The advantages of BIM technology applied to Pharmaceutical facilities design, construction and management

Previously we discussed how unexpected costs can be generated in the construction of a pharmaceutical plant; in this article we will see the potential and the advantages of BIM technology – Building Information Modeling, which involves three-dimensional and parametric modeling of the whole building, including all its architectural, structural and system information characteristics.

Below the main advantages due to the application of BIM technology, nowadays a fundamental and indispensable tool, in the construction and management of the virtual model of the building-plant system referring to the pharmaceutical sector.

The elaboration and use of a BIM information model and its technology allow to:

  • to define and describe spaces, interferences, constructive and functional characteristics of each component of the building, to be able to manage and prevent most of the unforeseen events, forgetfulness, inaccuracies that represent cause for additional costs and delayed delivery times.
  • to apply and correctly meet the standards and specifications indicated (standards, specifications, codes, Regulatory and industrial guidelines) in the Good Engineering Practice GEP.
  • to combine the three-dimensional modelling (LOG) with all the information useful for the installation, management and maintenance of the elements present (LOI), for example, in a thermal power plant.
  • to previously check the spaces necessary for the installation and maintenance of the equipment or ducts required by the project to solve, during the design stage, the interference that would be found only in the construction phase.
  • to identify all the necessary features of the various components and, through a quick filter, highlight them for faster identification.
  • to identify the positioning of each individual element typing the identification code inside the platform. The modeling software will therefore highlight this object in the navigation view of the 3D model.
  • to filter the necessary information for various purposes, including maintenance schedules included in maintenance manual.

The BIM model of the entire building, complete in its architectural, structural and plant components, therefore has many advantages starting from the design phase; however, an additional advantage to consider is the possibility to better manage even the future routine and extraordinary maintenance.

An updated “As-Built” template becomes a powerful tool for the management of the building and its systems because its characteristics and properties are not entrusted only to some technician or maintenance manager but are integrated into the information available to all the company.


Among the advantages that the BIM information model may present during maintenance are the possibility of:

  • to control, within the most advanced platforms, every type of intervention of management and maintenance of the building by creating cards regarding the resources used, the work orders activated, and the non-conformities found for each asset connected to the digital object.
  • to use a ticketing service that allows you to notify the maintenance team when a maintenance or check will be required.
  • to identify in advance the location of the components on which to intervene.
  • to connect the BIM model to management platforms that can be configured according to your needs, compiling the various parameters useful for the maintenance and management of the building.
  • to connect the P&ID components to their field location for easy identification.

The BIM model is therefore of great help because it guarantees a more detailed knowledge, facilitates the identification of any problems, supports in a more effective way analysis and decision-making processes, the result of which is surely an optimization of the facility management processes and, consequently, also an economic and time saving.

In our next article we will talk about the "Validation process" required by the regulatory authorities to guarantee the safe production, storage and handling of drug products.

The author is one of the founding partners of the engineering company Planex s.r.l. since 2002 and for over 30 years, has been involved in the engineering processes of pharmaceutical plants and buildings. His career starts in 1989 with the design and construction activities for a new department of freeze-dried injectable products of the Lepetit company, which at the time belonged to the DOW Chemical group, and continues nowadays with the design and construction management of the new production site M. Polo of the Zambon Group, the site Masterplan of an ITALFARMACO S.p.A plant, the creation of a new production department of Fresenjus Kabi S.p.A., various interventions within the EVOTEC Aptuit research center in Verona.

During his career he has also worked on other type of extremely complex buildings; he has taken care of the realization of the new productive site for Pastificio Rana S.p.A. in San Giovanni Lupatoto – Verona, the new Cetacean pavilion for the Aquarium of Genoa, the testing of Isozaki Allianz tower systems in Milan and many more.