In our first BIM blog post, we discussed the value of the BIM equipment placement services we offer at Maia Consulting.  In this post, we are taking a deeper dive into the considerations that go into proper coordination within the design team.  Below are several of the top questions that the design team should address at the beginning of the design process.
What Level of Development (LOD) is required for medical equipment? 
There are various established LOD standards in the AEC field with slight variations from one to another. It is important to communicate to the design team which standard you are using. Most of the time the design team has established a LOD, outlined in their BIM Execution Plan. Many times, the required LOD varies between phases of design, as shown below.  During SD phase a LOD of 100-200 is acceptable for planning purposes. As the design progresses, so does the LOD for families. By project completion all families are typically shown at a level 300-350.

Which equipment on the list will be shown on the drawings (Major fixed equipment, spatially significant, or everything)?
In the earliest stages of design, we review a responsibility matrix.  This matrix covers the planning, procurement, and installation responsibilities of each stakeholder through the life of the project.  Once responsibilities are set, the equipment planner and the architect decide which equipment will be shown on the drawings.  Early in design, drawings typically show only Architecturally Significant Equipment (ASE) that requires data, power, plumbing, or mounting. As the project progresses towards the CD phase, the level of detail increases so that nearly all equipment is placed in the BIM model.
Given the volume of medical equipment in a clinical space, fully populated drawings can become very cluttered with small/handheld items.  For this reason, many equipment planners do not draw/place all equipment on their drawings.  When this is the case, it is important to ensure the design team is aligned up front regarding which equipment will and will not be shown on drawings.  It is important to note that the equipment list and ASE documentation includes all equipment, even if not on the drawings.
Which rooms will be populated (typical rooms or all rooms)?
Determining which rooms to populate with medical equipment is a decision that should be made between the equipment planner and the design team. Most of the time the design team has already designated “typical” rooms that will serve as a reference for other rooms with similar function and layout. 
It is common practice to populate typical rooms during the SD and initial DD phase, and sometimes the CD phase. Any two rooms that have the same size, shape, orientation, and equipment can be a typical room.  Examples include exam/treatment rooms, inpatient rooms, and nurse stations.  Identifying typical rooms during the design process simplifies user group discussions and makes the planning process more efficient.
Later in the design process, many design teams choose to eliminate typical rooms and populate every room.  This prevents any coordination conflicts and maximizes clarity for construction documents. 
What are the tagging conventions for medical equipment?
The tagging convention for medical equipment is referred to as a “CAD ID” or “Equipment ID”.  The exact makeup of the tag can vary by equipment planner depending on which planning software they use.  The tags are generally 6-7 alphanumeric characters with three letters indicating the category and 3-4 numbers specific to the manufacturer/model.  Tags with alphanumeric characters are the most widely used because it is easier to identify the equipment by reading the tag.  For example, BED0101 is a bed.
Sometimes, the AEC team or the client has unique requirements for equipment tags, like the Joint Schedule Numbers utilized on federal projects.  When a project requires custom equipment tags, it is best to define them at the onset.
How will the scale of the equipment layouts tie into the floor plans?
Due to the amount of information shown in equipment drawings and the size of the tag used, it common for equipment planners to adjust the scale of their drawings to make their drawings legible. This change in scale usually results in the equipment planner having more sheets for a particular floor than the Architect. For example, the architect has a floor plan divided into two parts, Part A & Part B at 1/8” scale.  The equipment planner changes their scale from 1/8” scale to 1/4″ for clarity, creating four equipment sheets: Part A1, Part A2, Part B1, and Part B2.  When the BIM Equipment Placement team must change the drawing scale, we communicate it to the design team in advance.
How will the team document and resolve equipment conflicts?
Equipment conflicts should always be documented during all phases of the design and construction process. It is important for the BIM Equipment Placement team to categorize the conflicts based on the discipline.  With so many teams collaborating on a project, the path to resolution can vary based on the type of conflict.  For example:

Space conflicts – a space is not large enough or not all of the equipment can fit. Resolution involves the architect and equipment planner moving walls, discussing alternative locations, or specifying different equipment.
Casework conflicts – equipment does not fit on or underneath casework or would require casework. Resolution involves the architect and equipment planner fine-tuning the casework and equipment specifications.
MEP conflict – equipment may require a drain, vent, or special power requirement. Resolution involves coordination with the MEP engineer and results in adjustment to either the MEP or the equipment specification.
Layout conflicts – current layout of equipment may conflict with the users standard workflow. Resolution requires further conversation between architect, equipment planner, and end user.

To expedite resolution, Maia Consulting highlights coordination conflicts on equipment drawings and tracks them until resolution.
Another trend that has developed for documenting changes and conflicts in real-time is the use of Bluebeam software.  Prior to a project submittal, the design team typically creates a Bluebeam session to promote multidisciplinary collaboration in real time.  This has proven particularly helpful as it speeds the coordination process.  Some of these sessions can become very cluttered with notes and comments, so it is important to update these sessions with clean drawings periodically.
How will the design team collaborate on BIM model updates?
As drawings evolve, it is critical for the medical equipment planner to send and receive plan updates frequently.  At the BIM kick-off meeting, the project team should determine when and how often design changes/model updates will be shared.  There are several methods to accomplish this, either by direct transfer of a detached Revit model or by collaborative software such as BIM 360.
What are the documentation standards for this project?

Title Blocks – Title blocks are sometimes defined by the architect, and other times are specific to each consultant within the design team.
Dedicated Reference Views – Sometimes there are dedicated reference views that consultants must link into their model; other times there are not.
Project Deliverables – The project deliverables for a BIM equipment placement role can vary from print-ready PDF sheets to a raw Revit model that the architect pulls into their document set.

Most of the questions covered in this post can be addressed in a well detailed BIM Execution Plan.  This plan should be agreed upon during a BIM Kick-Off Meeting at the beginning of a healthcare design project.  Please contact us to learn more about our equipment planning and BIM equipment placement services.

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