Last week leaders of New York City’s AECO industry flocked to Midtown to hear from the project team leading the nation’s most ambitious urban campus development, Columbia University’s Manhattanville project. The evening’s presentation, a part of the BuildingSuccess event series, provided an inside view of what it has been like to work on a project of this size and scale – 6.8 million square feet of teaching and research facilities being developed on 17 acres in the heart of New York City – and some of the many challenges and opportunities that have presented themselves throughout the course of the first phase of the project.
Columbia University Associate VP, Marcelo Velez, lead the BuildingSuccess panel discussion with members of the project team involved in the ambitious 17-acre Manhattanville project currently underway in Harlem, NYC.
The discussion was led by Columbia University’s Marcelo Velez, the Associate Vice President for the Manhattanville Development, who shared the university’s vision for the project and their unique perspective on the role Building Information Modeling (BIM) should play both during design and construction as well as for operations and maintenance after the project is complete. Central to the project is the concept of transparency and collaboration, both in terms of the design as well as the development process. In terms of the physical design, the entire program is intended to integrate the institution into the very urban fabric of the West Harlem neighborhood. In terms of the design process, clear workflows and processes have been established to ensure there is as much dedication to open collaboration in the design and construction as there is in the aesthetics of the project itself.
The BuildingSuccees Manhattanville panel shares the challenges and opportunities of leveraging BIM on a project of this size and scope. Panelists included Mera Faddoul of Jacobs Engineering, Scott Frank of Jaros, Baum & Bolles, Serge Drouin of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Will Paxson of Davis Brody Bond, and Joseph Maraia and Keith Allen of Lend Lease.
Given how many of the key project team members were represented on the evening’s panel, from design and engineering to construction management and the owner, it is clear that this team truly embraces this approach.
As Mera Faddoul, a Principal at Jacobs Engineering and team member in charge of developing and maintaining the Manhattanville BIM standard, so eloquently put it, their focus is on “BIM value.” That is, using BIM to deliver a better project and not just using it for the sake of using it.
With a project as complex as Manhattanville, delivering on that value has not been without challenges. Faddoul described the difficulties with creating a BIM standard that stands the test of time yet is flexible enough to accommodate a project with multiple phases spanning over 10 years, particularly given how quickly the technology is advancing. Further, the team has been put to the test in looking ahead and considering how Columbia University can potentially use the models after the project’s completion for facility management.
Getting all of the players on board took some up-front effort too. As Joseph Maraia and Keith Allen, representatives from Lend Lease noted, some disciplines are further along in the BIM adoption process than others. But in the end jumping on the BIM bandwagon for Manhattanville has paid off. In fact, as Serge Drouin from Renzo Piano Building Workshop divulged, even team members who had all but written off BIM are now believers.
As Scott Frank, Partner from MEP consulting firm Jaros, Baum & Bolles, noted, gone are the days of waiting for the delivery of latest set of drawing sheets; now changes are made nearly concurrently and are shared with the project team in real time, making the entire process markedly more efficient. According to Will Paxson, Partner from Davis Brody Bond, the team has also realized the benefits of being able to create virtual mock-ups and walkthroughs, enabling them to immediately address issues as the model is updated.
A lively panel Q&A session brought forth some additional considerations for the industry to address, such as liability issues, the need to change traditional approaches to project staffing, and how to optimize BIM for facilities management. Yet, as the panel emphasized, change cannot be avoided. For Columbia University and the Manhattanville team, the attitude is “embrace the change or be left behind!”
- See more at: http://blogs.microdesk.com/index.php/2013/05/bim/#sthash.uJIDCBwV.dpuf