Building Information Modeling: Damage Control

By April 16, 2012blog
CV-60 damage control plate courtesy of Historic Naval Ships Association (HSNA)

Part of teaching my Intro to BIM course at NYU involves consideration of factors leading to adoption of digital modeling, and I recently found a stunning example of analog drawings pushed to the limit of legibility: the damage control plates for the USS Saratoga CV-60.

CV-60 damage control plate courtesy of Historic Naval Ships Association (HSNA)CV-60 damage control plate courtesy of Historic Naval Ships Association (HSNA)
(click image to enlarge)

These drawings represent every compartment on the ship in an isometric view, and in this case have overlaid the emergency systems in a dense weave of red, blue and green lines to represent where these critical pieces pass through the ship, how they are connected to each room, and to serve as a diagnostic tool to repair damage and restore functionality.

Buildings generally don’t have to worry about sinking, but they can share a similar level systemic complexity, and as these magnificent drawings illustrate, simply representing this information from a fixed point of view is challenging.

Add in room by room diagnostic & analysis demands (say, for boyancy in the case of a damaged ship, or tenant comfort in the case of a building) combined with the requirement that the drawings be kept current over decades of service, and the case is made for a computer-based model that allows examination from any point of view, runs simulations based on real-world conditions, and broadcasts information updates to the entire data set automatically.

Whether it is in our best interests to have our works of architecture become as complex and expensive as aircraft carriers is another question entirely…

USS Saratoga CV-60 detail showing the overwhelming density of information, courtesy of HNSADetail showing the overwhelming density of information, courtesy of HNSA
(click image to enlarge)