HARRISBURG, PA. — Gannett Fleming Inc., Red Lion Municipal Authority engineering consultant, used 3-D Building Information Modeling (BIM) as a collaborative tool during plant design of the Authority’s new water treatment plant, one of the first in the United States designed using BIM.

“With BIM, it was much easier to view all of the rooms and equipment within the building,” said Keith Kahwajy, manager/superintendent for Red Lion Municipal Authority.

Red Lion plans to construct a new plant with a capacity of 4 million gallons per day (mgd), expandable to 6 mgd, to deliver optimal water quality to its customers. BIM enabled project stakeholders to see the facility constructed through a 3-D computer model before shovels hit the dirt. The 3-D computer model improves cost estimates, provides more accurate construction bids, and results in fewer change orders, helping to keep Red Lion water customer rates low. A more efficient engineering process, BIM did not cost Red Lion more than a traditional design drawing approach. It also provides a great visual tool for Red Lion to share information about its water treatment process with the public.

Although the terms BIM and 3-D model are sometimes used interchangeably, BIM is more than a 3-D model. BIM incorporates data and intelligent design tools into a 3-D model. The BIM process completes all design work on this common model, where it stores information, such as model numbers, motor horsepower, power requirements, and connection requirements.

BIM also eliminates coordination problems during construction. It can be used for construction sequencing and can be linked to operation and maintenance software used by water treatment plant operators when construction is complete. BIM provides a powerful method of design communication to support Red Lion’s ultimate goal of reliably providing high-quality drinking water.

The authority supplies drinking water to customers in several York County, Pa., municipalities including Red Lion Borough; portions of Chanceford Township, Windsor Township, and York Township; the Windsor Borough Authority; and the Dallastown-Yoe Water Authority. Focused on providing customers with a safe and reliable drinking water supply, Red Lion is making significant improvements to its treatment plant to maintain the top-notch service that customers expect and to comply with regulations.

Red Lion water treatment plant construction is scheduled to begin this summer. The new water treatment plant BIM video is available at www.youtube.com/user/GannettFleming.