icon Mechanical: 25 Year Anniversary - Page 8

BIM Us Up, icon

icon was an early adopter of the drawing automation process known as Building Information Modeling, or BIM.

The necessary software was a hefty investment, but matched Bieg’s philosophy for pioneering new industry technology. Plus, the new software served as a perfect complement to the company’s prefabrication approach.

Schaeffer said he believes the use of BIM technology for prefabrication represents one of icon’s most innovative and strategic actions. He said prefab and modularization have grown in popularity throughout the industry, but icon is on an entirely different playing field when it comes to their capacity to BIM prefab.

The technology allows icon to build a model of the project, including all equipment, systems, and system components, and then prefabricate the project parts from that modeling prior to having boots on the job site.

This means on-site installers are sent the exact components they need along with a systematic and accurate process for installation.

“In the old days, installers would just receive parts and pieces in the field and then they’d get together to decide what goes where and who does what, when,” Schaeffer said. “If they got the process wrong, or someone went out of turn, there’d be a conflict and that resulted in a lot of projects being over-schedule and over-budget.”

Schaeffer said using BIM for modeling and prefabricating requires a lot of time and attention to detail, adding that the components have to be right so they fit correctly once they arrive on site. There’s no margin for error.

The modeling also enables icon to identify placements of such critical components as hangers, enabling those to be installed prior to the concrete pour, generating even greater efficiencies.

Schaeffer said that when the process was first implemented on a large project several years ago, there was some nervous energy when the install actually began. The icon team was confident but they also knew the approach had not been validated at that scale.

“There was a lot at stake. We knew if it didn’t work, we stood to lose a lot on that project,”

Schaeffer said. “But it did work and it

worked very well. At that point,

we were confident in our capacity

to expand this approach on a

large scale."

It's this type of approach that

has exemplified icon's pioneering

spirit throughout its history.

The technology ensures on-site installers are sent the exact

components they need along with an accurate and systematic

process for installation.

Investing in new technology remains a key strategy for icon Mechanical.