3 Roles of BIM in Prefabrication

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A few years ago, Autodesk highlighted a New England-based mechanical construction company that is recognized as a leader in quality prefabrication and modular construction technology. The company continues to grow by leveraging innovation and serving as a leader in prefab and modular in the construction industry.

The customer story emphasized that other forward-thinking mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) companies can do the same, and implementing or fine-tuning a building information modeling (BIM) process is a strategic step.

Prefab modular skid; image: Autodesk.com

Training with Applied Software can improve your BIM and MEP fabrication workflows across different levels of learning, from essentials and fundamentals to intermediate and advanced. As an alternative to existing classes, a specialized curriculum can be developed to meet your individual training requirements.


The three roles of BIM in prefabrication include:

  1. Better collaboration

Model coordination software makes it easier to avoid problems by enabling you to efficiently collaborate in 3D on constructability reviews. Using construction management software is steps up your game for streamlining supply chain activities. Digital software tools like Autodesk Navisworks and Autodesk BIM 360 help with collaboration among multiple disciplines – owners, designers, contractors, and fabricators alike. Cutting edge digital tools are key in the process. The ideal scenario is when project design proceeds with fabrication in mind. In the case of prefab, the goal is for a prefab modular skid to be installed as a unit.

Navisworks can be used during the preconstruction process to visualize the project’s scope and work out the design logistics. Then BIM 360 can be used for 3D model coordination to streamline constructability reviews and onsite installation. The fabrication shop can use Navisworks to run detailed clash detections.


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  1. Time and money savings

Using prefab skids requires less onsite installation time. Fewer deliveries are needed, and materials don’t need to be handled as many times. In addition, materials are easier to keep track of in a controlled fabrication environment. By choosing to prefab mechanical systems inhouse, companies can achieve significant savings for their customers and themselves. Modular mechanical assemblies can be prefabricated in the shop, delivered to the project site and installed as a single unit. This saves time otherwise spent using heavy equipment to hoist in all the components, then tying them together onsite.

  1. Safety and comfort

Building a prefab modular skid in a fabrication shop where the climate is controlled increases the safety, reduces risk and removes trade workers from weather-related discomforts. A prefab skid can reduce waste and onsite installation time. It also reduces the amount of space needed for installation of mechanical systems.

The results of using BIM in prefabrication include time savings, materials savings, better jobsite safety, increased value and better profit margins. Staff members can work closely with designers and builders to introduce new ideas for the company’s projects.


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