July 28, 2015
The AEC industry is going through some major changes, from a paper based process to a collaborative digital approach with building information modeling (BIM). BIM is not just a tool, but a process that supports virtual design and construction methodologies, bringing all stakeholders together throughout the entire design and construction process and beyond to the operations and maintenance of building or infrastructure projects.
The construction industry is facing a number of key technology developments which will impact how we execute our construction projects. The construction industry is a highly competitive environment, there are now fewer major contracts but there are many more contractors who are bidding for them. Owners and governments are increasingly demanding that construction companies deliver their complex projects faster and at a lower cost. Construction companies are now required to provide more accurate cost estimates and material quantities, to ensure that once they are awarded they stay on budget. Project timelines are also shrinking as a consequence companies have to manage projects in less time and with fewer requests for information (RFI’s) and change orders as possible. Owners and governments expect construction companies to have a good level of BIM Implementation knowledge and experience before awarding major projects.
Construction companies are adapting to technology use on projects and thus driving integrated practices by taking more control of the supply chain. The construction industry is under great pressure to reduce waste both to help the environment and to increase profitability. Over the past several years it has been well documented that the construction industry produces over 30% waste on average. That means one out of every three pounds spent on projects is wasted when you consider construction is predicted to increase over 5 trillion pound globally that is a phenomenal amount of wasted money.
There are several ways construction companies can try and reduce this waste, such as driving more efficient use of materials and labor and implementing multiple prefabrication strategies. Overall the industry has been looking to adopt lean practices and approaches that have worked well in the manufacturing and aerospace sectors.
It is clear that digital information is critical in today’s market place, using that information to design, visualise and simulate projects makes BIM very powerful. BIM is an intelligent 3D model based process that provides insight for creating and managing building and infrastructure projects faster, more economically and with less environmental impact.
BIM software solutions provide better project insight, for example more accurate documentation and the ability to simulate projects before they are built results in higher quality outcomes saves time and money with improved collaboration and coordination on even the most complex projects and use analysis to optimize sustainability of your project over its lifecycle. The rich coordinated information in the model enables a better understanding of a project and helps you create value at every step in the process, to better design, plan, build and manage buildings and infrastructure projects.
BIM starts with a 3D model buts it is much more than that, it is an intelligent 3D model. A model from a BIM design process not only represents the design and construction (level of details) but also contains the underlying information data (metadata) about the objects such as type, size, material, who has created, where it will be used the manufacturer etc. The key to a success is to understand the required level of detail (LOD) needed in the BIM model and how to use this information in the model and how to win more work. Using information to build stakeholder approval more easily using powerful visualisations, simulate multiple constructional alternatives more quickly and accurately, keep documentation more accurate no matter how many times the design changes. Reduce costs and time by identifying costly design conflicts virtually before construction begins, using the BIM information on the construction site (BIM to field), taking BIM to improve team collaboration and more easily manage project data across extended teams and external partners and finally provide a valuable digital asset (validation through scanning) to the project owner for operations and management.
BIM is helping AEC professionals and owners in every segment of the industry to realise benefits at every point in the project lifecycle. BIM is going far beyond concept studies, construction coordination and simulation, to BIM in the Field, scan to BIM, facility management and supporting smarter construction.
The rich information made available through BIM provides the ability to plan more effectively design more intuitively, build more accurately and manage more efficiently. Focusing on the information companies can work smarter and can make more informed decisions on how to execute work across all areas.
Finally companies can only benefit from this Information if they have successfully developed and implemented a proper BIM execution plan (BEP) with clear defined measurable goals to increase efficiency and profitability on projects. These goals have to align and tie into the business goals of the company. For many this is a change process which requires support of the decision makers in the company.
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