7. BIM Applications

At a minimum, BIM shall be used for the following applications:

7.1 Space and Medical Equipment Validation

VA-SEPS Data Required in BIM: VA uses the Space and Equipment Planning System (VA-SEPS), which is a data based planning tool shared by the VA, U.S. Navy, Army, and Air Force to create a Program for Design (PFD). Information regarding medical need requirements is entered to generate the space requirements and medical equipment associated with that space for a particular project. The output of VA-SEPS is a PFD containing a list of rooms (spaces) and medical equipment, with their identifying computer codes used to associate and track this information through design and construction.-1- Some of these codes will ultimately be imported into the facility management software to provide VA with the ability to manage, track, and report on VA's spatial inventory, medical equipment, and building equipment. In addition, the BIM software will automatically assign a unique GUID to spaces which will identify each individual space.

The BIM is required to capture this space and equipment data in the BIM model. All BIM modeling must preserve the field name designations and text values found in the VA-SEPS BIM export files.-2- To do this, the final PFD for each project must be electronically exported from the VA-SEPS database for import and reuse in BIM. A spreadsheet export can be obtained in VA-SEPS by going to the Selection Tree and clicking on Select a Project, then choosing the proper project. Then on the sub-menu, select Export Project Data to BIM. This will create a MS Excel file with the associated data codes, which can then be imported into the BIM software's "space" tool and equipment data into "elements" or "objects" tools appropriate to the particular BIM software, or the data can be linked in a database external to the BIM software. Medical spaces and medical equipment shall be derived from the model and validated against the PFD electronically at each submittal stage.

Note that if the original PFD was not developed using VA-SEPS or if new spaces are added during the design process, then a new VA-SEPS-PFD export must be created to obtain the proper codes.

7.2 Architecture—Spatial and Material Design Models

The timing of the Level of Development (LoD) required for elements(s) or systems(s) will be dependent entirely upon the project execution strategy used for the project, as the deliverables and their timing will be different for DBB than for DB or IDP.

The Object Element Matrix shows the evolution of the architectural spatial model as it is refined during the design process as the project progresses toward construction. As materials and components are selected, generic assemblies shall be assigned material properties, sizes, sustainability credits tracked, and other specific component information defined to clearly identify building features such as walls, floors, roofs, doors, and windows. The program space requirements shall be modeled in the spatial model and validated electronically against the PFD at each stage of the project and submitted with the required deliverables.

7.3 Energy Analysis

Energy simulation and life-cycle cost calculations shall be based on information extracted directly from BIM and validated by energy modeling. The models shall be created to a Level of Development (LoD) and quality as required to perform an energy analysis appropriate for the phase and decision requirements of the project. When internal spaces are defined, they shall be modeled with internal environment parameters for early MEP design.

Design Teams shall utilize energy modeling and sustainable design software that extracts BIM data to the appropriate file format for the analysis tool.

7.4 Design Visualization for Communication, Functional Analysis, and Constructability

BIM provides the opportunity to build a virtual building and to virtually test that building for functionality during design. This allows project stakeholders to see and understand design solutions that represents reality so they can work towards improving the building design before construction starts. VA is open to innovation and encourages the Design Team to find efficiencies and uses for BIM to enhance communication for the project. At a minimum, the model shall be integrated into design reviews, review submittals, and 3D construction documentation views. Areas that would benefit from the use of 3D imagery and fly-throughs during the design process and during construction shall be identifed and noted in the BMP(s).

Visualization tools refer to animations, fly-throughs, static 3D renderings, 4D process sequencing, and other techniques to assist decisionmaking and comprehension. It should be noted that even though the BIMs contain most of the source information needed for visualization, they may require further refinement in specific animation and visualization software to accomplish the intended results.

During design, special consideration must be given to medical staff and maintenance issues. At a minimum, BIM shall be used to validate:

The Design and ConstructionTeams are encouraged to explore options to use the BIM and other electronic tools to enhance the project quality and delivery times, including quantity take-offs, cost estimating, overall project scheduling, subcontractor coordination and manpower loading, off-site fabrication, and other widely discussed BIM benefits.

7.5 Building System Models—Structural, MEPF,-3- and Interiors

Structural, MEPF, and interior design information is required to be developed in BIM.

7.6 Masterplan Space Scheduling and Sequencing—4D

For design work that includes sequencing of renovation swing space or masterplanning for long-term build-out, BIM 4D shall be used to illustrate the phasing plan to interact, communicate, and get approval of the final design and spatial sequencing with the medical staff.

7.7 Communication of Construction Scheduling and Sequencing—4D

The Contractor shall link BIM to the project schedule as a communication method to coordinate with the Medical Center and the VA Resident Engineer logistics that affect medical center operations or require shutdown of any affected facilities and utilities. The animated phasing plan shall address such issues as swing space during construction, parking interruptions, and re-routing of pedestrian/vehicular traffic, or any other construction work that could affect Medical Center operations.

It is recommended that the Contractor also use BIM - 4D in schedule planning and communication with the subcontractors and to understand the impact to the construction schedule of other changes during the duration of the project.

