BIM Technology: Office to Field

Faith Technologies' electricians review a model in the field using BIM in a box.Faith Technologies’ virtual construction department has taken a head-on approach to resolve one of the most commonly asked questions from our field employees – How do we acquire the Building Information Modeling (BIM) drawings from the office team so we can ensure we are completing the installations accordingly? 

Our first approach was to utilize the iPad’s capabilities, which generated many new and exciting ideas for our group. These new ideas included documenting installations, verifying punch list completions, and updating “as-built” drawings in the field using the IAnnoate and Plan Grid applications. Although this approach was beneficial, the iPad could not support the ability to view and navigate a full Navisworks model and would continuously “crash” when attempting to view large files using the Autodesk 360 application.

Our next approach was to install Navisworks Freedom Viewer onto our field employee’s laptops. This approach was beneficial during a recently completed food processing project where several laptops were delivered to our on-site electricians, so they could view the model while completing the installations. Although this was a huge help during this project, it still didn’t capture all of the desired capabilities.

Our most recent approach is titled “BIM in a Box”. The “BIM in a Box” is a custom-made mobile technology center which includes a desktop PC tower, 36” LCD television and a Brother printer.  It is complete with Navisworks Freedom Viewer, BlueBeam Revu, Microsoft Office software, MiFi hot spot, and can include any additional software that may be needed to complete the specific project. This new device provides the field employees with the ability to view and navigate large and complex Navisworks Models, which are developed during the coordination process. Field employees can supplement 2D installation drawings by skimming through the model in order to capture the complete picture of what is being installed. As a job progresses, the BlueBeam Revu software is used on-site to review 2D drawings, track and review installations, and update “as-built” drawings. The Brother printer provides employees with the ability to print 11”x17” color drawings and screen shots directly from the model to assist during the installation process. This custom-made device has proved to be an all-inclusive solution and will continue to evolve to meet our needs and desires.

I’d like to extend a special thank you to the following Faith Technologies’ employees that made this vision a reality: Tom Clark, Dan Siebers, Darin Marsden, Ryon Weidner, Ray Chen, Erik Peik, Jody Seubert, and any others that assisted during the process. For more on how Faith Technologies is leveraging virtual construction in today’s electrical contracting market, please refer to EC&M’s 2014 January Edition.