How to Create Building Information Models that Last

Thomas Simmons Construction, Design

Building Information Model from Hensel Phelps Construction Company

Building Information Model from Hensel Phelps Construction Company

Before beginning to design a Building Information Model understanding what the model is going to be used for is imperative to deciding how it should be built and how much detail to include. If you simply want to show what the end design will look like, then you may not need as much detail. However, if you would like to create a BIM that can be used by the contractor or even the facilities manager, then you will want to include more specifics.

I recently had the opportunity to hear Thai Nguyen, Corporate BIM Manager, with Hensel Phelps Construction Co. talk on this topic. He had some great ideas to share.

“When creating a Building Information Model that can be used by a contractor for estimating as well as construction planning, how the model is built from the beginning is important,” says Thai Nguyen. “That’s why we’ve created some guidelines that designers can use to make a model that will have lasting value.”

Hensel Phelps Guide to Good Building Models:

  1. Provide Consistency in Names & Parameters – use detailed descriptions, standardized names and families; make sure that parameters are set up and maintained properly. For example, a family is often utilized without updating associated parameters from the last or initial project, which can be confusing.
  2. Maintain a “Clean Model” – make sure there are no floating objects that aren’t attached to anything or relevant to the design; avoid duplication such as one wall on top of the other.
  3. Divide Objects According to the Construction Sequence – at a minimum break them at the floor level. For example, don’t build a wall that goes nine stories all in one piece; break it down into stories. You’ll reap innumerable benefits from taking the time to do this.
  4. Add Parameters to Segregate Quantities – make sure to define levels, elevations, and zones.
  5. Avoid Generic Models with No “Data” – big blocks of information are really not that helpful.

As proponents of BIM, Hensel Phelps Construction Co. continually finds new ways to take BIM to the next level.  Hensel Phelps Construction Co. is one of the largest general contractors and construction managers of new and renovated projects nationwide, with a diverse range of project types.