In 2009 Dartmouth was expanding their campus with the construction of a Life Science Center. This project required an HVAC system to support a 174,000 square foot laboratory and academic building; 30 wet labs with support space, 30 faculty offices as well as post doc offices, conference rooms and lounges. The project also included a 200-seat theater classroom, 80-seat amphitheater classroom, 6000- square foot greenhouse, NMR room, teaching labs and flexible classrooms.

Blouin provided a state of the art HVAC system that included:

  1. Custom air handlers with energy recovery heat wheels.
  2. Chill Beam heating/cooling system that included the install of over 825 chill beams and associated ducting/piping.
  3. Eight – 12,000 CFM High plume Lab Exhaust fans with custom Stainless steel exhaust stacks with brushed finish. 
  4. A completely welded stainless steel lab exhaust system, including pressure independent lab exhaust air valves.
  5. Three specialty lab exhaust systems including Teflon coated Stainless steel ductwork, Phoenix valves and three dedicated lab exhaust fans with custom SS stacks in the same construction as the eight main lab exhaust fans.
  6. A greenhouse ventilation system including 13 agricultural exhaust fans, 24 circulation fans, an air handling unit and aluminum ductwork.


At the time, 3D BIM technology was relatively new to many other contractors as well as the construction management team on the project and so they did not initially plan to utilize 3D BIM technology to process the MEP coordination effort. 

However, the scope and density of ductwork, piping, electrical, plumbing and lab services within the design was such that Blouin felt a 3D BIM coordination was necessary to avoid construction delays and additional costs.


With our BIM modeling expertise, Blouin assembled a 3D building model from the 2D CAD plans provided. This enable us to lead the other MEP contractors thru a 3D BIM coordination. We also provided our CAD services to some of the other MEP’s who lacked CAD capability.  For instance, in regards to the electrician and controls – Blouin was able to provide an accurate BIM scope for them using their marked-up paper plans.

Results and Benefits to the Client

Blouin’s BIM modeling presented the client with significant results in the staging and shipping aspect of the work. Whereas most of our competitors deliver all their major equipment/devices direct to the site using commercial haulers (and the site floor space ends up being used as a warehouse), Blouin received all major equipment and device deliveries including over 4,000 square feet /140,000 lbs /30 sections of Air Handlers to our Seabrook, NH facility, where they were staged and shipped for just-in-time delivery to the site.

Blouin’s approach gave the client a safer job site with less clutter, as well as more quality control and significant cost savings in storage and delivery charges for the client.

This building is point of pride for Dartmouth and is considered a national model of sustainable design and is expected to consume one-half of the energy of the best performing laboratories in the United States and was awarded a Platinum LEED certification.

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