So many problems that we face working with buildings come somewhere down the line to human error, an issue that more automated processes never seem to have. Ian Harman, Marflow Hydronics’ Technical Applications Engineer and resident blogger, discusses how much impact the human factor really has.
I don’t think it will be ever possible to have an ABC guide to designing a building. Something like car manufacture can be far more structured as it never really changes from car to car, so they can be built by a robot. Buildings, in comparison, are always completely unique. There isn’t a standard design and, in fact, every construction is started from scratch every time.
Of course there will be some consistency, for example there is only a finite number of ways that a water distribution system can work. But the maintenance of it, the set up and what it’s required to do will always differ. This is where problems are inevitable.
To try and tackle this very issue, 2016 sees the start of a major change in the industry, and that is BIM. As a process that allows electronic data to be collated and shared to help make projects more efficient, it means that models of a building have to be created at the initial stages when all relevant decisions have to be made. Information is then tagged along the way so that it can be properly shared, referred to and used all the way through the project.
One of the key advantages to using computers is that the decisions are made up front. The problems of human intervention normally boil down to the judgements that are made throughout a process, and BIM is in place to eradicate that very issue.
Ultimately, it all comes down to starting with the end in mind. Whether that’s the manufacturer being able to supply a more standardised version of a once complex product or whether it’s being able to gain a greater understanding of the proposed products in a project long before any key decisions need to be made, BIM allows much more considered and precise decisions to be made from the very beginning.
This won’t then just create a better design, it will aid maintenance and troubleshooting further down the line, as again this will all be thought of in advance.
As with anything in life, it comes down to knowledge. I think back to the debate we did with MBS, that was reported in the November issue, about how training and knowledge is vital. Education is really the key area for me here. BIM might be a good process, but if we don’t know how to use it properly, then it just won’t work.
I don’t think it will ever be possible to automate everything, and I don’t think we’d want to anyway. Humans may cause errors, but we come up with some really fantastic stuff as well!