AEC Excellence Awards 2018

Hurricane-proof planning

Image courtesy of Miller Electric Company

BIM tools were used for modeling, fabricating, and installing electrical assemblies

BIM keeps construction plans out of the eye of the storm

The Baptist Health MD Anderson Cancer Center in Jacksonville, Florida was a 600,000-square-foot project. During construction in 2017, Hurricane Irma approached. Miller Electric used precise BIM (Building Information Modeling) plans to quickly change the schedule and the project was completed on time.

Image courtesy of Miller Electric Company

BIM tools were used for modeling, fabricating, and installing electrical assemblies

Winning work and delivering excellence with BIM

Located near a highway, busy streets, and a river, the Baptist MD Anderson site had little room to store construction materials. Miller Electric won the job by showing they could install advanced medical equipment using BIM tools for modeling, fabricating, and installing electrical assemblies.

Image courtesy of Miller Electric Company

Miller Electric uses BIM for more than coordination and clash detection

“Many complex jobs require the use of BIM these days,” says Alan Creel, Vice President of Preconstruction Services for Miller Electric. He adds that people think “…BIM is mostly for coordination or clash detection.” However, they “…use a process that links models to fabrication and the schedule to build the project virtually before the first shovel ever hits the ground. We demonstrated how we could fabricate off-site and install on-site without requiring a storage area. Our approach was perfect, and we won the job.”

Planning takes a weather detour

As the project advanced, Miller Electric used Revit BIM software and a supplier’s Revit-based plug-in to create fabrication models from the design models. Due to a lack of material storage space on-site, the team relied on Autodesk Build for cloud-based coordination of delivery of materials to the site. A few miles away in the Miller Electric shop, the fabrication team built entire sections of electrical work and loaded it onto trucks for immediate installation. Then the weather forecast changed everything.

How Miller Electric used Autodesk software

Hurricane Irma, 2017’s second most powerful storm, formed in the Atlantic, and forecasters warned that it would impact northern Florida. The Miller Electric team used Navisworks and Autodesk Build planning tools to accelerate the fabrication, delivery, and installation of some materials. They installed key pieces prior to securing the construction site. And juggled the schedule to postpone delivery of other portions.

“We were able to adjust our schedule and all the many dependencies quickly,” Creel says. “ Collaborating in the cloud helped us communicate with the whole team. When Irma flooded much of downtown Jacksonville, we were ready to stop work and start again without missing a step.”

Off-site fabrication supports sustainability

Electrical conduit is more flexible than ductwork, plumbing, and other building systems. Because of this, electrical contractors traditionally install their work during later stages in the process. They have to physically work around coordination issues and potential conflicts. In such situations, conduit can take indirect routes around other items installed in walls and ceilings. This not only takes time, but requires extra conduit to go around obstacles. And the excess material cuts lead to landfill waste.

Shop-to-site control and confidence

To reduce waste and packaging, the team used Autodesk Build to coordinate and eliminate conflicts with contractors and other trades. Then, off-site, the team fabricated large assemblies of electrical work from models and installed them before the other trades.

Models guide installation, too. The team used models to determine installation points in Point Layout software. The firm exports this information into robotic survey instruments and uses lasers to mark exact locations for work. The traditional approach requires hours spent tape measuring which can result in occasional disagreements with other trades.

Using technology made the project a success

The Baptist MD Anderson project is an example of how Miller Electric used technology to avoid weather setbacks, save time, and support sustainability. The precision of the off-site fabrication resulted in 100% of the modules fitting as planned.

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