Chirag Mistry has been at HOK for eight years and is one of our leading Building Information Modeling (BIM) experts, focusing primarily on lab and research facility design and development in HOK’s Science + Technology practice. In addition to working on projects for clients, he spends a lot of his time developing HOK’s overall BIM standards for his practice group.
So often you see the end product of sleek renderings that adapt in seconds even to the most complex program changes. But what you probably don’t know is how all this comes to be. In this interview, Chirag shares the inside scoop on BIM and how it is changing the design and documentation process for lab and research facilities.
Q. What do you think is the biggest advantage for project teams designing lab and research facilities using BIM?
A. BIM transforms how teams work together, communicate with each other and ultimately, build better projects that are more cost effective and faster to deliver. Lab projects inherently have highly complex building systems and BIM provides the project teams with a high degree of analysis of these systems and ability to resolve constructability issues in a virtual environment. This reduces contractor assumptions and uncertainty and leads to a better end product (building) for the client.
Q. How does HOK Science + Technology use BIM? Do you think it is different than industry standard?
A. We at HOK S+T create model and linked databases that are much more content rich than a simple Revit application model. Our models serve as a complete repository of project information which is integrated right from early programming using brown sheets, 3D room data sheets, program validation, block and stack and client equipment/asset tracking, into design and documentation to construction and facility management.
We also look at using the graphical and non-graphical information from our models in unique ways to communicate with key stakeholders which is often individual faculty or principle investigator for S+T projects. This helps them make informed decisions about their space and avoids potential surprises and changes during building occupancy.
I do think that we are unique, both in how we use BIM, but also in how we train our employees and develop firmwide standards – which is not always easy across a firm as big as HOK with as many offices and different practice groups as we have.
Q. What are your most favorite and most challenging parts about your role as a BIM expert?
A. The most challenging is also my most favorite. Working with teams on world class projects across multiple offices is a complex undertaking, but it yields great results for clients. BIM makes it possible to collaborate in this way like never before.
Q. What do you think is the next frontier for BIM?
A. I believe that all the major design firms and contractors have adopted BIM successfully and it has become a part of how we do business today. But for the owners, BIM is still in a transition phase and that’s where the real potential or the next frontier is. Once the owners are able to fully adopt BIM into their facility management tools and start mining this data, they will see tremendous benefits that could be realized over the life of the building. Design and construction are only a fraction of costs spend on the building. Statistics say that approximately 95% of cost occurs after the building is built. BIM will provide owners access to real-time asset information which is key in maintaining and making smart decisions with those assets.
Learn more about how BIM can expedite a project, and Chirag’s tips on how to implement it successfully, in this article on the Emory University’s new Psychology and Interdisciplinary Sciences (PAIS) Building in Tradeline.