Monday, August 24, 2009

Texas adopts BIM capability for State Design and Construction Projects

Contact: Mike Blackwell, TFC Marketing and Communications Specialist (512) 463-4237/(512) 791-9189

Austin - The Texas Facilities Commission (TFC), the agency within the State of Texas that oversees the state’s real estate development as owners and operators of state facilities, today announces its adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for state design and construction projects. For over a year, the Facilities Design and Construction (FDC) division within TFC has diligently worked to standardize the use of BIM for its future projects. FDC is responsible for overseeing the design and construction of state facilities throughout Texas. Currently, FDC manages 125 projects valued over $500 million, in addition to maintaining the Facilities Master Plan. In an effort to promote workflow efficiency, streamline productivity and increase the return on investment for the State of Texas, FDC has adopted and encourages the use of BIM’s digital design technology.

This digital design technology, in the form of coordinated, data-rich BIM models, gives TFC and its architectural and engineering design professionals the ability to explore early design concepts in 3D, visually analyze and simulate projects before construction begins, help identify and reduce costly design conflicts, and work in a more collaborative way to produce a better, faster, and more cost-effective state building. After construction, the BIM model becomes an evolving, digital representation of the actual building that can be used throughout a building’s life to facilitate the sharing of coordinated, consistent data among TFC’s design and construction partners; as well as TFC divisions tasked to maintain energy efficiency and maintenance services.

“Modernization has always been a central theme of my administration at the Texas Facilities Commission, and the BIM implementation is another part of that effort,” said TFC Executive Director Edward L. Johnson. “Modernization of our business practices, modernization of our real estate strategy, modernizing building design and construction . . . a part of everything we do is making use of the most innovative, state-of-the-art developments in both the public and private sector. Three years ago we embarked on making the Texas Facilities Commission the most sophisticated and professional real estate management and building design and construction organization that exists in the public sector. Becoming a leader in Building Information Modeling is an important step in that direction.”

The BIM model and process is a powerful tool for an owner of any size; but due to the number and scale of the TFC’s building and renovation ventures and the varied nature of construction types, ranging from office buildings and hospitals/labs to deferred maintenance projects, the integrated process allows for better informed decision making for all involved. The BIM process helps architects, engineers, constructors, sub-contractors and vendors collaborate with an intelligent model, allowing them to visualize and simulate using precise data before any building material is purchased, brought to the site or erected. Further, by making BIM the standard for all new buildings, TFC can begin to gauge energy usage, as well as forecast energy consumption based on model simulations; model multiple high-performance building scenarios based on minimal design time, simulate or identify security issues related to building type, and connect the model to existing databases or control systems for bi-directional, real-time data exchange.

“The BIM process allows the TFC and our private sector partners to collaborate from the start, share important data accurately and make better informed decisions earlier in the design process,” said Chris Tisdel, TFC’s Director of Building Information Modeling. “The added visibility and workflow efficiency reduces unexpected delays, unforeseen costs and overall construction time, which is of great value for our large operations across the State of Texas.”

As a part of the adoption of BIM, TFC recognizes that the private sector will be looking to it for guidance and a clear definition of what BIM means to the state. To that end, the FDC has developed a clear set of standards and guidelines that all private sector partners will have access to prior to any involvement in a state project. Along with the guidelines, FDC has created an interoperable BIM template that all private sector partners will have made available to them for any State project. The combination of the guidelines and template will enable any private sector partner just getting into BIM to save time and effort and provides them with a framework to build their own workflow and standards around. TFC is committed to educating and working with those who design and build projects for the State, in a collaborative manner with the clear goal of making the BIM approach a positive one for all involved. (See video describing TFC’s adoption of BIM)

The State of Texas leads the way in BIM adoption and implementation, providing support, education and best practice standards to other state and local agencies that are also in varying stages of BIM adoption. The pool of owner-entities adopting BIM within Texas is growing at a quickening pace as the state leads the way in encouraging a better way to design and build. Industry and trade association leaders acknowledge that Texas has taken an innovative leadership role in adopting BIM. By doing so, Texas closes the gap between it and the General Services Administration, the first major governmental agency to adopt BIM for new construction and leads all other States in the way it leverages BIM to support construction, energy, maintenance, and facilities operations within Texas.

Finally, BIM provides a coordinated, informed understanding of the design and building process for owners, designers and constructors. As new construction grows at the state level, project expectations that include increasing complexity, a high level of transparency for decision makers, and accountability to taxpayers requires a new, but tested equally innovative approach to the traditional understanding of concept, design, scheduling, cost and implementation. TFC has adopted that innovative approach in BIM and by doing so is leading the way on a national stage into the future of digital design and construction.

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