Blog / BIM & Construction Management

BIM for Plant Design; Any Room for Application? PART 1

PART 1  PART 2 Plant Design Solutions Position towards Building Information Modelling (BIM) Revolution   I have been approached by several mechanical construction professionals seeking for an answer to the question “Does BIM Apply to Plants / Heavy Mechanical Projects Design and Construction?” The minute I wanted to answer this question I stopped wondering why many people are asking this question; actually I was confused about the question although I have the answer. Later in this article and the following ones I will explain to you the reason for my confusion and my answer for the question.   Plant Design Solutions: The revolution of 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) Plant design solutions and methodologies started in 1960’s based on initiatives and researches that started with the maturity of computers, digital computation and mainframes. CAD leaders back then were motivated by the obvious financial factors around heavy, energy related mechanical projects, which were developing very fast and aggressive forming an essential factor in countries’ development and economy growth. Since then many 3D Plant design solutions have emerged in the market and still more are emerging. To name few of them,  AutoPLANT/Open Plant developed by BENTLEY Systems, PDS- Plant design software developed by INTERGRAPH CORPORATION, Smart® 3D – by INTERGRAPH CORPORATION, PDMS – Plant design & Management software developed by AVEVA PLANT. Is BIM a process that serves Building Construction only? Technology experts have been promoting BIM technology as a modern method for delivering building projects. Big portion of the mega projects worldwide are of infrastructure and mechanical nature; industry stakeholders give high value to infrastructure development due to many factors such as magnitude, criticality, effectiveness, publicity, the involvement and interaction of all sectors in receiving benefits and consequences for the success or failure of such projects. These kinds of projects affect our day to day life since they influence radically local, regional development, society’s growth and comfort. Projects such as power and energy plants, sewage treatment plants, desalinations plants, etc are very essential for ensuring sustainable and healthy environments for human beings. Definitely everyone reading this article would arrive to the conclusion that mechanical projects are as important as building projects if not more important. The question is why BIM experts are focusing on Buildings? Can the BIM technology be used for Mechanical construction? Will the BIM process be capable of integrating and accommodating the mechanical construction industry requirements and workflows among its workflows? Why the BIM industry experts are avoiding addressing these issues in their marketing materials, publications, presentations, white papers and researches? What is our stand as CCC/CCC BIM centers, being a leader in construction as well as a leader in BIM technology and its practical implementation in civil construction, towards the above. The second part of this article will reveal more about this topic and will answer and share with the readers some interesting ideas and thoughts about “Plant Design Solutions Position towards Building Information Modelling (BIM) Revolution”.  

Issam El-Absi

Director of the Global BIM Management for Infrastructure Projects Certification Program. CCC Manager IS-Automation and Engineering Project BIM Manager.