the electrical conduits,
It is common for architects to take the lead in drawing up
the initial model, which others then work from, but that’s not
always the case.
“I have come across situations where the architect was
paid to do the plans and then the general [contractor] wanted
to model the rest, but sometimes the model is driven by the
owner and the general contractor,” said Dave Ayars, virtual
design and construction/building information modeling,
Morrow-Meadows Corp., City of Industry, Calif.
For example, on one renovation project, the general contractor used scanners and lasers to do its own model.
“The building had different ceiling heights and not much
space to locate all the equipment,” said Ryan A. Doyle, architect
and program coordinator at the NOW Institute, Culver City,
Calif. “So, they brought in their own team to build upon our
architectural model. They then worked with individual sub-
contractors to locate the mechanical, plumbing, fire protection
and electrical equipment for the building and the cellar.”
On that same project, BIM also was helpful in coordinating
with an entirely different entity: The Landmarks Preservation
Commission of New York City. At the time, Doyle was an asso-
ciate with COOKFOX Architects.
“We also needed to convince the board that the updated
design for the building fit the character of the neighborhood,”
he said. “The project involved replacing existing steel sash
frames with higher performance contemporary aluminum
windows. We were able to use BIM to model the new profiles,
which showed the community board how close the look is to
the original design.”
Opinions vary as to which models matter most.
“One of the most important things is the steel model,” Nieman said. “It’s really hard to coordinate a job until you have
an actual steel model of what is going to be built. Usually, the
steel model from the architect is not 100 percent accurate to
what’s being built, so it’s very important that the steel guys get
their model done first so that everyone can work around that,
“We were still required to BIM model the projects, so it was
an effort between us and the mechanical contractors to coor-