Update: Miller Electric's BIM Work on Creighton University School of Dentistry Facility Pays Off

Earlier this year, we talked about Miller Electric's work on the Creighton University School of Dentistry's new facility. We're excited to provide an update on that project and a virtual tour of the new facility!

Highlights of the New Creighton University Dental School Facility

All that Building Information Modeling (BIM) work Miller Electric performed early on helped lead to the new dental facility opening in September as part of Creighton University's Reunion Weekend events.

Highlights of the finished project, which can be seen in this video the school released, include the following:

  • 200,000 sq. ft. of teaching and clinic space overall
  • 34,000 sq. ft. adult dental clinic
  • 7,200 sq. ft. pediatric dental clinic
  • 2,900 sq. ft. simulation clinic
  • Collaborative table seating and advanced AV systems to facilitate student learning
  • Lounge for dental school alumni events

Finishing the project successfully was no small endeavor. As reported by the Omaha World Herald, the project required 25,000 hours, 8,900 pieces of steel and 1,400 tons of core support.

For our part, we also think it's worth highlighting the 1.3 million feet of electrical wire and 100,000 feet of pipe that were installed.

For a look back on our part in the project, continue reading our original post, which follows below.

Originally published in May, 2018.

A few years ago, the American Dental Association reported in a research brief that “there may be an insufficient number of dentists relative to need or demand for dental care among disadvantaged populations or in certain geographic areas.”

The Creighton University School of Dentistry is addressing that finding, not only by supplying more of the country’s best dentists, but by educating them in a “once-in-a-century” new facility, that includes not just classrooms but a crying room for emotional patients as well, as reported by the School’s Dean, Mark Latta, in a recent Omaha World-Herald article. Miller Electric Company was privileged to be part of the School’s exciting progress.

As we prepare to turn over to Creighton University the sparkling new facility, which is scheduled to open to professors and students this fall, we’re taking a look back at some aspects that made this project so special.

Creighton University School of Dentistry Project - Features & Specs

“The building is unique and impressive,” says Miller Electric Safety Director Scott Love. “When you walk through it, you can see labs for research, classrooms, training facilities and even exam rooms. It has everything, including a parking garage in the basement.”

BIM Creighton
Building Information Modeling (BIM) of an anatomy lab.
Actual Creighton
Actual build of an anatomy lab.

The Omaha World-Herald reported on a number of the features that Creighton University’s $84.5 million School of Dentistry building will include in its November 2017 article. Those features include:

  • 152 simulation stations with mannequins and other practice technologies, up from 24
  • Exam rooms equipped for teledentistry
  • A special needs room with wide entry access
  • Cadaver lab
  • 40 more treatment areas and 30 percent more research space
  • Faculty practice area for professors to work on patients

From an electrical perspective, additional specs that we found worth noting and which Miller Electric was honored to install include the following:

  • 4,000 amp service
  • 4 floors of interior lighting features and controls
  • Lightning protection
  • 15KV switch, pad mount transformer and 15KV feeders
  • 350KW gen set - natural gas
  • Dental vac and lab systems
  • Sterilizer space in the basement for tool cleaning

Miller Electric's Pre-Planning and Leadership Role

Miller Electric was involved from the start as a commercial electrical subcontractor with general contractor MCL. Through a bid and interview process, Miller Electric was able to successfully win the project, in part by providing several value engineering ideas that resulted in cost savings for the building owner. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the project, from a construction perspective, was the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology to streamline work and create time and cost efficiencies.

“The leadership, field coordination and pre-planning on this project were outstanding,” says Craig Langfeldt, a senior project manager for Miller Electric. “General Foreman Terry Vachal and BIM Coordinator Jason Preble planned how to apply prefabrication, BIM and spatial coordination weeks, and in some cases, months before installations were scheduled to begin.”

That pre-work eliminated potential confusion during installation, which enabled success on this fast-paced project. “BIM was effectively used to lay out all conduit racks, lights, cable trays and equipment, and when combined with the Trimble tool, allowed for a smooth installation of more than 2,000 blue banger hangers before floors were poured,” says Langfeldt. “We also used that technology to lay out over 1,200 locations that needed to be core-drilled for dental chair feeds, stub-ups and floor boxes and used Miller’s prefabrication capabilities extensively for fire alarm and wire mold components.”

It’s also nice in that BIM models create a blueprint showing building owners exactly where elements are installed. “After the fact, when an electrical component or other function needs to be serviced or accessed, BIM models make it incredibly easy to pinpoint the precise location of what you’re looking for and address it more quickly,” says Love.

Using Building Information Modeling to keep a project on time and within budget is nothing new for Miller Electric, who has been using the technology for many years to improve efficiencies and outcomes on new construction and renovation projects. One of those efficiencies is the number of workers needed to complete a job. In the case of the Creighton University School of Dentistry, Miller Electric averaged 22 workers onsite with a peak of 42 and no overtime hours logged with the exception of during cutovers. “That’s a direct correlation to how well our Field Leads, Terry Vachal and Jason Preble, were able to pre-plan their work and efficiently complete the installation,” says Langfeldt.

Vachal and Preble’s efforts were complemented by the excellent work of Foremen Chris Galer, Brian Markel, Rick Baldwin, Will Ziemba and others who helped refine the plan and communicate it to installers, ensuring success from start to finish.

Thanks to the work of those individuals and an approach to project management and electrical construction that utilizes Building Information Modeling and other technologies to intentionally create cost savings and efficiencies, the Creighton University School of Dentistry project is on track to be completed on time and within budget, two factors of paramount importance to Miller Electric.