Selected Highlights of the Labs21 2010 Annual Conference


Building Information Modeling For Laboratories: From Concept to Facility Management

Kevin Brettmann, JE Dunn Construction Company


Our article will discuss the use of building information modeling (BIM) on a 336,000-square-foot academic research building, starting with process interaction and use of a model during concept design through construction documents, shop drawings, fabrication, construction completion, and the opportunities for model use in facility management and building maintenance and operation. We will cover four major topics:

  • Opportunities in the design phase
  • Opportunities in the construction phase
  • BIM for laboratories
  • Opportunities in facility management

We will also address lessons learned from two sustainable (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Commercial Interiors [LEED®-CI] Gold and LEED Gold) laboratory projects, and we provide detailed information about the collaboration achieved between the owners, designers, contractors, and subcontractors, and what the future might hold for the facility managers on these projects.

Figure 1

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) clearance/VAV/No Fly Zones BIM Coordination

Specific examples will include the use of BIM for site logistics; pre-construction estimating; working drawings for concrete structures; 4D scheduling; mechanical, electric, and plumbing (MEP) coordination; layout integration; quality assurance modeling; and laser scanning. Laboratory examples discussed will include nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) clearance and access issues, laboratory overhead coordination for overhead service carrier supports and phoenix valves, laboratory casework coordination and clearance, user group virtual walkthroughs, sterilizer utility coordination, and vivarium cage and rack washer utility coordination.

A case study of exterior wall mock ups and coordination for a laboratory project will be illustrated.

Figure 2

BIM for laboratories coordinating equipment clearances and user group virtual walkthroughs

This article reflects the following aspects of the Labs21 approach: using BIM for energy efficient design and coordination, minimizing environmental impacts, LEED certification and facility management, and energy efficiency. BIM for energy modeling will be discussed along with the utilization of 3D laser scans for accurate generation of as-built information and the future opportunities to extend model information to the owner for facility management and maintenance.


Kevin Brettmann, for the past 28 years, has been involved in the planning, cost estimating, construction, commissioning, and qualification of life sciences, research, and biotechnology facilities. He is the director of the science and technology division for JE Dunn Construction. Mr. Brettmann has worked with companies and institutions such as Amgen, Inc., the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the University of Colorado, Boehringer Ingelheim, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Midwest Research Institute, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the University of Kansas, and the University of Texas Health Science Center. Project types include biosafety level (BSL)-3 and BSL-4 suites, cGMP manufacturing, vivarium construction, and chemistry and biology laboratories. He is the author of "CM Partnering Agreements Improve Value & Quality," which appeared in R&D Magazine's 2005 Lab Design Handbook, has been published in Pharmaceutical Engineering, and was conference leader for the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers' (ISPE) Research Facilities: Latest Trends Conference held on February 23–24, 2006, in Tampa, Florida. Mr. Brettmann is a member of ISPE and a past member of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association.