7.8 COBIE/Commissioning

VA has adopted COBIE as the methodology to electronically transfer building information after construction is complete for facilities management. The COBIE spreadsheet (see COBIE2 Template) is part of the U.S. National Building Information Model Standard (NBIMS). Third-party utilities facilitate the automatic creation and transfer of some data between BIM and a COBIE spreadsheet via IFC files as an intermediate stage, and some BIM software may include creation of and data transfer to the spreadsheet directly without making use of intermediate IFC files. Where possible, automatic means should be used to create and fill in the COBIE spreadsheet.

The Design/Construction Team shall consult their BIM software vendor(s) for the most current COBIE utilities. However, the completed COBIE worksheets will also contain some information that is entered manually into the electric file, either because the information currently cannot be conveniently extracted from the BIM or because it does not reside in the BIM.

The Design/Construction Team is encouraged to provide as much information in COBIE as is known at the time of the deliverable. The required worksheets in COBIE will be filled out in step with the LoD and Design Phases (see Object Element Matrix).

7.9 Clash Detection/Coordination


Trade colors for Clash Detection

Architecture: White
Structural Steel: Maroon
Concrete: Gray
HVAC Equipment: Gold
HVAC Supply Duct/Diffuser: Blue
HVAC Return Duct/Diffuser: Magenta
HVAC Pipe: Gold
Electrical Equipment: Dark Yellow
Electrical Conduits: Light Yellow
Communication Conduit: Light Blue
Electrical Cable Tray: Dark Orange
Electrical Lighting: Yellow
Plumbing Water: Cyan
Plumbing Sewer: Magenta
Plumbing Storm Drain: Green
Fire Protection: Red
Pneumatic Tube: Dark Green
Equipment (Medical): Light Green
Medical Gas: Light Green
Security Systems: Orange
Fire Alarm: Fuchsia.

Minimum Requirements for Spatial Coordination and Clash Detection

  1. Architecture + Structural: Below-grade spaces, proposed floor plates with major penetrations, floor-to-floor heights, beam clearances, heavy utilities locations, floor loads, core, and vertical shafts, beam depths and required clearances, patient lift mechanisms, slab thickness, columns, column caps, and seismic bracing. Provide adequate space for construction and maintenance access to structural elements, building equipment, and distribution systems.
  2. Architecture + MEPF: Structural and space elements, flow and isolation requirements, proposed functional area configurations, floor-to-floor heights, fire containment, vertical and horizontal transportation. Possible future expansions shall be considered and shall be clash-free.
  3. MEPF/HVAC + Architecture, Structure, and Telecommunications: Main distribution and collection systems, configurations and sizes for piping, duct, conduit, power wiring, blowers; diffusers; intakes, large compressors. Clearance reservations for equipment maintenance filter removal, and equipment removal and replacement shall be modeled with the equipment, and sign-off on the adequacy of the space reservations shall be obtained from the facility Chief Engineer.
  4. Architecture + Life Safety Fire Protection: Safe zone and fire suppression pipe location, egress paths and exit distance requirements, equipment, and pipe penetrations.
  5. Medical Equipment + Architecture, MEPF, HVAC, Structural: Medical major equipment positioning and location requirements, medical gases distribution and waste collection, cryogen supply piping for MRI and labs, and cryogen cooling compressors, nurse call systems, public communications, and building controls. This includes major medical equipment adjacencies and shielding barriers, pipes, and venting and air intake locations and other limitations.
  6. Architecture/HVAC + Interiors: Merges shall include ductwork and piping + ceilings and FF&E-6- + HVAC.
  7. Space Validation: There shall be no space gaps. Bounding boxes used to represent room and zone spaces shall match with architectural requirements and data values, and all shall be coordinated with values given in the PFD.
  8. General Model Quality Checking: All walls shall be properly joined to prevent "space leaks" in areas defined by enclosing walls. Bounding boxes shall not conflict.
  9. Security: Security setbacks + structure + site.
  10. Accessibility Compliance: Wheelchair pathways and clearances + structure. (If using Solibri Model Checker or other rules-based model checking software, accessibility compliance can be checked automatically.)

7.10 Virtual Testing and Balancing

The VA requires virtual testing and balancing of the architectural model to support sustainable building systems design and analysis. Room data can be read from the linked architectural model to create mechanical spaces (each space is the same as the room in the architectural model). Multiple spaces are joined to create zones. This data can used to calculate native heating and cooling analysis that is built into the MEP software or exported using gbXML to an external analysis application such as eQuest, Trane/Trace, or DOE based analysis programs. AEs can then bring this data back within the model to check their work. One of the methods is to create a Space/Room schedule that will show calculated air flow vs actual air flow. See figure below. All air flows can be checked for load balance to the terminal box and all the way back to the air handling units. Check with MEP modeling software companies for additional information.

Space Airflow Schedule

-1- Additional space engineering criteria will be added over time.

-2- With the exception of "Army_Cat," "Navy_Cat," and "USAF_Cat," which can be removed.

-3- Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire protection (MEPF)


-5- Generally this is weekly

-6- Fixtures, Furniture, & Equipment (FFE)

in this section:
VA Requirements for Using BIM | Additional BIM Uses