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20 May 2021
Shalini John

Managing Workflow for High-rise BIM Projects

It can be chaotic. Scores of people on site, endless meetings, a steady stream of RFIs and submittals being created, materials being loaded and unloaded – managing a building construction project can be an overwhelming flurry of activity. We haven’t even talked about the communication and documentation involved. Add a high-rise building to the mix, and you have yourself a real head-scratcher, especially if it is a mixed-use building. The arrival of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology and architectural BIM modelling has been nothing short of a godsend for the construction industry. Using BIM virtual construction processes has helped streamline the workflow for high-rise building construction so that all the concerned stakeholders see greater efficiency.

How does that happen?

High-rise buildings that accommodate a combination of hotels, residences, offices, retail spaces, swimming pools, etc. within the structure are known as mixed-use buildings. As they serve different functions, it is vital that they are constructed efficiently.

By using BIM technology, it becomes easier to monitor high-rise building construction and understand its health and safety implications. Involving all stakeholders in the BIM process makes it easier to generate multiple accurate design options, offering a realistic view of a project’s feasibility.

In addition, BIM technology helps make faster calculations, such as testing steel or concrete frames, estimating costs and schedules and making feasibility studies.

How does BIM help manage the workflow?
  • In a 3D BIM workflow, the building’s model and data are stored in a database, which is managed automatically, along with the sheet sets of the final drawings.
  • Changes to the 3D BIM model are dynamically updated to all generated drawing views.
  • Modified drawing views pass through a detailed review to ensure accuracy and integrity.
  • 3D models are used worldwide, facilitating workflow across nations.
  • BIM facilitates a smooth movement from concept to detailed design.
  • It automates the management of project documentation.
  • Building model and metadata are stored in a database managed automatically.
  • Changes are updated dynamically to all generated drawing views.

High-rise building design can be complex and involves a considerable amount of detailing. Both residential and commercial high-rises have a few common features and some that are distinct. First, what’s common?

Both involve tedious tasks that BIM services can help with, such as:

  • Quantity take-off
  • Visualisation
  • Scheduling
  • Updating models accurately
  • Cost estimation
  • Facility management
  • Tracking, linking and changing elements
  • Linking design documents to the 3D geometry used by project teams
Now, what’s different?
Residential High-rises (apartments, duplexes, etc.)
  • Architectural BIM modelling will be more in detail while MEP will be less complex.
  • Architects can develop detailed 3D models considering overall aesthetics, utilities and space planning.
  • A conceptual model can show design options for presentation and construction.
  • Then, MEP BIM modelling is completed, followed by clash detection and MEP coordination.
  • Interferences and design flaws are identified and resolved before construction.
  • Collaborative meetings with all stakeholders take place on the same model simultaneously.
  • BIM 360 enables updates of the model at the same time from multiple locations.
  • Facility management, energy analysis and scan to BIM modelling can be completed efficiently using BIM technology, so that maintenance is well organised with comprehensive building data.
  • Components, equipment and fixtures are tagged and can be ordered quickly using manufacturer information in a database.
Commercial High-rises (hotels, offices, retail spaces, health and leisure centres)
  • Have complex architectural, structural and MEP elements
  • Offices and hotels in high-rises require flawless, accurate MEP and architectural systems, making BIM modelling mandatory.
  • Using MEP BIM coordination, clash detection, Revit family creation and other BIM services becomes more important in commercial buildings.
  • Using BIM adds value to the construction process and reduces overall construction costs and time.
  • Virtual construction modelling helps move seamlessly from the design stage to the construction phase for commercial high-rises.

Collaborative features can be used by contractors to generate detailed MEP shop drawings, clash reports, costing, etc., which will help in accuracy during installation. A variety of BIM monitoring tools, workflow and reporting tools are available for high-rise buildings.

Advantages of BIM for High-rises
  • Developers selling buildings will find higher returns if they can prove building quality in a BIM model.
  • Ensuring a higher standard of building quality
  • Improved planning reduces the risks of building disasters
  • Integrating design drawings with 3D models
  • Reducing project costs
  • Ensuring greater accuracy and quick turnarounds
  • Validating design to minimise errors and interferences between disciplines
  • Execution and constructing faster

Furthermore, Autodesk’s BIM 360, a construction management software, has a number of features that make it easier to manage project workflow, enhance communication and save time, such as:

  • Generating meeting minutes
  • Item-based submittal workflow
  • RFI creation on mobiles
  • RFI permission updates
  • Custom RFI numbering
  • RFI creation on Android
  • Mobile submittal accessibility
  • Edit closed RFIs
  • Contractual date tracking for submittals
  • Modify RFI pushpins

Of these features, the item-based submittal workflow is useful in key areas. Typically, submittals follow a meandering path for review and approval. Hiccups can slow the process at any point on the path. To clear up these potential obstacles to a smooth workflow, BIM 360 offers certain benefits, namely:

  • Items can progress without a Package – Stakeholders and due dates are assigned to the item, and on each approval, the item can be distributed with a click.
  • Enhanced status visibility on web and mobile – More status details and where it falls in the workflow can be viewed on the top of the submittal item on the web and IOS.
  • Improved meeting minutes features – Meeting organisers can attach documents, drawings and models to a meeting record or item. Markups and RFIs can be created. When meeting minutes are sent to PDF, attached documents will be hyperlinked, easing access for referenced information.
  • Advanced text editing helps meeting organisers highlight and organise key data.
  • Automated updates of construction drawings – Changes made to BIM models are reflected across plans, sections, elevations, etc. automatically. Modified sheets are highlighted for manual review as well.
  • Minimising human error – Integrated BIM workflows result in a reduced need for all drawings to be checked during each change in one drawing, helping stakeholders manage design decisions.

The sheer variety of features available as part of BIM services can be extremely beneficial for the construction of high-rise buildings. Partnering with the right residential BIM services or BIM retail design services experts can be a challenge, as there are several options to choose from. However, reliable BIM consulting services partners can be sourced offshore for high-quality architectural BIM modelling and other BIM virtual construction services.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing BIM consulting services and architectural BIM modelling services for design and build firms, general contractors and design consultants. Our range of services for building design firms across the world include BIM retail design, residential BIM services and other BIM virtual construction services. We create these models, drawings and renderings by using Revit, AutoCAD, ArchiCAD and BIM Collaborate Pro for cloud collaboration.