Improving Productivity with BIM

Does this look familiar? Try to find the right drawing and the current version in this plan room! Today, a variety of outside elements can negatively influence your productivity.

By color coding the pour sequence, the foreman in the field has a simple visual tool to keep all of the trades (carpenters, iron workers) on the same page. Each of these pour sections link to detailed concrete lift drawings.

Each color represents a different sized reinforcing bar and shows how they all go together, which is especially valuable at junctions.

These drawings simplify things for the field crew, allowing them to visually understand the sequence and get the right concrete into the right places.

Showing the rebar layout in 3D allowed the contractor to discover that the congestion did not allow room to place the concrete, something that would have been impossible looking only at two-dimensional drawings.


A BIM model provides value and increased efficiency at every stage of a building’s life from conception through operation and remodeling.

Rework is difficult and very expensive. A laser scanner created a point cloud of this post-tensioned deck which allowed the contractor to check the location of all embeds and sleeves prior to concrete placement. The pointcloud also provides the owner with safe locations to penetrate the deck in the future.

All notes and questions are added to a drawing which is then reviewed by the designer who places answers and comments directly onto the same sheet. This is then used to create the field drawings and details.

Detailing the reinforcing steel for this exposed concrete X-brace would have been impossible in two dimensions. The contractor used this to position the steel and formwork prior to placing the concrete.

Drilling a hole through a post-tensioned concrete floor can be dangerous, but with a point cloud scan done before concrete placement, a safe location can be easily identified.

This interactive drawing allowed the contractor to determine the proper positioning for each mobile crane to reach all needed locations. Almost like a video game, in BIM the contractor can move the cranes and the dome of reach follows.

Another way to simplify field work is to color-code each column height.

The pour sequence for grade beams can be shown as a straight overhead plan view or as a 3D view.

All of the various sizes and parts needed for the deck pans are shown in one place. The schedule shows which parts are needed and where.

The exact length of each section of the pump boom was modeled to show where the pump could reach up and over an existing building to reach below grade on the other side, allowing pump locations to be precisely detemined prior to the start of construction.

The formwork needed for each of the various wall sections is shown on this drawing, another example of a way to improve efficiency and productivity in the field.

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