Architect magazine has published an in-depth story on the Centre Hospitalier de l’Universite de Montreal (CHUM) and the innovative technologies and processes helping to make the healthcare facility a reality: Tackling North America’s Largest Healthcare Project in Seven Steps. Designed by CannonDesign and NEUF Architect(e)s, the CHUM occupies two full blocks in the heart of downtown Montreal and is born from the merger of three hospitals. CHUM replaces these outdated facilities and brings these entities together in a single-site institution. The anchor of Montreal’s new health district, the development will seamlessly combine teaching, research, and healthcare and solidify Montreal’s standing as a health and science hub of excellence.
The CHUM is remarkably massive in scale (3,597,000 sf across three towers, each 21 stories tall) and executing the project required our team to redefine its approach to BIM, project workflow and delivery, staffing and more. In many instances, our efforts with the CHUM helped evolve and advance key technologies across the design industry. The full story can be read online and below are key excerpts related to the seven steps.
- Upend the project RFP
CHUM’s original RFP called for 55 percent of the program to be built in a series of mid-rise buildings in phase one. CannonDesign and NEUF quickly recognized an opportunity for improvement and proposed a high-rise solution that would build 85% of the program up front, incurring more costs earlier in the project and reducing the risk of significant escalation.
- Get everyone on the same page, in the same office
Nearly 180 architects across 15 offices worldwide have worked on CHUM. To ensure consistency, the team set strict protocols. “It wasn’t going to be enough to just design the building,” said Christine Cavataio, AIA, senior project manager for CHUM. “We needed to design the workflow as well.” In late 2011, CannonDesign and NEUF hosted a project delivery meeting, which included each firm’s quality control and BIM leaders and the project’s BIM consultant, Boston-based CDV systems, to establish a roadmap for the design and documentation process. These protocols applied to both routine and BIM-specific tasks, from email correspondence and transmittals to building equipment content and reference details in the Revit model.
- Treat BIM like a centralized database
Healthcare projects deal in repetition, with corridor after corridor of identical patient and exam rooms, surgical suites, and offices. The design team leveraged technology to automate the repetitive aspects of the project and to facilitate collaboration and coordination. Though the client required the designers to use Autodesk Revit, CannonDesign and NEUF took a data-focused approach that maximized the value of the BIM data, rather than thinking only in terms of 2D drawings and schedules. For this to work, team members had to input the data with extreme precision. For example, room names had to be standardized across the project: Naming exam rooms “EX. RM.” in some instances and “EXAM ROOM” in others could be disastrous, messing up search results in the BIM model as well as batch design updates.