, construction documents, etc.). Once created, the administrator can upload PDFs to that folder that will be shared across all users invited to the session.
How does one become a user?
Each session comes with an identification number that can be distributed to as many team members as needed so that they may join the session and - based upon the permissions granted by the administrator – view, markup, and/or add documents to the session.
What if a team member doesn’t have Bluebeam Revu?
The great news is a stakeholder does not need to have a paid subscription to Bluebeam to participate. A free version of Bluebeam (Bluebeam Vu) can be downloaded by anyone that provides the capability to review and mark up documents in the session.
What makes Bluebeam Studio so powerful?
The short answer is that information can be shared in real time. Studio combines the role of a file share/transfer program (e.g. Newforma) and file storage program (e.g. Dropbox) with a PDF editing software, giving team members the ability to visit one location to view the most up-to-date documents for a project and add their comments in one place. If you have ever been the recipient on an email chain of design comments by a stakeholder group, imagine if everyone had the ability to add their comments on the same, latest version of a document at the same time. With Studio that can be a reality!
Why is this important?
When MCL invests in the continuing education of their employees and stays up to date on software used by the architecture/engineering/construction industry, it helps us do our jobs not only more efficiently, but effectively – which always, ultimately benefits our customers.
By: Timothy Tiensvold-MCL Construction BIM Operations Manager
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is evolving at a breakneck pace. BIM procedure and processes are being further defined, the quality and quantity of information being gathered is growing exponentially and the speed with which we collect and disseminate this information is ever increasing. MCL’s commitment to the utilization of BIM requires a continued dedication to evolving as BIM is further defined within the AEC industries. BIMForum is, as its name applies, the place where BIM industry leaders gather to present, discuss and observe trends in application of BIM. Tony Fucinaro and I attended the spring 2016 BIMForum in Minneapolis on April 19-21 in order to gain insight into emerging industry trends and share and compare our experiences with others utilizing BIM.
The focus of the spring 2016 BIMForum was BIM & the Built Environment. Much of the conference focused on Reality Capture (RC) and its integration into the BIM process. Presentations varied from the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle to quickly photograph a 200 acre site and thereby perform cut and fill calculations to the use of high definition scanning (HDS) in recording the yearly rate at which varying concrete runways types will settle and deform on reclaimed land designated as the future site of Mexico City’s international airport. As the Project Manager for EIA, MCL’s high definition scanning subsidiary, it was intriguing to observe the myriad of ways scan data can be applied across the construction industry. While HDS is nothing new to the industry its integration into the BIM process in the past was relatively difficult due to the sheer volume of data gathered. High definition scans can easily reach and exceed 1.5 to 5 Gigabytes and exporting that information once required excessive time for the processing and translation of the data into a format that could be utilized effectively by BIM software. Now with faster processors and the addition of “add-in” applications translating data from scan to modeled environment takes a matter of minutes rather than hours. Furthermore, the use of scan data often meant the need to convert the data to a 3D model, but with these advancements in HDS processing we are now capable of manipulating and utilizing point clouds in their raw form. A MEP systems model can be compared against the existing conditions of a building that has had numerous rework and additions over the decades. What once took two Engineers and a tape measure months to measure and record can now be captured in a matter of hours thanks to HDS.
BIMForum Minneapolis also focused on updates to the defined practices of BIM. Major updates include the amendment of Consensusdoc 301 – BIM Contract Addendum, AIA E202 – BIM Protocol & E203 – BIM & Digital Data, and the Level of Development (LOD) Specification. These documents are advancing independently yet synchronously with one another in an effort to create a unified formalized process. This gives BIM Managers such as myself a way to qualify what procedures are best practices and those that are trendy or a fad.
It’s an exciting time to be in field of Building Information Modeling and we at MCL have an opportunity to be a key member in contributing to its further adoption in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. MCL, in collaboration with EIA, is at the forefront of BIM integration and delivery when it comes to Reality Capture. We’re currently using HDS at the Lauritzen Outpatient Center, the St. Robert’s School Renovation, and the Capitol District Apartments projects. After attending the spring 2016 BIMForum I’m certain we’ll have more opportunity to add value to our future projects through the use of reality capture by utilizing it in BIM and the built environment.
MCL Construction uses many voices from within and outside the company to give informed advice, opinions, and techniques about construction methods, innovation, and technology.