Construction companies are in a perpetual battle against risks. They are constantly faced with the possibility of exceeding the budget, failing to meet the required quality standards, extended downtime, and job site accidents. While careful planning and preparation can help reduce these risks, they can only do so much. However, advanced tools and methods can help improve construction risk management systems.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is one of the new tools construction companies use. It’s a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building. It involves creating and using a 3D construction project model to improve communication, coordination, and documentation among project stakeholders. BIM has become increasingly popular in the construction industry due to its ability to mitigate risk in construction projects.
Unlike traditional plans and drawings, BIM has multiple layers of information and functions that can directly impact construction operations. It can even be integrated with AI and machine learning technology to automate specific actions that can improve the safety of construction sites. This article shows how BIM can boost risk mitigation in construction projects.
Improve communication and coordination
In traditional construction projects, communication is often siloed, with each stakeholder working in isolation. This can lead to misunderstandings, errors, and delays. It is still widely practised today, but many construction companies are slowly transitioning to a more efficient approach, including using a single communication platform. With BIM, all stakeholders have access to the same 3D model, which allows for better communication and coordination.
For example, if an architect makes a change to the design of a building, that change is automatically reflected in the 3D model. This allows other stakeholders, such as the general contractor and subcontractors, to see the difference and understand how it will impact their work. This reduces the risk of misunderstandings and errors that can lead to delays and cost overruns.
Construction project management software like PlanRadar, which enables BIM integration, offers the same features. So, besides being able to collaborate through the BIM, they can use the project management platform for other communication and transaction needs.
Better visualization and interpretation
BIM enables digital prototyping and creating a 3D model of a building that includes all the necessary details, such as the dimensions of each room, the location of doors and windows, and the materials to be used in construction. Project managers can also include other relevant information, such as the electrical and plumbing systems and any structural or mechanical systems.
Using BIM, building professionals can view and interact with the model in several ways, including rotating it, zooming in and out, and creating cross-sections to see what is happening inside the walls. This allows them to understand better the building and how it will be constructed. BIM is also easier to interpret than traditional drawings replete with symbols.
More accurate cost estimates
BIM’s accurate measurements also help in creating more precise cost estimates. Traditional cost estimates are often based on incomplete information and can be prone to errors. It’s also harder to track and visualize changes affecting costs because the model can only show one aspect of the project at a time.
With BIM, a single model shows all necessary information about materials, dimensions, and systems. It also enables project managers to quantify the materials and resources needed for the project. For example, project managers can use the model to determine the number of bricks, square feet of drywall, or linear feet of plumbing pipe needed for the project. This can provide a level of accuracy that can help reduce the risk of exceeding the budget.
More comprehensive record
BIM can provide a complete record of a construction project by allowing project managers to capture and store a wide range of information about the project in a single digital model. For example, it can include detailed information about the building’s design and materials, as well as the systems and services that will be installed in the building, such as the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems.
In addition to storing this information, BIM allows for the tracking of changes to the design and construction process, which is critical to risk assessment in construction projects. This means that project managers can keep a record of any modifications made to the project, along with the reasons for the changes. The record can then be used as a basis for future planning and scheduling.
It makes it easier to identify and solve issues
Another way that BIM mitigates risk is by allowing stakeholders to identify and address potential issues before construction begins. With BIM, stakeholders can simulate different scenarios and see how they will impact the project. For example, suppose a subcontractor is planning to use a new material. In that case, the project team can use BIM to see how the material will perform under different weather conditions or loads. This helps identify potential issues before construction begins, which saves time and money.
Since BIM unifies multiple system designs, contractors can easily detect areas where these systems clash. For instance, if the model shows a conflict between the plumbing and electrical systems, work can be put on hold until the issue is resolved. And with visualization and collaboration significantly improved, solutions can be delivered more quickly without overstepping safety regulations.
As a result, more and more construction professionals are using BIM to improve the efficiency and profitability of their projects. They can enhance the capability of BIM by using construction project management software like PlanRadar.