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BIMForum Atlanta: Your Introduction to Evidence-based BIM

By Jeff Yoders on October 01, 2010

Evidence-based design is the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of best evidence from research and practice in making critical decisions, together with an informed client, about the design of each individual and unique building project. EBD has become popular in healthcare design and construction to improve patient and staff well-being, the patient healing process, and for stress reduction and safety for both staff and patients. An evidence-based designer, together with an informed client, makes decisions based on the best information available from research, from project evaluations, and from evidence gathered from the operations of the client. Critical thinking is required to develop an appropriate solution to design problems; however, that gathered pool of information will rarely offer a precise fit with a client’s unique situation and therefore research that is specific to the project’s objectives is almost always required.

In the last five years EBD has grown from a mainly healthcare design method to being used more often in school and commercial building design and construction. Its principles are applicable on any other building type, as well. Using EBD in conjunction with Building Information Modeling is the theme of the Fall BIM Forum October 14 and 15 in at the W Hotel, Midtown Atlanta, “Evidence on BIM: High performance Hype Meets Reality.”

The meeting will focus on whether real-world evidence substantiates the claims that BIM leads to higher performance in design, construction, operation and maintenance. Presentation topics will include:

  • Does BIM actually lead to higher performing Buildings?
  • Can the Evidence Based Design process be applied to BIM?
  • How do building owners evaluate BIM practitioners and make decisions about using BIM?
  • What post-occupancy evidence exists that demonstrates that BIM buildings perform as projected?

“As an organization this is completely consistent with what the BIM Forum should do,” said Davis Chauviere, principal and CIO of HKS, chair of the Design Sub-Forum and a member of the organizing committee for the Atlanta event. “Architects have longed talked about adding value using BIM, but what is that value? Working with the client determines what that value is and that owner’s perspective will be shown in all of these presentations.”

Presenters will include Steven Steven Wolf, senior project architect, Target Corp.; Ed Gannon and Colleen Kasprzak of Penn State University who will discuss the BIM Project Execution Guide they created as members of the Computer Integrated Construction (CIC) Research Group at Penn State; Birgitta Foster, partnership development lead at the University of New Mexico and Sandia National Laboratory; and John Moebes, AIA, director of construction at Crate & Barrel, Inc.

Debajyoti Pati, VP and director of research at HKS, will speak about the case for using BIM as an EBD tool in his presentation “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Can (or Should) BIM be Evidence-Based?” Pati’s presentation gives a full history of EBD and its use to solve problems on specific healthcare projects. It will also look forward to how EBD can be used in future BIM projects.

“What’s new is designers are now getting the best information possible to check their hypotheses,” Pati said. “The physical design of a facility is now an active partner in attaining the goals of the organization and those objectives and goals must be translated into design concepts.”

Chauviere also will discuss the latest building performance metrics identified by the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). In addition to the two days of educational sessions, the Fall BIM Forum will also offer separate educational sessions October 12 and 13th on BIM technology and contract negotiation and risk allocation and a tour of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Digital Building Laboratory and a site visit to a project by the Beck Group on Georgia Tech’s Campus showcasing the use of modeling for the digital design, fabrication and installation of intricate millwork (a separate fee is charged for these programs).