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. 


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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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