Office of Design and Construction
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Since 2008, Princeton University’s use of new technology called Building Information Modeling, or “BIM”, for building projects has resulted in higher quality buildings and renovations, with fewer costly field changes.
The National Institute of Building Sciences defines BIM, an emerging technology, as “a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility…and a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.” Simply put, BIM is a 3D virtual design tool that enables architects, engineers and builders to design, draw and construct buildings using technology that recognizes lines as intelligent building elements, instead of just lines. BIM is also seen as promising to assist in managing the facility through the life of the building.
As a building design evolves, BIM automatically tracks building systems, quantities and elements, and links these virtual building elements to data such as equipment model numbers, material types and PDF documents. Individual 3D BIM models, including structural, architectural and mechanical, are combined as a composite model for virtual “clash detection,” to solve difficult construction conditions long before construction occurs.
The Office of Design and Construction, in concert with outside consultants, industry experts, and internal stakeholders, has issued our first BIM Standards as part of Release 9.0 of the Princeton Design Standards Manual. A core group, collaborated to conduct research on industry models, interviewed numerous consultants, builders and Owners, and documented a process and requirements that will enable consistent use of this new tool without diminishing the architectural integrity of our building projects.
The standards align with emerging industry standards, but are uniquely Princeton’s. While the standards specify minimum requirements and protocols, the BIM Execution Plan and a Level of Detail Matrix template allow each team to customize their approach to each of our diverse projects. At the end of each project, two 3D models will be delivered to Facilities for future use, a record design model prepared by the architect/engineering team, and an as-built model, prepared by the contractor, both with links to important information about the facility.
The use of any new tool creates contractual challenges. Princeton’s approach will be to continue to rely on the 2D drawings as the legal documents, and to use the BIM model for reference.
Initially we will utilize BIM on projects on a individual basis, starting with new buildings and major renovations. As technology improves and BIM is more widely adopted we will likely continue to expand the use of BIM.
Princeton Core BIM Standards Team:
- Sean Joyner, Deputy Director, Design and Construction
- Bill Bausmith, Associate Director Construction Management, Design and Construction
- Mike Karl, Manager, Procurement
- Mark Wilson, Program Manager, Design and Construction
- Sam Rozycki, Senior Project Manager, Design and Construction
- Jan Reinhardt, Consultant, Adept Project Delivery
- Abhi Basu, Consultant, Basu Technology Inc.