What is building information modelling and how it can optimise the performance of your pharma building

September 6, 2023 Published by Tritech Engineering

Building information modelling (BIM) is a process that uses technology to manage all of the information in the architecture, engineering, and construction of a building. The 3D model generated with this information can be collaborated on and fed into by all of the team members and stakeholders involved in a project, making the design process truly transparent, and enabling the easier sharing of information.

BIM can forecast the physical and functional characteristics of a building before it is constructed, predicting how it will perform in terms of energy and environmental efficiency, and calculating how it will handle factors like moisture and extreme temperatures.

Helping design teams and contractors to mitigate errors, and produce safety and risk assessments, building information modelling has become the standard in building performance design. But the concept and theory of the platform was around long before the technology was actually available to deliver it.

The origins of building information modelling

Back in the 1960s, computers were already being thought of as a way to capture the visual design and technical specifications of buildings in a way that would be easy to adjust and adapt as needed. However, computers, databases, and other necessary IT infrastructure just didn’t exist in the same way it does now, while the graphical user interfaces (GUI) we are used to today were not even in their infancy. 1975 saw the advent of the “Building Description System”, the forerunner to BIM, which was developed by architectural expert, Charles Eastman.

Fast-forward to today and  Revit is the tool of choice for many architects and construction engineers. First released in 2000, it gave designers the facility to see how the relationships between components would change when one of them was adjusted – for example, how making a wall taller in one part of a building would impact the rest of the building, and what changes would need to be made to accommodate that height adjustment.

BIM can now be used to manage the life cycle of a building

Whereas BIM was first conceived as a design tool, it has evolved into a means of managing and monitoring a building’s performance long after construction has been completed. The “Common Data Environment” (CDE) is a cloud-based platform used to share data throughout the life cycle of a building project or asset, supporting collaboration across project teams to improve cost management, construction management, project management, facility operations, and green building applications.

Building information modelling in pharma construction and building performance design

The benefits of BIM really become apparent in the design, construction, and management of pharmaceutical facility building projects. With the number of regulatory protocols and procedures that need to be observed, and the level of accuracy and detail required to meet them, there is little room for error, redo’s or the cost overruns associated. Timing is key in the manufacture of a new or important drug, and everything can ride on the successful outcome of a facility’s construction.

Tritech and building design technology

At Tritech our mission is to help our clients optimise and add value to their buildings. What enables us to do this on a consistent basis is our continuous, ongoing commitment to investing in both our people and our technology. Having the most state-of-the-art construction industry technology is critical to our success and that of our clients. At Tritech we are constantly monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating existing and emerging platforms that help us to lead the field when it comes to construction and engineering technology.

One example of how Tritech employs BIM in pharma building design

West Pharmaceutical appointed Tritech as their mechanical services contractor for the supply, installation, testing, and commissioning of the complete mechanical installation for this facility.

A high level of detail and accuracy was required in the Revit model as existing, redundant services were due to be demolished to accommodate a new ductwork system, VAV’s, chilled water system, heating system, process cooling system, steam and condensate system, softened water system, condensate drainage system, compressed air system and BMS. Tritech included all design, equipment and model data to generate the new BIM model. Our experience in point cloud scanning meant we were able to scan the site and have a digital overlay within the model to address rerouting requirements for the commencement of site works. The model we delivered was an accurate digital twin of the real world environment.

Keen to know more about how BIM can improve efficiency?

If you would like to know more about building information modelling and how it can be used to enhance performance and efficiencies in the design, construction, and management of your pharma construction project, why not get in touch with David Patton, BIM Manager at Tritech, who can discuss with you the value of digitalisation, how it can streamline, improve and accelerate your project, as well as add value to your building.