Stuttgart Cancer Center: Project Profile

What are the vital statistics of the project? (Project type, size, location, stage of design or construction, project team, etc.)

The hospital of the state capital, Stuttgart, comprises of a large number of specialist clinics and departments on its extensive grounds. Located close to the city center, the new Stuttgart Cancer Center Eva Mayr-Stihl (SCC) is currently being built at Hegelplatz, marking an important milestone in the restructuring of the city's hospital (Figure 1).

Parallel to the new building being constructed, there are other clinic buildings on the site that will continue operating throughout the construction phase. Construction noise, dust and obstructions caused by construction vehicles must therefore be kept to a minimum. Added to this is the complex technical planning required in a short timescale. In addition to a day clinic, patient and treatment rooms, the necessary offices and storage rooms, numerous special laboratories, and specially protected radiation rooms will be built in Building G by 2024.

The project team includes:

  • General Contractor: Gustav Epple
  • Design Planning up to Building Permit Phase (service phase 3): Sweco Architects
  • BIM Execution Planning and BIM coordination to service phase 5: Schmidt Plöcker Architects

What were the main software applications used for this project, and how were they used? (Please include some screenshots of the applications showing their use on the project.)

The main software used by Schmidt Plöcker Architects on this project was Allplan (Figure 2). Because we use BIM on all our projects, regardless of size, Allplan allows us to collaborate efficiently with the various specialist disciplines, including those who are not working on a model basis yet.

Allplan was used to remodel the project when we took over from Sweco Architects, as then we could ensure the necessary quality and attribution according to our own project specifications and modeling guidelines. We chose Bimplus as our central and cloud-based collaboration tool. We were able to use it for our architectural model with other platforms; for example, to edit room books. This interface allowed us to bi-directionally manage the input of the necessary properties. Solibri was used for the coordination of the specialized design and the alignment in the coordination model as well as the internal quality management (Figure 3). In addition, various tools for translating the BIM model into virtual reality and a native IFC viewer for checking IFC files were used.

Some of the applications used by other members of the design team include:

  • IFC Exchange Software: Dalux
  • Collaboration Tool: Bimplus
  • Model Viewer: Solibri

Did the project have a specific approach or methodology for the application of AEC technology?

The hospital is an OpenBIM project. This means that the central model-based exchange format is IFC.

The project partners involved met for several BIM workshops at the start of the implementation planning. Here, we determined which of the specialist consultancies work on a model basis and can be integrated into the coordination, which exchange standards apply, and which model contents should be transferred. Together with Gustav Epple, we developed a BIM execution plan (BEP).

The BIM Collaboration Format (BCF) communication format was used for the coordination and exchange of tasks, such as if a ceiling opening or a pipe routing does not fit. Problem points can be clearly located in the model using so-called “model viewpoints,” viewed, commented on, and then corrected in the specialist design phase. The Bimplus cloud-based platform was used by the integrated specialist consulting offices for the building services and the structural engineering(Figure 4). We were able to transfer further specialist design such as radiation protection or building physics into the model by entering the data ourselves.

Would you consider this project to be an example of the cutting-edge use of technology? If so, how and why?

The radiation clinic is an excellent example of how OpenBIM can help deliver complicated designs in challenging conditions in relatively short timescales. There are various construction tasks for which BIM has become indispensable. Highly technical buildings such as hospitals or special clinics benefit immensely from the digital model: complex specialist planning can be comprehensively integrated, coordinated, and design errors minimized. The designing architect's office is thus once again becoming the essential project manager in the design, planning, and construction process.

The schedule at the Stuttgart Cancer Center was tight and the planning workload high. One floor had to be completed every four weeks. But the close cooperation that the planning participants were able to demonstrate over time gave them confidence in each other. Even the subsequent coordination that arose over the course of the project did not dampen the positive mood of the executing architectural firm, the specialist consultancies, or the general planner.

We recognized another advantage of the BIM planning method on this project as a result: improved communication and a noticeable increase in openness in dealing with each other.

What are some of the main challenges you faced in your implementation of AEC technology on this project?

As with any conventional project planned without BIM, the processes are never static and identical. They developed from the results of the various BIM workshops. In the case of the new clinic building, there were concrete specifications. For example, the architect's office was given an extensive attribute list that was to be incorporated into the modeling. Together with the general contractor, it was then clarified which of the attributes would be included in the modeling with the BIM software Allplan.

Remodeling was then necessary – and often is on most projects – because the attribution was missing. For the MEP specialist consultancy, for example, it is enormously important to have an attributed overall model. This enables them to implement their specialist design throughout and for the entire building. As there were some specialists who were not using models for their designs, the weekly coordination meetings with the various design participants – in which specialist design and architectural design are reconciled ­– were fundamental.

Solibri model checking software is an important tool in our design and planning, and it was clear from the outset that every project architect should understand the model and be able to work with it. The coordination model for integrated planning was the basic foundation for this, and it was derived from the high-quality Allplan model created by the project team. We constantly developed it further and passed it on to our colleagues for greater transparency. The comparison between the structural model and the architectural model was also particularly important. The “Provision for Voids,” the openings, were cut with our model. So, before the formwork plan was finally checked, we could already point out that there were deviations. The full integration of the specialist models enabled transparent, interdisciplinary collaboration as well as communication for all parties involved (Figure 5).

Any additional information/observations/insights on the use of AEC technology for this project that you would like to share?

It would be desirable for specialist consultancies to recognize the advantages of BIM planning in follow-up projects over the next few years, and thus further advance comprehensive, integrated planning. After all, the greatest possible benefit of any BIM project is achieved when all participants consistently apply the BIM method.


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