consider each option, and because these discussions occurred early in the overall project design, the impacts to schedule and project budget were minimized. The design coordination made it possible to main- tain a wide open, clean appearance integrated with a large curtain wall that contributes ample natural light. The final result was a set of HVAC and lighting systems that keeps occupants comfortable with optimized temperature control and ideal lighting levels. Since communication among the design team members, the Owner, and the General Contractor is paramount, it is fortunate that designers are well into the age utilizing building information modeling (BIM) software and other digital tools to support collaboration among the entire project team. The use of first- person, three-dimensional walkthroughs which allow the viewer to see themselves in the space. Static renderings, and even virtual reality tours of buildings in other locations can help bridge the gap between ideas and reality. Modeling can also be used to more closely coordinate ID and MEP systems. Dynamic images and virtual reality tours produced through these digital tools can bring concepts to life for the Owner, who may struggle to visualize outcomes in two dimensions. and the 3D per- spective views provided by BIM technology can be used to more effectively communicate design details for General Contractors. According to one of our Clients, “The digital design tools transform words and sketches into concepts that have meaning. The design tools allowed us to see what the spaces and structures would look like when the project was complete.” For professionals that do not have design or construction backgrounds, thesedigital visualization tools allow them to align their project vision and expectations.
allow simple, synchronized design decisions to make big impacts. Starting on this synchronization as early in the project as possible can make a dramatic difference in the outcomes. How it Works In the ideal scenario, collaboration on projects begins with early design charrettes and conceptual meetings between the architecture, ID, MEP, civil and structural engineering teams. It is especially im- portant to share the project’s vision and goals with the entire team as soon as possible. This allows for the early consideration of ideas that may be more difficult to incorporate later in the process after de- sign decisions have already been made. Nurturing and aligning these design concepts from the start can mitigate any potential changes Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders - Concealed MEP systems give this space clean lines and a feeling of openness.
in trajectory that would be required if the project alignment had to later shift direction in ways that alter existing design elements. Once design concepts are established, fre- quent meetings between the ID and MEP teams during the development of contract documents creates opportunities to explore ideas together. This allows both teams to regularly come to the table with options and realistic expectations within the specific performance requirements, project budget, and Owner’s expectations. An example of this process in action was the coordination between the O’Connell Robertson ID and MEP teams during Belton ISD’s Lake Belton High School project in Temple, Texas. Together, the teams re- viewed a variety of opportunities to create a large, open commons and dining area. Five different approaches were discussed regarding integration of HVAC and lighting to support the architectural and interior de- sign vision. The teams were able to carefully
Lake Belton High School - careful coordination and planning brought this open concept, massive curtain wall design to fruition.
February 2022 csengineermag.com
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