While the evolution of BIM in the construction industry has led to its widespread adoption as an effective tool for creating detailed digital models of the building, what is not often explored is the ability of the tool to improve the efficiency of a construction project across all phases of development—from design coordination through preconstruction planning, scheduling and budgeting, site logistics management, material ordering and installation coordination, commissioning and handover activities at completion.
BIM can be used as a tool to improve building performance and reduce costs, create safer environments, increase occupant productivity, improve communication and provide better facilities management of existing buildings.
Architects, engineers, and contractors use BIM to create digital representations of the physical building for all stakeholders involved in the project. A major benefit of using BIM for construction projects is that it provides an efficient way for multiple parties to access information about the project including layouts, schedules, and budgets.
In this article, we explore in detail the underrated aspects of BIM software in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of construction projects.
1. Enabling sustainable buildings
BIM enables more streamlined constructing green buildings by using digitally-enhanced, sustainable methods. For example, a virtual BIM model can be used to help reduce energy usage in a building through its design, construction, and post-delivery phases with project oversight and monitoring tools.
As each of the elements of the design is constructed within a BIM model, it is possible to determine whether there are opportunities for increasing energy efficiency through changes in materials and equipment specifications or operations. The information generated from this analysis can then be incorporated into further stages of design and construction planning processes so that a more efficient end product can be achieved.
BIM can also be used to integrate environmental factors into a building’s design, such as solar orientation, air moisture and interior carbon dioxide level management, and daylighting. The use of BIM allows designers to also consider the impact of their decisions on the environment during later stages in the design process. This can lead to better-informed decisions about the types of materials used and how they are positioned within a space. In addition, it can help reduce energy consumption levels by avoiding unnecessary waste through more efficient construction practices.
2. Improving scheduling and resource allocation
BIM is a tool that allows construction managers to see, map and visualise the entire project scope before it begins. This means that they can look at the schedule, and predict how long it will take to complete specific tasks. They can also look at where resources are being used (to make sure they’re not being over-allocated in one area) while another part of the project suffers from a lack of resources.
The other major benefit of using BIM software is that it allows construction managers to see exactly how much time each task will take, and how much money each material or resource costs. With this information, they can accurately estimate how much each phase of the construction project will cost—and adjust their budget accordingly.
The bigger picture becomes clearer as well: if there are delays due to weather or equipment malfunctioning, for example, then having access to real-time updates from employees on-site means knowing immediately what needs fixing.
3. Solving problems through collaboration
BIM can help construction teams solve problems faster and easier through better collaboration. The software allows users to share information, 2D and 3D building plans, latest project updates and task management easily, as well as organise and visualise data from different sources more effectively. This can help construction managers to make decisions with confidence.
With BIM, the entire project team has access to a single source of truth about everything related to the project—from design details down to equipment specifications. When all parties involved in a project can see building details before construction begins, teams can avoid costly delays caused by miscommunication between stakeholders.
4. Keeping workers safe
Another critical way that BIM can improve efficiency is the identification of potential safety issues and risks.
With BIM, construction managers can use historical data to identify potential hazards and risks—for example, if certain types of materials have previously been found to be problematic or dangerous during construction.
By using BIM’s advanced modelling tools, construction teams can create detailed models of the project site and then run simulations on them to test the effects different scenarios might have on worker safety. They will be able to see exactly where hazardous materials are located at any given time throughout construction. This will allow workers to plan their days accordingly. They will also be able to identify potential electrical issues before they become serious concerns for both workers’ safety and project’s productivity levels.
5. Controlling material costs
With BIM, construction project managers can have a more accurate estimate of the number of materials required for the project. This is because, with BIM software, they will be able to see what it would look like before it is built and make any changes before any construction begins. For example, if there are too many windows in one area or too few lights in another area of the building, then this can be fixed before construction even begins.
BIM also helps to reduce waste by providing information on the number of materials that are being used. This means that if there is going to be extra material left over after construction has finished then construction managers know what needs to be done with it thereby reducing potential wastages.
As BIM software and BIM management tools have evolved over years, construction teams have increasingly realised that the tool can be used to improve the efficiency of a construction project across all its phases.
BIM provides benefits to all stakeholders involved in projects including owners and tenants, architects and engineers, contractors and subcontractors, and designers and planners. The software provides great value throughout all stages of the lifecycle including pre-construction planning through post-occupancy operations management.
By allowing construction managers to control material costs, identify worker safety hazards, improve scheduled resource allocation, build sustainably, and improve overall team collaboration, BIM has become a critical tool in construction management today.
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