BIM for site preparation and coordinating underground utilities
Most project teams rely on building information modeling (BIM) to assist in planning, designing, and troubleshooting a project’s above-ground systems. But for the University of North Carolina Hospital’s (UNCH) Hillsborough Campus project, Skanska (Parsippany, N.J.) focused the technology underground, where it was used to provide rock evaluation for site preparation and coordinating underground utilities.
This four-phase, $156 million project on a greenfield site includes a three-story MOB, 14,000-square-foot central energy plant, and a 241,574-square-foot patient tower and treatment building.
To establish the existing below-ground conditions, the project team worked with a site surveyor on the building footprint and the location of the underground utilities, and hired a boring contractor to perform exploratory drilling in the proposed path of the water and sanitary piping, storm utility, gas lines, and duct banks. The data was added to the CAD drawings to show the team the rock elevations, and then was used to develop a 3-D model.
Findings showed that some of the original proposed routes for utilities would clash with rock. “We were 30 to 40 feet below grade with trench rock, which was very expensive [to excavate],” says Al Painter, project executive at Skanska. “So we talked to the owner and the design team about relocating the lines from the rear of the project to the front of the building to incur less rock.”
The team also used the BIM model to determine that raising the basement layer on the buildings up from 20 feet to 18 feet in floor-to-floor height would bring even further savings.
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