Opinion

BIM – Big Data, Big Value

 

June 12, 2015 │ Steve Smith

Having been involved in quite a few construction projects delivering the telecommunications and network infrastructures I have seen some monumental misinterpretations of 2D drawings that have added considerable cost to various aspects of the construction project, often impacting on a number of trades. In addition to this there have been many examples of lost productivity due to a breakdown in communication between the various trades. If our cabling teams arrive too early they are working in an environment that is more dangerous than necessary and the cabling is put at greater risk due to the amount of work going on around the cables. If they arrive too late we risk damage to fixtures, fittings and furnishings.

Some years ago I was involved in the relocation of a large City stock broker. The project was running to a very tight deadline to coincide with the physical move of people over the next Bank Holiday weekend. I was project manager for the telecommunications and network infrastructure responsible for ensuring all desk top services were operational on the first morning of business in the new location. The timescales were such that we had to run our cables over the weekends so that our team would not be in the way of the other trades working on the floors and in the ceilings.

Every weekend counted for our team. On the first or second Saturday in our programme we had just arrived and were about to start a long weekend getting over 2,000 cables into location when we bumped into a team of contractors in what appeared to be space suits. They were just about to start clearing some asbestos material from the building while we were on site. Needless to say we left the building immediately and would not return until we had been given an ‘all clear’ in writing.

Over the years these mishaps and has been a constant dilemma for our project managers who do an amazing job working around the other trades, often under very difficult circumstances.

I must admit when I received notification of our Cito Lecture discussing BIM I didn’t realise just how important the topic was. As we got nearer to the event and hearing my WCIT colleagues discussing what BIM Level 2 was about it suddenly dawned on me impact this would have on the construction industry.

From 2016 Level 2 BIM will be a requirement for all centrally funded projects with the aim of reduced costs and carbon emissions. The government want to ensure public money is invested wisely and is not wasted due to the potential inefficiencies of construction projects. Millions of pounds could be saved through improved communication, clarity of information and collaboration throughout the life of the building or structure.

The presenters at the Cito Lecture aptly named ‘Building Information Modelling: Can it integrate a disintegrated industry’, were John Roberts, Civil Engineering Director of Laing O’Rourke Engineering Excellence Group and David Savage, Partner Charles Russell Speechlys with introductions by John Gavin of G4H. Until this lecture I didn’t realise just how disintegrated the construction industry was. John pointed out that the average construction site loses 50% productivity every single day. I was initially shocked at learning this statistic, however, I should not have been considering some of the problems I have experienced first-hand.

So, what is BIM?

One of John Roberts’ opening statements regarding Building Information Modelling is that it is a ‘cycle of data’. It combines a range of well-defined processes, software and technology to enable efficient construction life cycle management. It can be described as building information management. Given the nature of construction the resulting data is “Big Data”. In fact it is an excellent example of Big Data put to effective use.

The brief overview of the different levels of BIM are:

  • Level 0: Paper based 2D CAD drawings
  • Level 1: File based 2D and 3D CAD drawings
  • Level 2: Federated 3D modelling
  • Level 3: Collaborative cloud shared data

He also referred to BIM 4D and 5D and I found some mention of 6D:

  • BIM 4D: 3D modelling with the time element included
  • BIM 5D: 3D modelling with time and cost included
  • BIM 6D: Facilities Management

Federated 3D modelling includes data on materials, components and systems used during the life of the building or structure including the relationships between them. The 3D modelling and effective collaboration provided by Level 2 BIM will increase the predictability of the outcomes of the construction process, in other words surety of design.

Another source of very expensive modifications during the construction phase are clashes. Taking building in London as an example, there are many underground structures across the city. Underground railway tunnels, telecommunications tunnels, underground shelters, disused underground nuclear complexes.

Continue reading on http://www.astro.co.uk/bim-big-data-big-value/

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Source: www.astro.co.uk/bim-big-data-big-value