Redstone Report: 3D imaging allows clients to see possibilities

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Throughout history, the Army Corps of Engineers has gone through some changes. Those changes have translated through technology and influenced the way the world works, and the way it's designed. That's where building information modeling, or BIM, comes in.

Jelani Ingram, the lead architect for the Corps medical space program, described BIM as, " a new way that engineers and architects are producing construction documents and designs."

The old way of doing things was though 2D technology, which made it difficult to imagine the outcome of an empty room. 2D imaging requires a person to visualize what's going to go in a space. That can be hard to do because it relies on a person ability to imagine and account for the functionality of the room before it's even built. But now with the upgrade to 3D imaging, clients get a better picture of the potential outcome.

BIM technology is used in a variety of settings, including VA hospitals. It can help to create areas like operating rooms, which typically require a unique set-up. Doctors or nurses who would use the room sit in on the design meeting to weigh in, since they'll be the one working on the final design and know certain things that need to be taken into account.

Stephanie Woods works with the BIM program at the Army Corps of Engineers. She described a recent meeting in which a client was able to identify a problem with the plan by viewing the room in 3D.

"There was actually a patient lift that conflicted with some lighting and some ceiling equipment. We were able to identify that so we could go ahead and coordinate all that," she said.

All this can be done in real time, which means the BIM team can makes changes before building ever begins and mistakes are ever made.

"That's a decrease in the amount of time, an increase in savings for the government, which is great," Ingram explained.

The next step for the BIM program is a road trip. Members of the team plan to visit medical seminars and symposiums across the country to reach out to experts in that field to gather information that will help them to better serve their clients.

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