Compared to older drafting methods, FitzGerald’s utilization of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology represents three significant opportunities for building owners and developers throughout building design, construction, and operation.
During the design process, architects and designers are able to provide astoundingly realistic visualizations of the building being designed. Once construction begins, BIM allows increasingly fluid coordination between trades that yields fewer surprises in the field. And once constructed, the BIM model can transition into a rich database of building information with copious benefits in the ongoing operation of the building.
In an environment where time is money and cost is critical, any opportunity for a building owner to make decisions earlier in the process promises dividends at project completion. In the case of buildings and interior build-outs modeled with BIM, FitzGerald can accurately portray any number of views of a developer’s building. From early volume massing studies to materially-accurate, photo-realistic rendered interior views, the BIM model allows a developer to see how decisions affect the outcome—experiencing it more tangibly than trying to interpret flat, two-dimensional CAD drawings. FitzGerald can model how a building interacts with its environment, analyzing how light will enter the building throughout the year, or how the building might look from different vantage points in the neighborhood—a critical component in a healthy community approval process.
Once construction begins, FitzGerald and its engineers working in BIM can make quick work of subcontractor’s shop drawings as fewer steps are required to analyze and approve their work. In the case of The Madison at Racine, general contractor Power Construction adds models of subcontractors’ mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems to FitzGerald’s BIM model to quickly determine—even in the field—whether any issues exist. Faced with a limited ceiling cavity in a residential high-rise, engineers and subcontractors are able to work out with great precision the layout of systems before even setting foot on the site—resolving all conflicts before any materials were ordered, and completely avoiding any surprise change orders from the field. Systems Manufacturers can benefit from well-defined BIM models as well—some vendors, like those that create and often pre-assemble HVAC ductwork, can translate the team’s BIM models directly into their fabrication software, further reducing waste and production time.
Once the building is turned over to the ownership, FitzGerald’s BIM model can remain a data-rich resource for management, repair, and maintenance. New software is continuously emerging that integrates BIM models into applications that perform tasks from monitoring utility performance to keeping record of light bulb replacement and system maintenance schedules. With the sophistication of tablet computers and a bit of imagination, it’s conceivable that a building engineer could use a mobile device displaying the BIM model as augmented reality to “x-ray” a wall or floor to determine its construction before beginning any repair or renovation.
FitzGerald maintains a significant investment in the skilled staff, the software, and the hardware required to develop the highest-end BIM product available. Through commissions large and small, wildly complex and traditional, FitzGerald has refined its processes to offer its clients the highest quality model with fewer errors, fewer surprises in the field, reduced change orders, less waste, tighter schedules, and lower cost.