BIM As a Source of
July 07, 2021
Though it actually started in the 1980s, building information modeling, or “BIM,” only began making real headway into construction around the turn of the millennium. Yet through its relatively long evolution, many people in the industry still regard BIM as little more than software that creates multi-dimensional building models.
In reality, BIM has become a game changer for construction in the same way smartphones were for communication. It has required a bit of a paradigm shift not just in understanding what BIM truly is and what its capabilities are, but how to adopt it as a process. Because once those capabilities are leveraged, the amount and depth of information it produces throughout the building process is more than simply data; it’s real project intelligence. Perhaps BIM could also stand for building intelligence modeling? Because its intelligence is the crux of what makes BIM a game changer. Here’s how.
Provides actionable insights
Not just at the early design stage, but for accurate procurement of materials, equipment and labor, all the way through to post-build operations.
A BIM model is far from being a mere static 3D representation of your project. For every element that comprises the model, from the smallest screw to the largest steel beam to the most intricate building system, there is a wealth of data linked to it — dimensions, quantity, part number, manufacturer details, cost and so much more. Being able to leverage this intelligence as functional data throughout the construction process provides end-to-end value to your project.
As the model is built, all that linked data is automatically calculated using BIM, which will yield not only a more fine-tuned estimate, but an accurate, definitive inventory list for your procurement staff, which means less material and financial waste. Recording these linked details early on enables owners and contractors to collaboratively choose the right materials, equipment and systems for the project. There’s more confidence in those decisions when they’re based on relevant details, such as material composition, costs, repair history and lifetime ROI. The more information you have upfront, the fewer surprises you have down the road that could turn into change orders and rework that cost you more time and money.
Years after the project has been completed, BIM continues bringing value to building operations. All that linked data recorded at the beginning? It now serves as a handy reference for facilities management staff. Something’s bound to malfunction or become damaged and need repair. Plus there’s always the preventive maintenance and regular inspections to keep the building functioning at its optimal level. Accessing the warranty and replacement info via BIM makes that job that much more efficient.
Allows you to build before construction starts
So you can modify details, detect clashes and make corrections to design errors — ultimately minimizing rework and protecting the profit margin.
The time to ‘try out’ variations on the design is during the planning phase — before they have a chance to later appear as errors during the actual build. BIM uses linked data to show not only a realistic view and virtual walkthrough, but design clashes and structural and environment implications so you can make adjustments. This kind of project intelligence can prevent future cost overruns, unnecessary delays, and risks to human and building safety — giving owners and contractors a highly-informed place from which to make the best decisions for the project.
But what about those additional features after construction is well under way, potentially impacting the work that’s already been completed? With all the actual data in your BIM model, it’s easy to experiment. Simulating ‘what if’ changes can show not only impact on the physical structure, but on the budget and schedule as well.
And when it comes time to give your structure a facelift or construct an addition, BIM allows you to do test runs of different modification ideas before any renovations begin, just like during the design phase. Imagine being able to see through walls to the areas that would otherwise be hidden from view. Its 3D-rendering shows potential impact to existing equipment and systems, as well as the financial investment you’d be looking at to make those modifications.
Opens up opportunities
To better communicate and collaborate helping to overcome the challenge of lack of communication so common in the industry by introducing transparency into key project data. From a project efficiency standpoint, all the layers of project data are accessible in real time by the broader project team, including commonly siloed disciplines, to create a more streamlined workflow — with no room for miscommunication or outdated information.
Being able to view and interact with the structure and all the associated information lays the groundwork for everyone to better understand the project and cooperate on design and construction, as well as proposed modifications and possible remedies for design errors. More project intelligence leads to more intelligent conversations, decisions and solutions.
Adopting the technology that supports this process naturally comes with a learning curve. But with a steady and purposeful approach to adopting the BIM process and the technology that supports it, you can make BIM part of a more efficient build process and become part of the revolution. One technology option to consider is InEight Model, which connects your data to your model while helping you better manage and leverage the information it provides. We’re happy to walk you through a demonstration of how this solution works and how it can support your future builds.