After the massive financial crisis of 2008 hit the USA and rippled its effects worldwide, construction industry saw one of the biggest downfalls on international level. Once a billion dollar company; now faced the challenges in finding access to capital for construction investment. Change in people’s spending trend further caused the hospitality a major strike to hit rock bottom. Construction management companies met the dead ends with all these aftermaths and even if some of them, managed to bag good projects, the deadlines and budgets were tight.
A glance at common challenges and their reason
Today, eight years since the economic slowdown, these construction management companies still struggle getting through the project tenures swiftly. Labor charges, upsurge in energy costs, rapid urbanization, escalating construction and operating costs, diversity in opinion for alternate ownership, trend of condo-hotels are a few of the many challenges giving birth to friction in the ongoing projects.
Another challenge is in spite of having all the modern technology access, construction companies have more or less failed to attract admiration for the building’s architecture and engineering. Consider an example of Space Needle Restaurant and Observation Tower, a major landmark in Seattle, USA.
The tower attracted 203 million visitors during the 1962 world’s fair; which saw a construction methodology pretty archaic as compared to what contractors practice today. Current construction management companies and general contractors heavily rely on Building Information Modeling - BIM for most of the building modeling works and engineering decisions.
The current approach is probably way more enhanced than what the practice was back in 1962. However, there are areas of BIM capabilities (BIM levels) that are yet to be fully practiced by these companies. For major player in hospitality construction industry, new construction is not a challenge as such, since it is accurately handled by smaller businesses.
New designs and refurbishment with focused construction practices by small firms cater the need of attracting tourists. Project life, sustainability and innovation competition are some of the major concerns for major market players.
What different practices do major market players use?
With the current practices and market scenario, capital and land acquisition with due diligence process, property improvement plans, brand value and other such business is covered by individuals and human intelligence associated with big names. What remains to be refined is the method of dealing engineering aspects and technicalities with BIM involvement in every major decision process.
A survey by NBS reveals the fact that, out of those aware of various BIM levels, 30% had reached level 1, 65% had reached level 2 and only a handful of them have reached level 3. This has ensured that big construction companies are bagging every major project.
The recovery from financial crisis of greater economy has gradually paved the way for hospitality industry however, for construction firms struggle with increased materials cost and labor charges. Losses arising from wrong orders and materials supply do not stand the slightest chance.
With BIM Level 2 and beyond, the need of coordinating and collaborating various activities, materials requirement planning, and resource allocation for these constructions management companies are relaxed. The problems in condo-hotels and grandiose resorts construction pertaining to structural strength, logistics, supply chain and workflow are managed efficiently with higher levels of BIM, which goes beyond 3D visualization.
Following the standard protocol for design collaboration gives easy access and transparency between disciplines, issuing change orders and implementing becomes quicker and efficient clash free designs can be generated, setting the seamless construction afoot.
Marching ahead with BIM, Level 3 solves the problems associated with sustainable building projects and life cycle management and brings constructors to deliver specialized projects. From construction scheduling to maintenance, the time and dates are recorded accurately. Further the ease of retrieving data allows O&M team to have barrier free facility maintenance, which is a crucial wing for hotel reputation and brand image in the market.
The entire exercise of uprooting the challenges is both active and open ended. BIM assisted projects allows design change and expansion scope to construction firm, boosting the architectural and engineering capacity of the firm. Meeting timelines and stringent budgets activities decided, management can clearly differentiate possible tasks from the impossible ones.
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Hiral Patel is a news editor and has been contributing to the AEC industry since last 7 years. She mainly writes about the application of BIM across Architecture, MEP and Structural sectors. Her focus is towards encouraging construction companies, sub-contractors and architects to adopt right technologies to improve efficiency and profitability. Learn more