Behalf of Marty Rozmanith
Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been the Design & Construction industry’s answer to improve the flow of data through the building process, and, therefore, help to create efficiencies.
Industrialized practices work well when design information is structured appropriately for downstream application by builders, fabricators, and operators. BIM data standards have been gradually maturing to meet this purpose.
Building owners and operators are driving the industry to achieve higher levels of BIM maturity by demanding process improvements and technological innovations that reduce costs, increase value from suppliers, and increase sustainability.
Much of the industry is now moving from BIM Level 1 to Level 2, thanks in part to a directive by the U.K. government to adopt BIM practices by 2016
Some companies are trying to find efficiencies with BIM Level 2 processes, traditional workflows, and point solutions. The industry innovators are rethinking collaboration and leveraging integrated BIM Level 3 technologies to become more competitive.
Construction teams that successfully adopt BIM Level 3 processes benefit from strategic advantages: they create less waste, deliver in less time, and produce a better outcome while retaining a healthy profit margin.
BIM Level 2 vs. Level 3
In 2013, the U.K. government mandated that all government projects utilize BIM Level 2 by 2016 in order to reduce information ambiguity. While BIM Level 2 has indeed brought significant benefits to architects, Level 2 tools tend to focus on design coordination problems, and do not maintain much of a role in construction processes.
Models produced using Level 2 point solutions are ultimately exported and imported into disconnected systems. This handoff can create unintended consequences: data silos, errors, version control problems, and rework.
Data produced by the design team at the beginning of the project does not flow seamlessly through to the rest of the project delivery.
Architects ultimately miss the opportunity to adjust for means and methods, lose control of their design intent, and are pulled into a reactive process of responding to Requests for Information (RFIs).
Under Level 2, with no integrated system to leverage BIM data, builders and suppliers are removed from fully collaborating on the model and are left to absorb the cost of rework.
BIM Level 3 is the only approach that fully connects the data chain from start to finish, helping to create end-to-end efficiencies.
In a Level 3 system, BIM data is not converted into files and emailed or sent via FTP sites to various parties. A Single Source of Truth is established, stored in a database on the cloud, and accessible by all project contributors through web services.
BIM Level 3 allows data to be transactable for construction, fabrication, and even facility management purposes, enabling open collaboration and building lifecycle management.
A robust Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system creates an efficient environment for coordinating complex Architecture, Engineering & Construction data.
Adding BIM data to a PLM system creates a Building Lifecycle Management (BLM) system, which enables BIM Level 3.