Building information modelling and automated quantities technologies can provide the industry with consequential opportunities to raise the quality of the industry to a much higher and sophisticated level. Having the capability to simulate a range of data options with real-time cost advice and carry on throughout the detailed design, construction, and operational stages, BIM will surely place construction practices at a higher value.
BIM is the process spanning the generation and management of the physical and functional information of a project. The output of the process is what we refer to as BIMs or building information models which are ultimately digital files that describe every aspect of the project and support decision-making throughout a project cycle.
Construction productivity is a long-standing issue in the industry and has become a huge field of research opportunity. Decades of expansive studies have produced well-documented models and methods for identifying the many factors and reasons that influence construction productivity. In the process, building information modelling (BIM) has emerged as a disruptive innovation with the great potential to mitigate most of the common factors negatively impacting construction productivity.
The Benefits of BIM
Positive Impact on Labor Productivity– In an action research project with a small mechanical contractor, a study investigated BIM’s impact on a large commercial project’s labour productivity and found out an increase in productivity ranging from 75% to 240% on areas that were modelled and prefabricated as compared to areas that weren’t.
Cost and Schedule Control and Management – Building information modelling (BIM) has long been recognised as the technology that will revolutionise the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry. Despite the studies and advancements, BIM’s use has not yet reached its full potential.
Communication and Collaboration– BIM has a lot of benefits but it seems to be that its key role is in facilitating communication and mutual understanding within project shareholders and the construction teams. Building information modelling changes the common way of collaboration including the roles of project participants.
Better planning and design: Using BIM, you can visualize a completed building and all its components and systems before the first shovelful of dirt are moved on the construction site. This information allows better planning and design that takes the best advantage of available space and resources.
Fewer reworks: BIM allows you to see potential problem areas and fix them before the error is committed in the physical world. This reduces the need for costly rework and revision.
Savings on materials: BIM systems track and monitor resources and provide detailed information on needs even before construction begins. You are less likely to order more than needed and can replenish supplies only when necessary.
Using BIM does not automatically make you reap the benefits of BIM, it’s how you use BIM that allows you to enjoy the benefits. For example, using different BIM-based software among collaborators during the design phase may precipitate some problems like data loss, communication failure, and poor work efficiency.
Disadvantages of BIM
Incompatibility with partners: BIM is not yet universally used among construction professionals. There is always the possibility that one of your partners or subcontractors may not use BIM and may not be able to use your models.
Legal issues: The legal ramifications of using BIM software have not yet been extensively tested, let alone settled.
Cost of software: BIM software requires a substantial investment in new technology. The advantages usually make the investment worthwhile, but only if the software is used to its full capacity.
Lack of experts: The relative newness of BIM means that there are limited numbers of experts working in the field. Your software purchase may require an additional investment in training and education.
Construction Monitor helps companies in the industry stay informed about how new technology will affect all phases of the construction process. Contact us today for more information on how BIM and general construction will continue to be a valuable and effective combination.