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A model development: Al Mafraq Hospital

on Sep 7, 2012

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Elizabeth Peters, PE structural engineer at iTech, looks at how BIM is improving the project process at Abu Dhabi’s Al Mafraq Hospital

There is plenty of current focus on the technical aspects of BIM implementation on a project, and the obvious benefits project stakeholders can realise through its effective use. But what are the practical challenges and rewards of introducing a new technology to a project?

Through iTech’s work at the Al Mafraq Hospital project in Abu Dhabi, our company has learned firsthand how challenging, enlightening and rewarding it can be bringing BIM to life on a project that is under construction.

The brief and specification required a BIM to be developed by the contractor, through the construction phase, to hand over to the facilities manager, at the completion of the project.

The project’s contractor – the Habtoor Leighton Murray Roberts JV (HLMR) - contracted iTech to support it in the development of the project BIM through construction, assist in the adoption of this technology by the JV’s design and construction teams, and manage the process of integrating subcontractor BIM submissions into the master project BIM.

At Al Mafraq Hospital, iTech is specifically supporting HLMR to produce the project BIM from the 2D IFC drawings issued by the consultant, Burt Hill/Stantec. It is validating this data to make sure it is spatially constructible, and leading the effort to resolve all problems identified through the modelling process, directly with the consultant, before construction.

All plan shop drawings for major structural and architectural systems are extracted directly from this work. iTech is also responsible for developing a BIM management plan to ensure proper development of the project BIM.

Several aspects of the Mafraq Hospital project have presented challenges to the project team and the management of BIM development.

For one, it is a large project, with more than three million square feet and over 4,000 rooms in the main hospital building, and over 20 separate facilities throughout the hospital project campus.

It is slated to be an internationally recognised, state-of-the-art medical treatment facility, noted for its ambitious modern architectural design. It is also a complicated project. The construction industry in the Gulf only has a few examples of large-scale projects using BIM technology this extensively.

The large and complex nature of the project required iTech to develop a system to divide the project organisation into manageable, usable portions of information.

Currently, the project BIM is housed in over 100 models, and it is anticipated that the project BIM will expand to at least 500 separate models before construction is complete. The task of managing this information is large, and adherence to the specific organisational philosophy developed by iTech is vital to an efficient delivery overall.

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