MMC Contractors

Executing collaborative project delivery with BIM


Aerial shot of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s new Arthur M. Blank Hospital under construction
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s new Arthur M. Blank Hospital under construction. Courtesy of MMC Contractors.

Cross-trade collaboration, digital project delivery, and prefabrication simplify a complex hospital design

Cross-trade collaboration was the key to success as two general contractors, multiple architecture firms, two mechanical contractors, two plumbing contractors, multiple sprinkler contractors, and various electrical contractors all worked together on a 2 million-square-foot hospital project.

Embracing collaborative delivery

MMC Contractors shares their experiences with BIM, prefabrication, and digital project delivery for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. (video: 3:37 min.)

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s (Children’s) new Arthur M. Blank Hospital is scheduled to open in fall of 2024. When complete, the 19-story hospital will have 446 beds, larger, private patient rooms with abundant natural light, and convenient amenities for families on each floor. Delivering the hospital project on time and on budget is vital for Georgia’s rapidly growing community.

A national mechanical contractor, MMC Contractors, used various Autodesk solutions and third-party integrations to boost collaborative project delivery and help make this hospital a reality.

“It has been top-down from the owner for us to use as much building information modeling (BIM) and prefabrication and modularization as we can," says Jason Steele, VDC manager, MMC Contractors.

Collaborating for success with virtual design & construction

Two workers viewing 3D model on tablet
Courtesy of MMC Contractors.

For large projects like Children’s new Arthur M. Blank Hospital, MMC Contractors takes a virtual design & construction (VDC) approach in line with the company’s Design Build philosophy. VDC supports collaboration across multiple trades to deliver projects efficiently, ahead of schedule, and under budget.

MMC Contractors specializes in large, complex healthcare projects and was keen to take on a project where it knew it could make a positive impact on the local community. Offering expertise in plumbing, HVAC, piping, sheet metal, and process piping, MMC Contractors also works across diverse markets, including energy, pharmaceutical, industrial, and commercial.

“Children’s envisioned a new campus,” says Tom Benassi, vice president, MMC Contractors. “We knew every dollar we saved could be used by the hospital to provide care to a patient.”

By being involved early in the process through its design-assist approach, MMC Contractors collaborated on the design with engineers to solve potential conflicts in advance. They avoided costly onsite rework by modeling and detailing the space for mechanical systems. This break with traditional workflows allowed for improved resource planning and a seamless transition to the eventual construction model.

Connecting workflows with a cloud-based BIM model

Man standing in front of large flat-screen monitor viewing BIM model
Courtesy of MMC Contractors.

MMC Contractors used BIM as the basis for digital project delivery — driving early design collaboration and model coordination across the trades from design to detailing, fabrication, installation, and handover back to the general contractor.

“We got involved with the designer of record, the general contractor, and other specialty trades very early,” Benassi says. “We all collaborated in the Autodesk Revit environment. We implemented STRATUS to help with fabrication planning as well as getting information from the field superintendents back to the fabrication shafts and from our BIM individuals to the fields. All the different trades were working together in the BIM environment, along with the designer, simultaneously.”

In the early stages of the hospital project, MMC Contractors eliminated siloed workstreams and tackled inefficiencies such as labor shortages by working in collaboration alongside other trade contractors through the use of Autodesk BIM Collaborate Pro. It united all the hospital’s stakeholders to work with the most up-to-date models for truly collaborative project delivery.

Realizing the benefits of digital project delivery

Man in construction vest and hard hat standing in front of large piping system
Courtesy of MMC Contractors.

Steele’s team ran multiple open sessions for all trade VDC and BIM managers, on-site project managers, and superintendents to identify issues, mitigate inefficiencies, and provide updates.

MMC Contractors realized the benefits of digital project delivery by unifying multiple tools. Leaning on a cloud-based BIM model as the single source of truth helped avoid unnecessary field RFIs and change requests by fixing the model quickly when a clash was detected.

By gaining insights and accuracy with BIM, it allowed MMC Contractors to prefabricate early to get ahead of the schedule, leading to a 40 percent reduction of on-site mechanical team manpower compared to similar sized projects. Instead, MMC Contractors focused its manpower to the shop and improved project quality and overall job safety.

MMC Contractors’ superintendent notes that this allocation of resources made the job significantly safer and saved MMC’s team time.

MMC Contractors used Autodesk Navisworks and Revit in the field to chart possible design outcomes and then applied STRATUS to gain a 3D view.

“We’re using fabrication parts in Revit with the GTP STRATUS plugin,” explains Steele. “Along with that, we are producing Navisworks models for our field team to review. There was less than 1 percent rework. That's a testament to how much more detail we're getting with these models. A model ends up being that single source of truth for everybody to refer to and to make sure that what's going to be installed in the field and what's going to be fabricated in our facility is accurate.”

Prefabrication saved time, enhanced quality, and improved safety on site

Due to the size and complexity of Children’s project, MMC Contractors used BIM models to provide a reliable platform for prefabrication.

On a typical project, Steele says that rework may be up to 10 percent, but due to the accuracy of the models through the Autodesk AEC Collection, BIM Collaborate Pro, and STRATUS the team was confident in hard cutting and fabricating 85 percent of the components in the shop. This led to less than 1 percent rework required on site.

MMC Contractors’ senior project manager, Steve Shahin, noted that among the advantages of prefabrication, being able to produce systems in a controlled environment enhanced both safety and quality.

Addressing skills shortage and streamlining workflow with prefabrication

Man working at large monitor in prefabrication facility
Courtesy of MMC Contractors.

With labor sources often stretched, Children’s project was an opportunity to efficiently use available teams and ensure quality in a safe environment. By diverting 7,700 man-hours of work from the job site to the fabrication shop, MMC Contractors was able to start work months in advance before the actual installation.

STRATUS played a key role in this by connecting Revit to the prefab shop, streamlining a workflow that was once a paper-heavy process with inevitable bottlenecks.

Digital project delivery allowed MMC Contractors to get a jump on the installation process. They prefabricated 724 racks with 195 days of straight deliveries, an approach that saved three-and-a-half months on a traditional stick-built installation schedule and beat the original delivery date for fluids by six weeks.

MMC Contractors' quick delivery made it possible for other trades to proceed ahead of schedule.

Leveraging a successful proof of concept

Benassi says the successful collaborative VDC approach with the help of multiple Autodesk AEC solutions is repeatable across markets and is an example of how getting the right tools to the right people is a game changer.

MMC Contractors is using Children’s hospital project as a proof of concept to help win more work and keep delivering positive results with VDC in the future.

“Since we took on the hospital project for Children’s, 80 percent of our awarded projects greater than $5 million and 100 percent of our projects greater than $20 million have utilized a VDC approach,” Benassi says.

“We can show our clients that early involvement improves schedules, constructability, and cost savings; reduces design changes; and provides overall smoother project delivery,” he continues. “Children’s has set a high bar for us on what we can do related to collaboration and working digitally in a team environment.”