The long-term success of hospital and surgery center development projects hinges upon effective communication between architects, healthcare executives, and developers. In recent years, the use of building information modeling (BIM) has surged as hospital project managers learn about the many benefits of BIM. In addition to helping stakeholders visualize the impact of proposed hospital projects, BIM can help healthcare projects evolve faster and with greater accuracy. Below are the 10 ways that BIM services are changing the face of tomorrow’s healthcare facilities.
1) Hospitals are built faster with BIM. Project completion speed is one of the most important aspects of the hospital design process, especially in communities with underserved populations. BIM is highly regarded for its ability to promote efficiency during the healthcare construction process. For instance, a 2014 survey of architects and contractors illustrated support for BIM as an efficient means of fostering coordination and updates during the design process. Completion of some hospitals has been 15% faster with the use of BIM because designers were able to quickly see the true costs of key design elements. This can equate to cost savings of hundreds of millions of dollars when larger projects are considered.
2) BIM helps stakeholders visualize complex healthcare facilities. As technology continues to change, developers must ensure that hospitals are designed with a flow that is compatible with current trends. Hospitals and surgery centers are constantly evolving to reflect the unique needs of patients and practitioners. BIM modeling allows hospital developers to effectively simulate patient staff and flow, promoting visualization. Dan Noble, director of design with HKS Architects of Dallas, summarized these points when he stated the following:
BIM is a perfect fit for healthcare because of the complex nature of these buildings, the repetitiveness of the activity within the building, and the need to really nail (the) process.” – Dan Noble, FAIA, FACHA
3) BIM helps showcase the benefits of an energy-efficient hospital. Completing a new hospital or surgery center without going over budget is always a key stakeholder goal. Another closely related goal is optimizing long-term savings through energy efficient building design. Promoting visualization of cost-savings is a task that was a challenge for hospital designers for years. However, with the advent of BIM, developers can allow stakeholders to visualize the design of an energy-efficient hospital. BIM even permits the use of “energy modelers” and “daylight calculators” that foster the design of hospitals that use less energy.
4) Exciting hospital projects are brought to life with BIM. One of the greatest challenges facing healthcare developers is the task of bringing proposed designs to life. It is easy for stakeholders to get tired or distracted when reviewing hospital plans that involve hundreds of empty patient rooms and unused operating theaters. BIM infuses life and vitality into hospital proposals by offering the following types of simulations:
- The flow of hospital staff and patients throughout the proposed facility
- The ability easily move and position large pieces of medical equipment such as C-arms and CT scanners
- The flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic immediately outside the hospital, including parking areas
5) BIM enables developers to meet regulatory requirements. Few industries face a more staggering collection of regulatory requirements than the healthcare industry. Architects and developers who focus on the healthcare arena are constantly in search of innovative ways to ensure that their proposed hospital buildings receive regulatory approval. Fortunately, BIM offers superb transparency to members of regulatory boards, allowing them to view projects with enhanced clarity, promoting more prompt receipt of required certifications and approvals.
6) Stakeholders can actively participate in hospital design with BIM. By laying the foundation for close collaboration between stakeholders, BIM generates enthusiasm among owners, surgeons, developers, and the community at large. BIM allows stakeholders to easily exchange information and promotes easy access to visualization tools from a central server. This enables workers and stakeholders to quickly access site data if changes need to be implemented.
7) Design changes are faster and easier to make when BIM is used. Rarely are hospital projects free of pain points, conflicts, or design changes. Hospital stakeholders often have conflicting ideas regarding layouts of operating theaters, patient rooms, and intensive care areas. BIM modeling makes it easier for stakeholders to recognize potential conflicts early in the design process so they can be resolved without delaying construction. For instance, BIM modeling can simulate the movement of a large C-arm throughout the facility, alleviating concerns that the height and width of proposed doorways may be insufficient.
8) Surgeons and healthcare providers can visualize equipment placement. Aside from the initial expenditure to construct a hospital, the next largest expense is equipment and furnishings. When reviewing or approving designs, it is helpful for stakeholders to be able to visualize how and where capital medical equipment will be positioned. BIM facilitates this visualization on multiple levels. First, BIM provides a model for visualization and inventory of equipment and tools, enabling facility managers to easily track the location of medical equipment once the hospital is operational. Second, BIM allows facility managers to quickly transfer data to each other or upload it into the hospital’s computer system.
9) BIM designs can be used in the future if updates are planned. Long-term hospital management is an important variable that is often overlooked during the design and construction process. In most cases, hospital project delivery teams typically turn their attentions to a new project once their current project is completed. Updates and renovations may not be proposed for years or decades after a project delivery team has dissolved. Fortunately, BIM makes it easy for project details to be easily captured in the facility database that was employed during the project’s design.
10) BIM can help secure funding and support for hospital projects. Some countries such as the USA, Singapore, and Hong Kong already have government-mandated use of BIM for most public hospital projects. However, building a private hospital is a different story in most countries. Convincing potential stakeholders to invest in a hospital project is never easy. BIM modeling is a tool that will greatly increase the odds of convincing prospective donors to offer time, money, or resources. And with funding often being provided by donors in other countries, BIM makes it possible to enable stakeholders and potential donors in remote locations to visualize their exciting hospital proposals.
How to Select the Best BIM Modeling Provider for Your Hospital Project
Seeking the support of a trusted BIM modeling expert is the most important step you will take as you take. From the moment you make your initial proposal to your ribbon-cutting ceremony, an experienced BIM modeling professional can provide the guidance you need to overcome barriers in the design and construction process. As you evaluate potential BIM modeling providers, be sure to seek a firm that offers the following:
- An impressive portfolio of successful hospital projects
- Use of cutting-edge BIM tools
- A minimum of 10 years of experience in the healthcare design industry
- Strict adherence to contractual deadlines to ensure timely project completion
- A commitment to providing unprecedented customer service
As illustrated above, BIM modeling services play a key role in helping hospital projects come to fruition. By enabling stakeholders to visualize the intricacies of a hospital prior to its completion, BIM modeling also infuses excitement into the areas of healthcare architecture and design.