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Hospital Uses 3-D Animation to Keep Project on Time and on Budget


CHICAGO – Children’s Memorial Hospital is building a new hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, and is using an innovative technology to hold costs down and ensure that the project is ready for a summer 2012 move.

The hospital’s construction managers, architects and engineers are using Building Information Modeling (BIM), which creates a virtual 3-D model of the hospital, to identify and address potential design and construction issues well before they impact the schedule and budget. For example, BIM helps the hospital ensure that they are routing piping, ductwork and conduit properly before any of this work actually happens inside the building. This technology is also enhancing the energy efficiency of the building in several ways, including the enabling of thermal modeling, which provides a virtual comparison of potential heat loss based on which materials are selected for the building’s enclosure.

Mortenson Construction, who came together in a joint venture with Power Construction to manage Lurie Children’s construction project, is a national leader in the development and implementation of BIM. Although it is often used on commercial construction projects, utilizing BIM technology to this extent for a hospital project of this magnitude is groundbreaking.  

“BIM helps us coordinate and schedule 50+ subcontractors’ work inside the building, and has greatly helped this fast-track, 23-story, $1 billion project to remain on time and on budget, explains Robert Nartonis, senior vice president for Mortenson Construction. “It saves money because it avoids site delays and change orders common to a project of this size and scope.”

BIM will continue to reduce costs by providing a “digital blueprint” of the hospital and its complex systems. Anytime a remodeling or renovation project needs to take place post-construction, hospital officials will use the BIM model to visualize the space, review possibilities and schedule the necessary work before construction begins.

“The benefits of BIM on this project are likely to make it the new industry standard for complicated hospital projects around the country,” says Bruce Komiske, chief of new hospital design and construction for Children’s Memorial Hospital, who has overseen several new children’s hospital projects around the world.

Click the link below to see a 30-second demonstration of how 3-D animation is used to plan for construction of an operating room: (animation begins with infrastructure about ceiling and ends with medical equipment installation)

Quick facts about Children’s Memorial’s new hospital:

  • Name: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, in recognition of Ann Lurie’s $100 million gift (second and subsequent reference is Lurie Children’s)
  • Location: 225 E. Chicago Ave., on campus of academic partner, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Timetable: Opens in Summer 2012
  • Size: 23 stories; 288 licensed beds with capacity to grow to 313

For more information, visit