At a recent presentation to Bethesda, Md.-based National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), Janice Burse, coordination manager at Dynalectric, Dulles, Va., reviewed the current state of Building Information Modeling (BIM) for the electrical industry, where she covered the working definition of BIM and its limitations.

“Electrical contractors are utilizing the “B”[building] and the “M”[modeling] aspects of BIM, but need databases to be built to fully realize the “I” or information,” says Burse.

Currently, the databases include broad aspects of electrical work, such as lighting and junctions, but do not include specific pieces of conduit, making it impossible for electrical contractors to go beyond 3-D modeling. Software vendors are working to improve functionality of the BIM software for the industry, but haven’t given a specific timeline for completion.

Meanwhile, NECA contractors like Dynalectric are working with what they have to meet requirements. Dynalectric produces 3-D models for all projects over 2-in. conduit and is training its staff on the latest software platforms so that they can read the latest documents.

Washington, D.C., is a hotspot for BIM. The federal government is a strong proponent of BIM because it is a more efficient way to manage projects. The GSA and Army Corps of Engineers are at the forefront of the technology and require contactors meet their specific standards.

“Electrical contractors are ready to fully embrace BIM, but the software has not yet caught up with our trade’s needs as it has for other trades,” says Andrew Porter, executive director of the Washington, D.C., Chapter of NECA.

Source: Frost & Sullivan