BIM Helping to Set Building Standards for Tornado Readiness

The benefits of Building Information Modeling, or BIM, were recently put on display at the new Mercy Hospital Joplin in Joplin, Missouri. In 2011, an EF-5 tornado destroyed the hospital formerly known as St. John’s Mercy Regional Medical Center. It was the deadliest tornado in the U.S. since 1947, when Woodward, Oklahoma, was hit with a storm that produced six tornadoes that stretched more than 220 miles, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

A group of construction managers had assessed the overall damage from the tornado and aimed to rebuild St. John’s by early 2015. Not only did they complete the assignment under budget, but did so in less than half the time needed for similar facilities with the help of BIM. To move quickly with the assignment, the developers utilized BIM software to avoid potential problems down the road. This process allowed the team to accelerate construction by tackling smaller projects, such as building headwalls and restroom walls, before the facility was finished and installed them afterward.

Now open, the new $465 million facility, with 205 private rooms for patients, sets the standard for tornado readiness at hospitals. Mercy Hospital clocks in at 890,000 square feet and includes a nine-story patient tower and five-story clinical tower complete with surgical wings, critical care units, neonatal intensive care and rehabilitation centers.

Mercy’s first admitted patient was a pregnant mother. She had twins within the hour.

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