BIM is creating a revolution in the construction industry. What exactly is BIM? BIM, or “Building Information Modeling” is a sophisticated technology used in the planning phases of a project that enables the design team, constructor and owner to work together with a 3-D generated model of the building prior to actual construction.
But, we’ve been using technology tools like AutoCAD… What’s so revolutionary about BIM?
Unlike 2-D drawings, BIM builds the entire building – and all the systems – in a “virtual space” which takes the planning, building and operating phases to a much higher and productive level. This productivity translates into real savings in time, money and utility, post-construction, for the owner.
1. BIM Can Save You Money.
Change orders can make or break a budget on any project. What if you could minimize the amount of change orders in the planning phase, instead of mid-construction? BIM technology has the ability to detect potential clashes between the trades before construction, so that they can be planned for and avoided ahead of time. Also, by knowing what types of changes and materials the project team needs to complete the job, the estimators are able to create a more accurate budget for the “bricks and sticks” of the building.
Dover, Delaware’s new Dover High School is a great example of how BIM can help save taxpayers’ money. The 300,000 sq. ft. high school is the first and the largest high school project in Delaware to be entirely designed using BIM. Because the reduction in change orders meant less material changes and less last-minute field changes, BIM helped Dover High School’s Capital School District save over four times the cost of using BIM. Thanks to these cost savings, the Capital School District was able to reinvest money back into student learning.
2. BIM Can Save You Time.
As the saying goes, “time is money” and since BIM, by its very nature, improves the coordination of a project, it not only helps minimize change orders, but it also requires total collaboration on projects. With more minds and points of view working together toward a more efficient and effective design, many issues are resolved during the design phase rather than being found, and consuming valuable time, during the construction phase.
At POLYTECH High School’s new performing arts center project in Dover, Delaware, BIM improved the coordination of the trades so the installation of the 3-D acoustical “clouds” on the ceiling, and the configuration of the lights around them, was accomplished without any clashes. Using BIM meant the designers and constructors could reconfigure the arrangement – before installation – which ultimately helped the project stay on schedule.
3. BIM Prepares for the Future.
What happens when the designers and constructors are done?
After a project is complete, we are left with a model that contains an enormous amount of valuable information and data about the building. That information can be leveraged to save even more time and money in the future. Lowering operating costs and doing more with less is something all building owners want.
Operating a new building can be a tough task. There are countless pieces of equipment that all have their own unique repair and maintenance schedules. Above ceiling heat pumps have filters to change, but even something this routine requires first finding the unit, then determining filter size, even what size ladder to get from the shop prior to actually performing the filter change. There is double work – going to the location, poking around, then back to the shop to get necessary items – then back to the heat pump. This consumes extra time and energy. Utilizing the BIM model, that was already created and populated during the design and construction phase, facilities personnel can look up that information from the shop’s PC and come prepared with all the tools needed to change the filter.
As we have seen first-hand, BIM takes 3-D modeling and applies it to every phase of a building from concept to construction through the total lifespan of the building – from planning through building and operating. Already, the BIM revolution has given us the very tangible and important benefits of cost savings, shorter schedules and more efficient operations. It is mind-boggling to think about what more BIM will deliver as it evolves.
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