Top 5 BIM Lessons from working at Massive-Scale High Tech Facilities Brett Young · 2014 November 19 · permalink

Modulus Consulting has worked on various confidential, high tech facilities of various sizes. Some of these buildings can only be described as “massive”, both in terms of size and complexity. In reading some headlines this week, we were reminded that working on these types of projects can be very unique and we thought we’d share some lessons we’ve learned. Without providing specifics.

(And –hey – Tesla. We’re waiting for you to call us about your Gigafactory in Nevada.)

Know Who Gets Stuff Done.
Red tape is everywhere on mega tech projects. This often means you can’t get the info you need. Within an organization, you’ll find that there are people who can get you the info you need while others make excuses. Find those people. Buy them coffee. Donuts. Anything they need because they are priceless.
Don’t Assume Everyone has the Same Understanding.
Much of our time on a particular project was spent converting 2D work by various consultants into 3D for coordination. Much of the structure was complicated. Even though we were only on the project for a couple of weeks, we were able to visually demonstrate areas of significant challenges. The structural engineer, who had been on-site for years, achieved a new understanding of the challenges which were initially downplayed. Just because someone is experienced does not mean they can’t achieve a new understanding of complexity.
Focus on the Field.
As you near construction, you have to constantly make sure your work is relevant and correct for the builders. We spent a lot of time in the field doing verification of models. We were able to double check work and develop a strong relationship with the people building what we were modeling. This helped because they knew who to come to for questions.
Understand Your Technology.
LIDAR is a double-edged sword. It has outstanding benefits but also requires careful planning and lots of office-side work. At various points, team members didn’t understand that LIDAR wasn’t “Automatic X-ray 3D Modeling”. All tech has limitations and part of our role sometimes is communicating the significant processes that support the tech.
Be Prepared for the Whole Experience.
Individually, projects or clients throw you individual, unusual new experiences. For example, many contractors do a stretch-and-flex in the morning. But massive projects throw you a whole raft of new experiences.
Booties for your shoes, 5 hour safety orientations, 7 types of alarm sounds onsite, the sticker that goes over your cell phone lens, pre-task checklists, the sticky mats for trapping shoe debris, gowning up, gowning down, acronyms for buildings, acronyms for people, acronyms for phases. Be prepared for the whole experience.