Building Information Modelling (BIM)
As one of the country’s first companies to adopt detailed building information modelling (BIM), Ehvert has become Canada’s leader in the field. Developed over many years, our unique skillset enables us to create virtual building models with a much higher level of detail than is typically used in the North American construction industry. Ehvert leverages these models to improve coordination between building trades, compress project schedules, accurately estimate project budgets, and reduce cost and schedule overruns.
3D BIM – Virtual Models
The most common type of BIM models are 3-dimensional and are used for basic levels of design development and visualization. While this is useful, the capabilities of BIM are far greater.
Ehvert has been designing and building data centres for many years. Because these facilities have a tremendous amount of infrastructure for power and cooling, coordinating pathways for power conduit, ducts, and piping can be challenging. We have leveraged BIM technology for many years to address these challenges.
Ehvert has developed processes to rapidly develop 3-dimensional models and perform clash detection to ensure that all building components can be constructed in accordance with the model, without any interference. This ensures that the drawings are accurate and eliminates guesswork for installers. By sharing these detailed virtual models with trade contractors, Ehvert improves the ability of individual trades to coordinate with others. Completing this work before construction begins reduces the number of costly change orders later in the project.
To verify that our models are aligned with as-built conditions, Ehvert uses 3D laser scanners to gather data about as-built conditions on the construction site. The data collected from these scanners can be imported to the virtual model. Using these data, the virtual model can be modified to confirm it is accurate within millimetres.
This process can also be used effectively to generate models of existing premises where none exists. This can be particularly useful as a first step of any retrofit project.
Construction sites often become congested with workers and building materials, reducing the efficiency of installers and causing delays. Ehvert uses its detailed building models, validated with 3D scanners, to solve this problem.
Ehvert exports fabrication drawings and files directly from the model which can be used in CNC machines for automated, off-site fabrication of building components. With detailed fabrication drawings, trade contractors no longer need staff onsite to measure and validate dimensions, nor do they need to maintain stocks of construction materials on the construction site. This process allows building components to arrive on site pre-fabricated and partially assembled – like LEGO® for buildings – which shortens the construction schedule as a result.
4D BIM – Advanced Scheduling
At Ehvert, we develop our BIM models beyond 3 dimensions by integrating the project schedule. This incorporates information on timing and progress to each building component – adding a 4th dimension. By doing this, we verify the accuracy and thoroughness of our project schedule. This process makes it apparent if any components have been missed from the schedule. This also reveals opportunities to remove slack from the schedule and to reduce the project duration.
After scheduling information is added to a virtual model, Ehvert’s professionals proceed to take 3D scans of the construction site throughout the project. This allows us to accurately monitor progress of each construction trade and confirm whether the project is on schedule.
When delays occur, we are able to use these detailed models to better predict the impact of these delays and to develop creative solutions to mitigate these impacts.
5D BIM – Accurate Cost Estimating & Control
The budget is often the most important but least detailed part of any construction project. In standard construction practices, estimating is left to individuals. Even the most experienced estimators make mistakes and these mistakes can result in huge cost overruns that ruin any business case for the project.
Ehvert recognizes the importance of having very accurate estimates and automates this process using advanced BIM processes. Ehvert’s detailed models can generate quantity take-offs of the materials and assemblies in the project which are then integrated with estimating software. This integration allows Ehvert to automatically generate and update the cost to supply and install each building component – adding a 5th dimension – cost – to the model.
This cost information adds a greater level of transparency in the project budget and facilitates rapid value engineering through the design and construction process. This level of detail also increases certainty in the budget and can greatly reduce the contingencies that are carried in traditional construction projects, resulting in a lower cost to owners.