Construction Management’s Building Information Modeling Lab Will Be Dedicated on Friday

Date: 10-11-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Willem Kymmell
Construction Management

The Department of Construction Management (CM) at California State University, Chico and Turner Construction Company’s Sacramento Regional Office announce the opening and dedication of the Turner Building Information Modeling (BIM) Laboratory in O’Connell 127A on the CSU, Chico campus at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 12.

The BIM lab is the result of a unique collaboration of CM and its students with the Turner Construction Company. “It is the first time we know of that a construction management program has worked at such a highly integrated level with a construction company using BIM technology on real building projects,” said Willem Kymmell, Department of Construction Management.

BIM, the development and use of computer software 3-dimensional (3D) models to simulate the construction and operation of a facility, is being applied to more and more projects. The resulting model, according to Kymmell, is a data-rich, object oriented, intelligent and parametric digital representation of the facility. Views and data appropriate to various users’ needs can be extracted and analyzed to generate information that can be used to make decisions to improve the process of designing, fabricating materials, construction, and using and operating the building.

“A common use of BIM 3D models,” said Kymmell “is to coordinate the location of mechanical piping to avoid hitting beams and other systems in buildings. A time-line and sequence of installation can be added to the components of a 3D model, creating a video simulation of the construction. That enables everyone involved to have a better understanding of the complication and timing of the installation of the buildings’ components.”

Turner began collaborating with the CSU, Chico construction management department in May 2006 as the students were creating a 3D model of CSU, Chico’s new Student Services Building for their class project. This is the same facility that Turner is now building on campus. Dave Monteith, Turner superintendent and CSU, Chico alumnus, began meeting with the students to view the model and share some of the real-world issues during its development.

Turner sent engineers and managers for initial training workshops, which allowed a team at the Sutter Davis Medical Office Building to use a 3D model for many purposes on the project. Additional collaboration continued to expand in late 2006 and early 2007, with a formal donation of equipment and coaching in exchange for student training and modeling services.

Jeff Williams, project executive for Turner Construction, organized the donation of computer lab equipment and software to help support the modeling needs of the construction of Sutter Medical Center’s $400 million campus expansion project in Sacramento.

CSU, Chico interns and students work on Turner’s projects and return to class with a better understanding of the building process. They are more valuable as interns and future employees, having had this BIM training. Turner also provides staff to speak to students about current projects they are modeling for real-world problem solving and an industry perspective.

“Right now, a group of three advanced students works day in and day out with Turner managers and construction engineers and their subcontractors creating and updating the models used to coordinate complex systems that often clash with each other,” said Kymmell.

“This is a win/win relationship. The collaboration improves students’ ability to read plans, work in teams, visualize and problem solve,” said Kymmell. “It is valuable to Turner as it increases the knowledge and skill sets of both graduating students in BIM and of professionals in the construction industry.”