In the ever-evolving construction industry, a new player joins and completely changes the game every once in a while. For the last few years, BIM (Building Information Modeling) has been that player, offering a fresh, beneficial way to deliver a successful project.
Despite the considerable attention given to BIM, there are still some misconceptions about BIM and its role in construction. The primary misconception is that BIM is purely a new technology, explicitly referring to 3D models. While 3D models are an essential aspect, BIM offers so much more to the construction industry. If you think 3D models are incredible, just read on for 5D!
As first defined in the National BIM Standard-US, a BIM “is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. As such, it serves as a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility, forming a reliable basis of decisions during its life cycle from inception onward.” BIM involves the process of designing a building collaboratively, using one unified system of computer models rather than entirely separate sets of drawings among disciplines.
Once you’ve experienced BIM, it is not hard to see the many benefits. In this post, we look at what we think are the top five benefits of implementing BIM.
1. Improved Communication and Collaboration
As we like to remind ourselves repeatedly, communication is a key ingredient to construction success. BIM wouldn’t be changing the game if it didn’t offer improved communication and collaboration.
BIM is an approach that highlights and promotes collaboration. Cloud-based software enables real-time access by everyone involved in the project, anytime and anywhere. The entire project - models, estimates, design notes, material choices, schedules, etc. - is stored and accessed in one place during all phases of the project. Having everything in one place means that when a stakeholder changes or updates the model, all stakeholders remain in sync throughout the project’s life cycle.
2. Better Coordination and Clash Detection
While BIM is much more than a 3D model, the 3D model is undoubtedly at the core of BIM.
One of the main advantages of resourcing a 3D model of a new or existing building is increased coordination and clash detection among trades. General contractors and their subcontractors can access the 3D model well before construction begins, pin-pointing clashes and congested areas to address as the multiple trades begin their install.
How do the electrical conduits route above the ceiling to avoid the ductwork and fire sprinkler lines? Does the plumbing clash with a structural beam? Do the sectional doors have enough ceiling clearance? Clash detection increases efficiency during construction and decreases extra costs as issues surface well before they become costly impacts.
3. Real-Time Visualization
Using BIM, project stakeholders can plan and visualize an entire project during preconstruction. Before a ground-breaking event is even put into motion, clients can view the 3D model and experience the look and feel of the building.
Two-dimensional paper plans have their place. A career architect or contractor has the experience to interpret these drawings and understand how the final product will feel. But BIM and the 3D model open up a new window into the building, allowing owners and construction partners to truly “get eyes” on their future spaces. Virtual and augmented realities are becoming increasingly popular among architects aiming to help their clients understand their designs, ultimately reducing time-consuming and costly modifications during construction.
4. Cost and Resource Reduction
If the new player in the game doesn’t reduce costs, it probably won’t last long. BIM reduces costs in significant ways. Model-based cost assessment is known as 5D BIM.
5D BIM provides reliable cost estimates well before the construction phase begins. Architects and their consultants use the BIM model to quantify and estimate various items, including materials and their costs, shipping materials, prefabricated or modular pieces, and even labor. This data is used to discover ways to reduce costs by selecting more cost-effective materials, finding the right time to buy materials, deciding whether prefabricated materials or built-on-site materials are cheaper, and streamlining the construction workflow to reduce labor.
BIM decreases the overall duration of a project. Design teams are faster and more efficient in their planning and contractor productivity skyrockets with BIM implementation.
5. Higher Quality Buildings
The advantages of BIM are most evident in the design and construction phases of a project. Still, owners often also notice a considerable improvement in the overall quality of their new facility.
Due to the increased collaboration and modeling, BIM makes better building designs. Teams catch structural deficiencies before construction begins, 3D visualizations lead to better design aesthetics and modeling even the flow of natural and artificial light in a building results in a higher quality product for owners.
Considering multiple dimensions - including 3D aesthetics, durations of each design element, overall cost, environmental impact over time, and long-term maintenance costs - leads to higher quality buildings and fully satisfied owners and clients.
BIM isn’t just a new technology on the construction block. It is so much more. As a complete, integrative process of creating and managing information in projects, BIM is changing the game in the construction industry. The result is better communication, collaboration, and coordination, real-time visualization, reduced costs, and overall higher quality builds.
BIM is here to stay, and the results speak for themselves.
November 16th, 2021 |