Building Information Modelling (or simply BIM) began as software for creating high-detail 3D models for the construction industry.
However, the concept has evolved, and modern BIM is a tool that assists in all stages of a construction project.
BIM platforms today are essentially full-service platforms for project management, including information, tools, and insights used by everyone involved.
Utilizing cloud technology, BIM allows for better collaboration between different teams and keeps all data updated in real-time.
BIM platforms like Revit have functionalities that assist in each phase: planning, modelling, construction, maintenance, and operations.
Perhaps the most important feature of BIM is the sheer amount of data that can be stored and accessed at any given time.
Managers and stakeholders can use it for accurate cost estimation, risk mitigation, scheduling optimization, and more.
These platforms are becoming more and more prevalent, as their benefits for construction projects are simply too good to ignore.
Complete solutions can now be found in the market. Packages like Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection offer AutoCAD, Revit and other products in a bundle with tools for every step of a project.
How will BIM reshape the Construction Industry?
Ever since BIM came into existence, the construction industry has been rapidly changing for the better.
The functionalities and tools that BIM software provides open up endless possibilities for workflow optimization, collaboration effectiveness, and overall performance.
However, innovations in the field of BIM are far from over, so we can expect to see such platforms become even more useful and relevant very shortly.
Let’s explore how BIM software is currently affecting the construction industry and how it will likely reshape it in the years to come.
Estimating the correct costs for a construction project can be a time-consuming and arduous task.
Usually, it would involve someone who has the needed skills and experience to produce accurate estimates — after all, counting every needed bolt and brick is not efficient at all.
However, BIM software makes this job considerably easier and much more accurate.
Model-based cost estimation is a term that is getting more traction every day since it is much more reliable and convenient than any traditional method.
In BIM tools, all objects come with a tremendous number of metadata attached. Information on the size, materials included, and sourcing is available for all elements included in a design.
Using those as a basis, creating a highly accurate cost estimate is quite easy.
You no longer need to “estimate” the total number of beams or bricks needed for a building — you have the exact number as per the design created in the BIM software.
Essentially, BIM bridges the gap between architects, project managers, and construction workers by creating an accurate, unified model that can be used by all.
When the construction process is already underway, managers need to have the tools to monitor progress effectively.
Making sure the project is on schedule and addressing any problems can be challenging if you do not have access to real-time data and flexible infrastructure that can adapt to change.
It is not uncommon for issues to surface while construction is already in progress, resulting in delays and costly remodels.
Often, such situations arise from miscommunication and misalignment between the different teams involved in the project.
BIM software provides an environment that minimizes the risk of such issues occurring at all.
When everyone is working with the same dataset, issues and conflicts can be detected before they become a hindrance.
Additionally, many of the mundane tasks that are related to project management can be fully automated within BIM platforms.
That is why we can expect to see project managers use the functionality that BIM offers to its fullest in the future.
Before BIM was introduced, the entire design process was much more linear and prone to mistakes.
Once an architect or an engineer finished their design, they would hand it over to the construction team for execution.
However, construction workers would often find issues with the seemingly finished design.
Communicating them back to the architect/engineer would often be problematic, resulting in a loss of time and money.
The same goes if a project owner wanted to change the design but could not decide unless they were able to physically see the results on-site.
BIM platforms solve both of those issues. First, construction teams are in the loop much earlier in the process.
They have access to the same designs that everyone else is working with, along with the same metadata.
That way, any changes to the design can be discussed and implemented before the actual construction even begins.
On top of that, designs created with BIM are highly visual.
Project owners are now able to see exactly what the finished building will look like. Again, changes to the model can be proposed and implemented before the construction begins.
Most benefits surrounding BIM have to do with the planning, design, and construction phases of a project.
However, such platforms can be used even after completion, assisting with operations and building management.
Before, you would have extensive documentation and manuals that outline a building’s electrical grids and mechanical systems.
Modern building managers can use the complex data stored within BIM to work more effectively than ever before.
Since BIM holds all types of data needed for the operational phase of a building, it can be used for a variety of tasks.
Building managers can plan for sustainability and efficiency improvements and perform analyses of equipment layouts.
On top of that, building maintenance can be fully automated and optimized for maximum effectiveness.
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BIM enhances project task quality that produces a higher-quality result allows for information sharing, and increases labor efficiency.