How Building Information Modeling Saved One University $10 Million


In most architectural projects, budgets far exceed projections. The eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge notoriously cost $5 billion more than projected and a new transit hub near the World Trade Center in New York is similarly billions over budget. Those are just two high-profile scenarios. While the sources of cost overruns vary from project to project, technology can help alleviate some of the causes. In the case of the recently completed Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) in Portland, Oregon, Building Information Modeling (BIM) software and digital collaboration tools saved an astounding $10 million in construction costs on the overall $295 million budget. The deft use of these programs helped the design nab an honorable mention in the AIA TAP (Technology in Architectural Practice) Innovation Awards.

The 650,000-square-foot CLSB is a joint project of the Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon State University, and Portland State University. The three institutions banded together to house their life sciences programs under one roof to give students and researchers more opportunities for collaboration. Located on OHSU’s new Schnitzer Campus, in Portland’s South Waterfront District, the building consists of classrooms, lecture halls, research laboratories, retail, and parking. CO Architects served as the project’s design architect and SERA served as executive architects.

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