BIM Information – How Sweet It Is

June 22, 2015

“A party without cake is just a meeting”.
― Julia Child

Chad Garcia is Dreyfuss + Blackford’s BIM Manager and he wants you to have your cake and eat it, too.

For some, cake making can seem like a science experiment. Emulsify? Slake? Pour in a springform pan? Huh?
If this is the case for you, then Building Information Modeling (BIM) might seem like science fiction. But BIM is not some futuristic technology. It is here, and in the hands of building owners, the “I” (information) in BIM is the icing on the cake.

BIM combines 5-D (cost) modeling, technology and software to not only design and construct buildings, but to operate those buildings years beyond the ribbon cutting. Long after the construction crews have gone, the model continues to provide extensive information to owners. In the past, this information was buried in numerous documents, virtually lost…like an old cheesecake recipe in a stack of stuff in the attic. Not anymore.

What BIM means to building owners is the opportunity to have a streamlined and consolidated repository of information accessible at the click of a mouse. Want to replace that light? Consult the model and you will get all the specs, plus warranty and replacement info. Need to make some upgrades? You will know exactly where to find the VAV box in the mechanical system. No need to look through multiple sets of documents.


What’s Cooking in Placer County

The Placer County Animal Services Center is the BIM pilot project for Placer County. It is the model for how all County facilities information will be set up moving forward. Through this project, we are creating infrastructure and workflow that will be utilized to capture facilities maintenance information now and in the future. At the time of occupancy, serviceable information will be embedded in a 3D model viewer and live within a Google drive folder structure, complete with product cut sheets accessible from anywhere in the world. We have been working with the Department of Facility Services to integrate this with their existing facilities maintenance system as seamlessly as possible.


“3-D modeling… is providing Placer County with new and innovative ways to see and evaluate the proposed design, as well as implement an in-depth building trades coordination process well before the actual construction work begins in the field.

The resulting development of BIM data will also allow us to manage this facility with our current system and beyond into the future. We are very pleased with the energy, effectiveness and experience brought to our project by this design build team.”

– Rob Unholz, Capital Improvements Division Manager, Placer County Department of Facility Services

Momentum is ramping up on national level about how Facilities Maintenance information can be captured and organized during design and construction. We are utilizing the backbone of the COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) process and tailoring it specifically for Placer County. This gives a ton of flexibility moving forward. If Placer County wants to tie into future national standards, all of the information is embedded within the model elements and the associated information can be easily adapted.

Be the Boss of that Dough

Dreyfuss + Blackford has been quick to adopt this technology (COBie) and is one of the few Architecture firms in Northern California that have. We are proactively incorporating BIM throughout all phases of our projects. 

Utilizing a 3D visualization software called Fuzor, we generate smooth and fast 3D models so end users have access to every single object in the project. From documentation of existing construction using laser scanning, to producing live, cloud-based information tables connected to the model, BIM has allowed us to extend our service capabilities beyond just drawing production.

In addition, the tool also enables us to work interactively with clients through design visualizations, renderings, live walk-throughs and presentation plans, helping owners “virtually walk” through the building. The software is similar to a video game, using cutting edge lighting and environmental variables to help visualize the design and navigate through the building to access invaluable information. Clients are amazed.

“Thanks for making the time and coming all the way to Stockton to share your truly awesome virtual tour presentation with the RTD employees. It brought all of the “wow factor” I expected. It was great to hear the oohs and ahhs coming from the employees as they “virtually” walked through our new operations center. Your presentation certainly generated a lot of enthusiasm and made this project seem much more real for all of us.
Thanks for all that you are doing to help our dream become our reality.”

– Donna DeMartino, GM and CEO, San Joaquin Regional Transit District (SJRTD)

In short, building information (PDF Cut sheets, Model Names, Manufacturers, etc.) means nothing if you can’t easily access it. In the simplest of terms, our use of BIM goes way beyond brick and mortar. We model what we build and that model lives on. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

If you’d like more information about Dreyfuss + Blackford’s BIM expertise or how this tool can be utilized on your project, please contact BIM Manager Chad Garcia at (916) 453-1234.