Walsh Canada: The Numerous Benefits of using BIM in Construction Coordination

May 11, 2016

An Interview with Jason Graham of Walsh Canada:


About Jason: As leader of the Construction Technology program for Walsh Canada, Jason has continuously progressed the application of BIM in construction to establish Walsh as industry leaders in Canada. On the Women’s College Hospital (WCH) project Jason has used the model from 3D coordination to a 6D facility and asset management tool. With the hospital being located on a busy campus, Jason leveraged the model to identify safety and access/ egress issues that optimized Walsh’s logistics plan.  Jason is also committed to demonstrating the benefits of BIM to industry peers through his involvement with George Brown College BIM Lab, as well as being a member of the Canadian BIM Council (CanBIM).


BIM Experience

Jason has extensive experience in the field of Virtual Design and Construction using 3D modelling and coordination for over 18 years within multiple industries. Jason’s depth of knowledge has established him as a respected subject matter expert amongst his peers, while also supporting Walsh’s position as an industry leader in BIM, by translating its success in the U.S. to its Canadian operations. In his 5 years at Walsh Canada, Jason has managed its BIM division on all major Walsh Canada projects, as well as the design phase on numerous design-build RFP phases.

CanBIM recently got the opportunity to speak with Jason about how Walsh Canada is applying BIM to their projects.


Women's College Hospital Project


CanBIM: Can you tell us a little bit about the BIM division at Walsh Canada and your role there?


Jason: The Walsh Group has been using BIM in its U.S. operations for almost 20 years. Shortly after being awarded its first Canadian project, the Women’s College Hospital Redevelopment project in 2010, I was hired on as the BIM Manager for the project. Since that time I have led the development of Walsh Canada’s BIM division where I oversee the BIM operations for all of our Canadian projects. I still maintain a hands-on role in building our models while exploring new innovations and best practices that enhance our BIM delivery and add value for Walsh and our project partners.


Organizationally, the Walsh Group has designated BIM as a core methodology and we have a great culture of collaboration across our BIM division where we maintain regular contact to review and discuss the advances we are making in its application. This collaboration was formalized with the establishment of our Construction Technology Forum last year, which brings together construction technology leaders from the Walsh Group as an emerging technology think tank, advisory board, and beta test group.


We are currently using BIM on all of our major projects in Canada, whether or not it is mandated by the project specifications. We commonly will take 2D CAD drawings and build the model from there. Currently we are using BIM at Women’s College Hospital (Completed in March, 2016), Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant, TTC Pioneer Village Subway Station, Credit Valley Hospital, Humber Treatment Plant, as well as two recently awarded design-build projects: Etobicoke General Hospital and the Enterprise Data Centre at Canadian Forces Base Borden. Our application of BIM on these projects varies according to the profile of the project. We are currently applying BIM in 3D for Coordination, clash detection, site logistics planning, site safety analyses, MEP spooling drawings, 4D scheduling, 5D estimating and cost management/control, as well as 6D building data and asset management.



 Women's College Hospital Project


CanBIM: In what ways has Walsh utilized BIM its construction projects?


Jason: Walsh is committed to being an industry leader in Construction Technology. We utilize BIM tools to manage the entire construction process. Walsh’s main focus when it comes to utilizing BIM is coordination and design validation; this is key to resolving all coordination and design challenges within the project before the construction process starts on site. Construction sites are going to have challenges, there is no way around that, but we limit and mitigate those challenges by managing them within the virtual construction process. Walsh also utilizes the tools during different parts of the project lifecycle to enhance our ability to estimate, construct and close-out projects. There is even greater value for our clients at the end of the project as we can now assemble all of the project information into the model that serves as a single source of data they can use to operate and maintain their asset over its lifecycle.


CanBIM: How have you innovatively utilized BIM on projects at Walsh, and can you give us an example?


Jason: The most innovative way Walsh utilizes BIM on projects is that we use BIM and the information that it provides to manage all aspect of a project. A lot of people say they utilize BIM, but I find that it’s just the industry standard to say they use BIM as a tool. An example would be Women’s College Hospital, a 5 year two-phased P3 project (Design-Build-Finance-Maintain) that was just completed in March, 2016. The designers and the trades all used BIM to come together and work out all the typical challenges a hospital project is faced with from design, spatial restriction, MEP, install, safety and over all coordination of items fitting into the building. These challenges were resolved within the BIM model before construction on site.


CanBIM: Since you see the benefits of using BIM for the coordination of construction projects, would you say interoperability of software is important?


Jason: I would say that interoperability is very important when it comes to coordination. We use Navisworks for the majority of projects when it comes to coordination so any 3D model file that can be converted to an .NWC and utilized in the model works for Walsh.


 Women's College Hospital Project



What is the BIM coordination process like when it comes to the actual, on-site construction of the building?