The Mutually Beneficial Outcomes of Implementing BIM at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center

This blog is part five in a series that discusses the challenges and process involved in implementing BIM at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a project which saw the team win the 2011 [acronym] Magazine Public Sector CAD Award.

As our BIM Implementation Project progressed both Joe and I found this process to be mutually beneficial in many different ways. While there were both extremely positive and some unexpected outcomes, this effort allowed us to capture knowledge and insight that we weren’t initially expecting. In addition, we’ve both been excited to see the industry’s response to the project.

DesignGroup Benefits – New Perspectives and “On-the-Ground” Insights (Brian Skripac, Director of BIM, DesignGroup)

From a technology perspective, working with Joe on this project allowed me to share the more than six years of experience I’ve had with the Revit Architecture and BIM related processes in general. Sharing these experiences did not always match up with the way the Medical Center needed to work which provided a challenge in taking these past experiences and defining the best practices that would most benefit this project and the desired outcomes. Being able to take a step back from how you work and accomplish daily tasks proved to be a unique opportunity for me to think critically and strategically about how to optimize new design and documentation processes. While this effort was focused on the needs of Joe and his team it has enabled me to take those new perspectives and effectively apply them to unique challenges that come up regularly on projects.

Another extremely beneficial outcome of this project was being able to gain a unique insight to how our clients are actually using the design documentation that we as architects provide the building owner, once construction is complete. The ability to see what information is most critical for their daily activities and how they apply those items during the operations and maintenance, and lifecycle planning of their facilities proved to be extremely informative. This not only enabled us to think about how we can expand the usefulness of our project deliverables to a long standing client like The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, but how we can work to educate all of our clients on the opportunities they have to leverage these building information models to their advantage.

Medical Center Benefits – BIM-Powered Decision Making (Joe Porostosky, Senior Manager of Facilities Information and Technology Services at The Ohio State University)

As discussed in the previous posts, the Medical Center found great value in partnering with DesignGroup for this transition to BIM.  The expertise they brought to the team would not have been able to be gained easily in any other way.  Beyond that, the Medical Center has found a number of beneficial outcomes from our transition to BIM, which all revolve around the idea of helping our staff, and faculty, and to a lesser extent, patients and visitors, make better decisions faster.  We call it BIM-Powered Decision Making.

Renovation Decision Making

One of the first benefits we’ve seen is the ability to visualize several different renovation options for a given space.  Previous to BIM, customers would be provided several 2-D floor plans of a space and asked to decide which one they liked best.  While those of us who work in this industry every day might be able to visualize a space from a 2-D floor plan (Image 1), most of our customers cannot.  They would make their best guess, but would frequently not be completely satisfied once they saw the completed space.  During our BIM Implementation, in the summer of 2011, we had a new senior leader join the Medical Center.  Before arriving, she was sent several 3-D renderings of potential office layouts.  With these images available she was able to easily understand the space and formulate a decision on which option best met her needs (Image 2).

Image 1: 2-D Floor Plan

Image 2: 3-D rendering of potential office layouts

Funding Decision Making

Closely related to the above example, BIM is allowing the Medical Center to mock up spaces in great detail to inform the decision making process for future project funding.  Recently, the Medical Center was working to determine if we should invest in renovating the Emergency Department with all new finishes.  Since we already had a model of this building, we were able to quickly add the actual finishes to the space producing a visualization that was as close to accurate as possible.  Instead of using a traditional finish board and asking the decision makers to interpret what the space might look like, they were able to see renderings and a video walkthrough of how the space will appear, complete with accurate finishes and furniture (Image 3).

Image 3: Rendering and video walkthrough of Emergency Department

Donor Recognition Decisions

Visualizations of space is providing the ability to enhance our development process by providing prospective donors the ability to see how a space might look and how they will be recognized for their contribution.  During the summer, the Medical Center wanted to improve the exterior recognition for a major donor.  Utilizing our new developed models, it took little time to develop several signage options that the University Architect and the Department of Development could consider.  This allowed them to quickly make a decision about which signage looked best and provided the best visibility to visitors.  The installed product matches almost identically to the rendering, further reinforcing the value of BIM in decision making (Image 4).

Image 4: 3-D rendering allows for review of various signage options for building exterior.

Customer Decisions

While Columbus has a number of high quality health systems that compete with one another, our ability to develop renderings of renovation, new buildings, or new spaces is aiding our marketing efforts to the community as yet another way to advertise our services and differentiate our care.

Improved Accuracy

The effort to develop models for Medical Center buildings has also improved the accuracy of our building floor plans which was due to research into the original building documentation and field verifications.  In addition, our building models include data that our traditional 2-D AutoCAD plans do not, such as exteriors, roofs, window placement, ceilings, and heights contributing to the improved the accuracy and value of the models.

Extending the Educational Mission

As an academic medical center, education is one of our three primary pillars for existing.  The ability to hire a group of students and to partner with their education was a benefit to the Medical Center and to the students.  They received real world experience that their formal education cannot provide.  In addition, the skills and contacts they have received working on this project will differentiate them from others once they graduate from Ohio State.

In the next post, Joe will discuss the future expected benefits of the Building Information Models and how the project will be expanded going forward.

By Brian Skripac and Joe Porostosky

About Joe Porostosky

Joe Porostosky is the Senior Manager of Facilities Information and Technology Services at The Ohio State University.  His background in technology management has provided a foundation for utilizing BIM to improve the speed and quality of decision making at OSU. Joe and the team at OSUMC were awarded first prize in the [acronym] Magazine Public Sector CAD Awards in 2011.

About Brian Skripac

Brian Skripac, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is the Director of Building Information Modeling (BIM) at DesignGroup in Columbus, Ohio. A recognized industry leader, he focuses on the integration of digital design technologies into all of the design processes, including sustainability and building lifecycle management. He is frequently solicited by institutions, as well as professional organizations to present his expertise on the value BIM brings to industry.'
Caron Beesley