Before delving into the depths of the BIM world we need to understand what BIM actually means.
First and foremost, the idea that BIM is just a type of software is incorrect, it’s much more than that! BIM is a pretty broad term but in a nutshell it’s a process which creates and monitors a construction project through its whole lifecycle, from concept though to building management. It’s a collaborative way of working combining the following five fundamentals: Processes, Policies, People, Information and Technologies. These essential elements are fundamental for the effective functioning of BIM.
So, what are some of the benefits of BIM? I hear you ask…
Firstly, BIM reduces delays and speeds up the productivity which in turn saves money.
But how does it do this? During the design process BIM can pick up errors or issues through clash detection before they reach the construction site avoiding having to rework elements of the project, meaning the reduction of delays on site. Because the BIM model means creating a 3D visualisation of the model before the shovel even hits the ground, enabling changes to be made to the model before physical work has even begun, which again reduces time and cost and improves productivity.
The model also creates a safer construction site. This is because the model can pinpoint hazards before they become problems, by forward planning site coordination and logistics. This also has a direct knock on effect on improved build quality.
The construction industry has always been especially interested in the upfront capital costs. Going through the 6D process (Project lifecycle information) ensures that wise decisions are made from the get go. Shifting this focus betters the understanding of the whole-life cost where most money is proportionately spent; this should make for better decisions upfront in terms of both cost and sustainability. Not only does this work for one model but the data which has been learnt from the build can be used on future builds. Never before have we been able to harvest so much information from construction projects and then be able to feed it back into future designs, improving cost, productivity, safety, sustainability and build quality. This is only a small snapshot of what the BIM model can do for a build.
What does the future hold for BIM?
It’s a promising future wherein buildings, design and construction will be cheaper, safer, more efficient, and more responsive to end-users.
However, there is a problem: Even with all the benefits of BIM, some professionals in the industry don’t want to let go of their old ways of working. Even professionals who understand the future benefits of BIM struggle to implement it. Meaning they use a combination of new technology with old processes. This seems to be a ‘friendlier’ approach to the transition phase in the industry. Though, Contractors are now seeing the benefits of moving over to the BIM model. We are finally seeing companies really embrace BIM.
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