Renovations at the Landscape Building located at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) are underway. The plan is to incorporate some of the most extensive high volume, electron microscope imaging capabilities in the country into the building. The staff at HHMI opted to use this opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to cutting-edge science by requiring the design team use Open BIM standards to facilitate the model development from design through construction to handover as an initial project to test the concept building-wide.

The project team was able to pull all architectural, structural and MEP models into a single editable model for review and clash detection with visual tool tips. Image courtesy of HDR

In keeping with that mandate, HDR architects and engineers built detailed models of the existing laboratory space with ArchiCAD from Graphisoft and Autodesk’s AutoCAD MEP after being supplied data from the HHMI scientists and facilities management. The calculations from team were precise and detailed; considered an AIA Level of Detail between 400 and 500. Even the process-piping and electrical conduit was modeled down to one-half inch diameter. Once this data-rich model was in place, the HDR team applied an ArchiCAD Connection plug-in for AutoCAD MEP to transfer the MEP geometry in the form of intelligent IFC models.  This then made the model ready for real-time design coordination. It was later expanded to facilitate construction documents and record drawings.

Ransom Ratcliff, LEED AP BD+C, BIM Manager at HDR Architecture, says, “The multi-core efficiency of the ArchiCAD engine allowed us to model fine details with the nimbleness to combine the engineering models.  We were able to edit the entire model in the context of everything else, while providing the quality of graphics required in the construction drawings. The coordinated model saved us the time of clash detection in a non-editing tool. It also streamlined construction document workflow by using native content in our drawings and backgrounds, even when it was authored in different tools.”

The project is in commissioning now and the scientists should be able to move in within a month.


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