BIM Saves Portland, Ore., Science Facility $10 Million

Building information modeling (BIM) software and digital collaboration tools saved approximately $10 million out of a $295 million budget on the recently completed Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) in Portland, Ore.


The CLSB is a 12-story complex with 500,000 square feet of space for classrooms, lecture halls and laboratories. It was built to house the life sciences programs of Oregon State University, Portland State University and the Oregon Health & Science University. These universities wanted a way to reduce the costs associated with building three separate facilities, and they wanted to facilitate and encourage student collaboration between the three universities.


Using BIM software on the CLSB project enabled the architects to design and build in 3-D, provide a 3-D model with layers of information about the individual elements that composed the structure, and provide information on how they would work together.


While most large-scale architectural projects involve some use of BIM, its use on the CLSB project was comprehensive. The design and construction teams, as well as the subcontractors, used BIM.


In one instance, BIM helped to resolve potentially costly construction conflicts that involved the positioning of plumbing, electrical and ventilation systems. Separate teams were tasked with designing each network. Subsequently, using the 3-D model, the teams discovered that a pipe would intersect with a vent. With this information in hand, the teams were able to work together to change the design prior to the start of construction.


Oregon Electric Group, Portland, Ore., was the electrical contractor for the CLSB project.


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