So What Exactly Is This "BIM" That Most of the Construction Industry Is Excited About?
"Building Information Modeling" is something the various designers of projects would bring out at first glance. "Building Information Management" is the first phrase that comes to mind for those who manage projects in various phases of process. And yes!, they are all correct. We will not go into official complex definitions of it available online for anyone at any time - it is more to do with how you understand it, how you can actually make sense of it for your own sake.
"BIM" has been around for decades in one form or another, but the real benefits of using its methods and possibilities are truly emerging in today's more and more digitalized world. Architects and engineers have embraced BIM in their work for a while, utilizing mostly the benefits of 3D modelling and coordination of design processes, but focusing less on the information management side of the possibilities.
In the past decade other stakeholders in the construction process have become more informed, more involved and also much more demanding concerning the information quality of projects handed over to construction companies from designers or from construction companies to their clients. The use of information in BIM projects has been stretched further into the lifecycle of a building, going well into the exploitation phase and even used in the utilization and controlled deconstruction as the world's community focuses heavily on repurposing and proper recycling of construction materials.
BIM IS what YOU use it for, it is what gives you leverage in whichever process you can implement it in. In general, it can be broken down to the following topics:
Modelling and Design Collaboration
3D models uploaded to common data environments have become the preferred method of working for many design teams these days and that trend is sure to deepen. Actual 3D representation of the object is vital for the design process to eliminate collisions between the different disciplines involved. Even better! - Involving the Client in the design phase (with a model to show that even the unqualified can easily comprehend) brings both monetary value, but also a better sleep at nights, for everyone.
Information Continuity and Management
Great! - 3D models and visualizations - but what else? BIM is not just a pretty picture! When looking deeper under the skin of the beast we see the core value - the potentially endless amount of information embedded into the model. To optimize the flow of operations in any project it is vital to keep all the parties involved evenly informed and make even massive amount of information comprehensible for them - means simply accessible and manageable, dynamically updated, suitably formatted and ready for continued use in the processes. A "central information silo" for everyone to get their feed from results in a smooth development and hand-over of project - no last minute surprises for anyone involved!
Project Take-Off and Project Specifications
Mistakes are well known as something to be learned from but, of course, should be avoided as best as possible - one can benefit greatly from using a comprehensive and well-designed model-based quantity take-off workflow. This means that all parties involved in the project are provided with a complete and equal level of informational basis for their work as the data is derived from one single source of truth - the BIM model. Running a BIM project does not mean having only material quantities and other numerical data but also includes other crucial information needed to compose a complete project specification (standards, descriptions, datasheets - just to name a few).
Life-cycle Assessment (LCA)
In many innovation-leading countries in the world assessing environmental impact of their production process and products itself (also as large as complete property development projects) has become a standard, and in some cases even a demand from the authorities. By having your product thoroughly described and broken down to measurable units this process is made fast and dynamic - this is again where your BIM model data will come in extremely handy!
Production and Construction Processes
What is as important as having a correct informational basis is how you continue to work with the data at hand. Extensive and well-formatted data from a BIM project will act as a solid foundation for project resource planning, budgeting and detailed scheduling - both in traditional on-site construction projects and innovative off-site production plants. This planning information can be used for supply chain execution: purchasing of products and services, prefabrication as well as on-site assembly and construction! And last but not least, being able to manage the endless small changes taking place in different stages of projects which can be dynamically managed through adjustments to the model-based information.
Information has a lot of value and thus should be used to its fullest extent - keeping the information collected throughout the design and execution process bundled together in a BIM project allowing easy hand-over to the client. BIM models can be used to setup building system and equipment master for facility maintenance solutions. And there is nothing more valuable to a facility manager of a large building than actually having a detailed overview of what he has to manage and maintain. A lot of focus is put on the efficient and sustainable maintenance of facilities already now, but even more in the future to come.
How Can build.works Help You on Your Path to Deploying BIM?
To effectively utilize the power of BIM data the right tools pave the way to success and for that reason choosing the most powerful and up-to-date solution is vital. At build.works we are partnering with Autodesk, the strong forerunner in providing technological solutions for the industry, that has proven its capabilities in providing world-class cloud-services. Autodesk Platform Services provide a simple gateway to manage design and engineering workflows but more importantly visualize 3D models and make project data based on many known file formats available online.
build.works empowers you with the cloud-based tools to introduce integrated business processes from BIM to supply chain planning and execution. If you are already using an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution by vendors such as SAP or Microsoft, build.works connects your enterprise applications with BIM to enable Engineer-to-Order production scenario on an industrial scale.
Keep focus on what you wish to achieve and involve those who have knowledge to help you out - We are here for you at build.works to provide you with expert advice and world-class innovative solutions to help you really make use of BIM!
Joonas Mauer I Customer Engagement Executive @ build.works