The Advantages of Using BIM for Hanger and Pipe Sleeve Location

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a 3-D based process for the planning, design, construction and management of buildings using one coherent system of computer models rather than separate sets of drawings. The following is a real-world case study showing the advantages of using BIM on a new building project at a local college:

With a very aggressive schedule for a project, taking BIM to the next level can be an invaluable asset. With the help of an approved coordination plan in the form of a 3D AutoCAD® model, identification of pipe hanger and pipe sleeve locations for three floors of a four-story building was accomplished quickly. 

The process began by inserting generic hanger blocks (shown in red) into the 3D model with a minimum 8-foot spacing to support HVAC piping and drain lines. 

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With the help of Autodesk’s Navisworks® software, a clear picture of walls and beams to avoid is revealed.

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Approximately 800 hangers and pipe sleeves were located among three floors in the CAD model in a relatively short while.

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All hangers and sleeves were then copied to a separate CAD file and sent to a subcontractor who specializes in the Total Station laser measurement technology.

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From the CAD file the 3D coordinates of each of the hangers and sleeves were isolated, and then exported to a spreadsheet. This allowed for the labeling of each point with a number from the spreadsheet to the CAD drawing used by the field crew onsite.

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Once onsite, the measurement specialists used a Total Station, hooked up to a laptop computer to shoot a laser dot for each of the 800 points we needed to locate.

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Once the points were established, field crews were able to drill through the floor sheet metal forms and install Bang-ItTM concrete inserts for the hanger threaded rod as well as pipe sleeves before the floors were poured.  This proved to be a great time-saver, eliminating the need for coring and drilling by the field crew.

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