Construction professionals in the healthcare sector of the market seem to have taken the lead on initiatives such as BIM (building information modeling) and IPD (integrated project delivery), as the vast majority of healthcare projects are delivered in an integrated manner today where the team is formed early and guidelines are established upfront.

As such, the healthcare segment of the construction industry, in many cases, serves as a good example for how to implement both technology and integrated processes into projects.

The use of BIM on a project can create new complexities that otherwise wouldn’t have existed, and it becomes important for the team to develop a process upfront, in order to help mitigate risk. This is precisely the strategy taken by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, www.utsouthwestern.edu, Dallas, Texas.

The owner believed the BIM methodology would help avoid conflicts, but also recognized the team needed an implementation plan, a BIM facilitator, and a system to manage project files, and ultimately decided to work with Proactive Controls Group, www.proactivecontrols.com, Pittsburgh, Pa., a company that integrates best-practice BIM processes into construction, helping reduce cost and schedule risk.

Proactive Controls Group assisted the team in creating a BIM execution plan to establish goals and processes, as well as define expectations for how UT Southwestern Medical Center was planning to use the model in the future. The plan made sure the BIM efforts of the entire team were all coordinated toward achieving the owner’s goals.

This is one of the most critical steps of the BIM process—setting up a process in the beginning in order to work toward a final goal. Technology is only an enabling tool to the entire BIM process. Still, having a good solution in place will help the process run smoothly.

For UT Southwestern Medical Center, the capital program management software from e-Builder, www.e-builder.net, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., served as a communication hub, allowing the team to access the BIM model, drawings, schedules, and other project documents in one location.

In this example, the owner played a significant role in establishing the implementation plan for the project. This becomes important in any project today—gaining buy-in from everyone involved in the projects from the architects and engineers to the contractors and owners. This makes a BIM process move along in a more efficient manner.

As another example, contractors continue to remain innovative as well, bringing technology and an efficient process into the equation. McCarthy Building Companies, www.mccarthy.com, St. Louis, Mo., is continuing to use technology in healthcare, and recently topped out a replacement hospital and broke ground on a medical office building for Good Samaritan Regional Health Center, www.samhealth.org, Mount Vernon, Ill.

McCarthy is using prefabrication on this project, assembling wall sections of patient bathrooms and patient room head walls prior to site installation.

The construction company is using software from Bluebeam Software, www.bluebeam.com, Pasadena, Calif., and other technology to enable the BIM process in both the office and the field. With this particular project, partners and subcontractors are coordinating 3D images of MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) systems on a smart board in McCarthy’s onsite BIM lab, which is linked to McCarthy’s home office.

Andrew Poirot, project manager, McCarthy, says BIM models have expanded well beyond MEP systems to include structure, building enclosure, framing, drywall, equipment, and more—ultimately avoiding issues during installation.

Constructech recently had an opportunity to sit down with Jim Eaton, vice president of McCarthy’s Southeast division, to discuss the role of technology in healthcare construction today. Eaton agrees technology is used for much more than just design and MEP coordination of the healthcare facilities. Today McCarthy is doing 4D scheduling and 5D estimating, and is taking technology to the field.

To learn more about how technology is playing a role in healthcare construction today, check out the special healthcare supplement in the May/June issue of Constructech magazine.