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With the increasing complexities in construction projects, the room for errors and miscommunication has significantly increased. The solution to the problems requires the players to shift their inclination towards digitalization by adopting computer-aided design and building information modeling (BIM) software.
In the simplest terms, BIM is the integrative process for visually representing a construction project or building’s essential physical and functional characteristics in a digital model.
BIM depicts the structural elements of a building, such as beams or the layout of the load-bearing walls, but it also shows all the data and numerical values attached to those beams and walls. This creates a more holistic rendering at every stage of the building project.
8 Reasons You Need BIM
1. Collaboration and Communication
Collaboration can often be disjointed among the members of a construction team. The BIM coordination model solves this problem by merging the individual sub-models from the various disciplines into one, enabling collaboration across the board.
The BIM coordination model is accessible to everyone involved in the project and is used for information exchange. Communication is simplified because the latest information is consistently available in a centralized program. This also gives the engineer the ability to relay to the client or owner what the finished product will look like and allows them to see the impact of changes more easily.
2. Streamlined Workflow
The BIM model contains all information relating to the dimensions and position of the components from all disciplines, making it possible to virtually represent each phase in the life cycle of a building. From concept to design through construction, all data can be supported and communicated seamlessly by 3D models.
Designers and architects can provide more realistic visualizations of the finished product, which in turn helps the engineers and contractors with their respective phases of the project. The integration capabilities of BIM mean reduced duplicated work, which allows for better downstream integration.
3. Monetary Savings
While there is an upfront cost for implementing BIM software and training in a company’s workflow, there is plenty of research to suggest companies using BIM significantly save their time and money.
Because of the streamlined workflow BIM facilitates, maintenance costs can be predicted, the design is more accurate and reduces construction issues, duplicated work and human errors are minimized, and certain tasks can be automated with increased accuracy.
4. Greater Energy Efficiency
The integrative nature of BIM creates a more accurate representation overall, which is incredibly helpful when trying to determine the costs associated with operating and maintaining a building. BIM software has a feature known as Life-Cycle Assessment, which gives an in-depth analysis of environmental impact for built assets, quantifying any waste or pollutants produced because of equipment or activity such as drilling or digging.
Elements such as power consumption, light, and energy use can be projected and evaluated with thermal simulations at the early stages of the building, effectively granting optimized energy consumption for its entire life cycle. LEED Certification is incorporated into the BIM workflow as well, a standard that distinguishes the level of environmental friendliness or “green” qualities of a building, among other things. This has increased value for owners, stakeholders, and investors alike.
5. Improved Understanding
The improved understanding that BIM creates greatly benefits the construction team, too. The 3D model gives contractors a better understanding of complex structures. This results in fewer RFIs, time savings, and budget savings. The ability to quickly model as-is conditions within the BIM environment results in faster troubleshooting and fixing field issues as they arise.
Traditionally, bringing together multiple disciplines working in isolation resulted in potential data inconsistency or problems that would seriously impede construction progression. BIM software programs solve this because they are intuitive. Clash detection is a standard feature in the software, automatically flagging conflicting features from different disciplines. For example, clash detection would pick up on an issue such as ductwork running through a steel beam and notify the BIM coordinator to correct it. This saves time and money.
7. Construction Management
The coordinated BIM model represents a dimensionally accurate rendering of a building or structure, giving it an authentic, detailed sense of scale. In turn, this gives the future owners of a building a thorough idea of what the finished product will look like before renovation or construction even begins.
This is important because the benefits of improved understanding tie back into the collaboration and communication BIM facilitates. Engineers can more effectively communicate their ideas to the client, who is able to more easily comprehend the design and voice any changes or concerns in the early stages of the project. Of course, this also contributes to the monetary savings associated with BIM; multiple iterations of modeling data won’t need to be produced, materials won’t be ordered unnecessarily, and contractors won’t have to reconfigure their values based on changes requested from the client.
8. Varied Design Capacity
Not only can BIM be used in designing and constructing new buildings, but it can also be implemented to renovate existing structures. Laser surveys and plotting are used to create accurate renderings of the as-built conditions. This helps engineers and contractors to understand the existing structure, better design around them, and better implement renovations, additions, or other changes. This eliminates errors in the field and saves overall project time.