What Does BIM Mean in Construction?
By Anna Liza Montenegro | BIM
What Does BIM Mean in Construction?
The construction industry has benefited dramatically from the push toward everything being digital. It is much easier to test various design choices on 3D models than it is to build and then do those tests. BIM has been one of the greatest innovations in this industry. BIM stands for building information modeling, meaning every attribute about your building is stored in a simple file that can be shared and manipulated by many people. That makes it possible for the AEC industry to collaborate on a construction project from anywhere in the world.
Construction has always been a difficult industry because it requires many different phases and different specialties working together towards a singular goal. If any specialty or methodology doesn’t align with the others, you will have problems. For example, if an architect designs something that a civil engineer knows is impossible to build, you will have costly delays and arguments that need to be resolved. The project might need a complete rework. BIM technology solves this by presenting a central repository from which all AEC professionals can view the construction project and submit their work. BIM has adoption by stakeholders, engineers, contractors, and architects. Every profession in the building field understands the value they get from being able to use this incredible software to improve workflow.
Stages of BIM
BIM isn’t something you haphazardly implement inside your organization. It requires careful planning and standardization to prevent bottlenecks in the project lifecycle. Standards must be made and kept to ensure everyone is on the same page when working with BIM solutions. There are four different stages of project management when implementing BIM.
In the evaluation and assessment stage, you start figuring out whether your project teams have the skills and technical understanding to complete the job using BIM software. You go back and forth between the client and the people responsible for actually completing everything to ensure that requirements are practical. You also do your due diligence in terms of legal consultations to ensure that everything is acceptable at that level.
The next phase is the planning stage. Standards need to be made in the organization. Since everyone will work with the same model, there has to be a common way of making the design. There also needs to be a team structure to ensure that nothing gets lost. This is typically the stage where training is done to ensure people get up to speed with tools like Autodesk Revit.
This stage involves the actual design and construction of the project. It is where your AEC industry professionals come together to create a solution that the client accepts.
Finally, you also need to focus on the maintenance and operations side by using BIM software. You can create best practices for training the people who will maintain and understand the buildings from the BIM objects and 3D models inside the BIM tool.
How the BIM Process Works in Construction
BIM technology has improved every single aspect of the construction industry because there are different tools to help automate each step. This automation creates more efficient workflows for each phase of the BIM project.
You can use BIM software to help in the design phase of a building project, which is where everything typically begins. BIM software allows you to create 3D models of the building with input from structural engineers and architects. There are visualization tools in the building design software to ensure that the project has structural integrity and won’t collapse. Clash detection highlights flaws in MEP systems so they can be addressed in the preconstruction phase. There are also tools for architects to give it a beautiful design that the owner will like.
After the design has been completed and validated, you will need a plan and schedule for how to get it built. This is where the project manager comes in and starts thinking about timelines and cost estimates. BIM software typically includes workflow planning tools to ensure that everything is done to strict timelines. Problems happen sometimes but building information modeling software minimizes how often things can go wrong.
The construction phase is where the use of BIM software can also shine. It offers tools for contractors and the workers they employ. It allows them to get a good real-time understanding of how each subcontract is playing out. They can look at the BIM model to ensure that it is built to specification, and they can also use construction sequencing to see whether they will be on track to meet the goals of the project managers. When something happens, the contractor has a beautiful 3D model to look at to ensure the building project works.
BIM software even shines in facility management after the project has been completed. With a 3D model, it is quite easy to fix problems and implement renovations throughout the building lifecycle. BIM models typically contain everything inside the building. That includes piping and other building components that are crucial to a structure operating successfully. If there is a leak, you can look at the model to get a good idea of where it came from. This makes it much easier for operators to have a building construction that is fast and easy to renovate.
Importance of BIM in the Construction Industry
BIM has become crucial to the construction industry because it has given companies an easy way of estimating costs, improving collaboration, increasing sustainability, and streamlining project delivery. As a client, it is easier to know timelines and prices. The decision-making process is simpler. As a contractor, you don’t need to go back and forth with architects or engineers when building a project. You know exactly what needs to be done and how to do it. You can quickly figure out when something was not done to specifications.
This software has made the construction process and construction management much easier. It minimizes the amount of work that needs to be done twice by contractors. It makes projects finish faster without having to put up extra money. BIM also contributes to improved safety in buildings. Finally, it makes the process a lot less risky for everyone involved.
Future of BIM in Construction
The IoT revolution will impact the built environment industry in the future. Robotics and 3D printing are two technologies that might feature heavily in BIM for construction. For example, you could transmit building information straight to a 3D printer working with houses. That would mean a significant part of the house could be built without human interaction. It could also mean building certain designs that are optimized on a computer by the construction company.
Ultimately, the main thing for the future is the wider adoption of BIM software. There are fewer experts in BIM tools than the AEC industry would like. The future will see more people being trained to use these tools. The digital transformation of the industry will make the tools a standard instead of something really popular.
The construction industry has a bright future because we now have the benefits of BIM software to deliver projects faster and easier. As more people are trained to use these software tools, the building industry will reap the same benefits that other industries have seen from adopting a digital mindset.