We explained how BIM has become the new standard for building design software in previous blogs. Buildings of all types have structural, mechanical and electrical systems to achieve various goals. Most of these systems are unnoticeable when concealed behind mechanical room walls and ceilings in office buildings or schools.

Industrial buildings may specifically focus on process systems and equipment. The equipment and systems that shape industrial buildings can be incorporated with “BIM” or building information modeling. This blog introduces an industry specific question:

How do engineers use BIM to design industrial projects?

BIM is commonly used to design building systems for new construction and renovation projects. Allegheny Design Services commonly utilizes Autodesk Revit to create building information models, drawings and schedules of building systems. This design approach also applies to process equipment designs of industrial facilities.


Building design concepts can be modeled and communicated directly to the building owner or facility engineer. For example, a facility engineer may need a process valve schedule and drawings that match up to valve tags installed in the field. The facility engineer can find value in a BIM design where valves are modeled, installed and tagged, according to their facility standards.

Another industrial BIM application example might include a central equipment plant upgrade. Piping and ductwork may need reconfigured within a defined renovation area and connect into building infrastructure. Modular equipment may be practical for ease of installation within a renovated area. New construction projects and additions may allow for the equipment assemblies to be set in a one piece skid and fabricated off site before the building is enclosed around it. There are countless design scenarios each with a unique practical solution.

Building design systems have multiple facets that can be coordinated with process equipment requirements.

Below is a sample 3d cross section of a coordinated model including boilers, clearances, ductwork, piping and steel. The added level of detail BIM provides the owner, design team and contractor with clear design concepts prior to starting construction.


Here is an interesting fact about BIM collaboration.

Building Information Model collaboration is not exclusive to Autodesk Revit and may be exported for viewing in other software. Much of the “BIM data” can’t be exported; however, the resulting model is generally referred to as a “block.” The building owner or maintenance staff can view BIM models even without a working knowledge of BIM software or Revit. Facility engineers may continue using software they are familiar with, such as AutoCAD or Autodesk Inventor and still collaborate with consulting engineers that design with Autodesk Revit.

Allegheny Design Services is committed to help provide practical solutions to address client needs.

The collaboration effort between building system designs and process equipment requirements is important for a successful construction project or facility upgrade.

We look forward to discuss potential projects with your facility staff and discuss possibilities for building information modeling applications for your next construction project.

Please click here to see examples of our recent MEP projects.

Thanks for reading,


Written by David Cotton, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Senior Mechanical Engineer

david-cottonDavid is a resident of Morgantown, W.Va. He graduated from the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and later obtained professional engineering licensure in the State of West Virginia. He is an active member of ASHRAE West Virginia Chapter, NFPA AEBO Section and USGBC West Virginia Section. He has experience with design and construction administration of MEP building systems for commercial, educational and industrial building projects. Additional experience includes LEED project administration, building systems commissioning and Revit building information modeling (BIM).

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