BIM in Healthcare
As healthcare projects grow in size and complexity, Building Information Modelling (BIM) offers significant benefits. It increases design and construction efficiency, allows real-time visualisation for all stakeholders, reduces costs and program schedules, and improves project quality.
In designing facilities for healthcare, we have developed and refined our use of BIM technology for the collaborative design of buildings and infrastructure elements. For each project we enter all user and technical requirement specifications into a database connected to the various CAD tools for design, clash detection and quality control. These are combined into a single 3D computer model and shared among stakeholders, including architects and engineering design team, building contractors, the healthcare provider, and medical staff.
As design and construction plans progress, BIM enables clashes to be detected and fixed before they become problems on the construction site, allowing the team to analyse alternatives, identify issues and solve problems before they occur in real life. This minimizes construction re-work, greatly reducing risk and saving time and money.
During construction BIM allows the contractor to fine-tune construction scheduling, generate material lists and quantities, to establish material delivery schedules and logistics, and to respond more quickly to design changes or site problems.
Managing the complexities of healthcare design
Healthcare projects are characterised by their complexity, and at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow we used the full potential of BIM to deal with the many different aspects of the project, communicating design intent, detecting problems and analysing the future flexibility of the buildings. Our technical teams created a rich data model of the development to visualise designs, manage change, quantify and procure materials, and produce project time lines.
Extensive use of BIM has been essential at Queen Silvia’s Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg, which has 1,300 rooms, of which only 200 are standard, enabling us to keep track of 450 different systems including lighting, x-ray equipment, electricity and ventilation, and of the complex logistics of the project.
BIM is also greatly beneficial in the design of challenging spaces such as operating theatres with their many technical appliances and demanding performance requirements. For example, one operating theatre may have as many as 150 power outlets, as well as special air-filtering systems and rapid space heating/cooling requirements.
Benefits of visualisation
We work closely with health authorities and medical staff, helping them to visualise the designs with 3D walkthroughs to demonstrate how the architectural features, materials and layouts will be realised. As an example, these can enable nurses to picture the sight-lines in the wards, or allow medical technicians to assess the impact of positioning equipment such as MRI scanners on the overall design and functionality of the room. We can also run scenarios, such as the function of an emergency ventilation system, or model the movement of the sun to assist in conducting daylighting studies.
Pioneering BIM for the operational stage
BIM is now being developed for use post-construction throughout a facility’s life-cycle. Queen Silvia’s Children’s hospital will be one of the first projects where healthcare providers will be able to manage, plan and track ongoing maintenance of their facility using BIM, and we are working with the hospital administrators to extend the project information into the operational phase.