Building information modelling (BIM) has expanded rapidly in recent years, with construction, design, engineering, facilities management, real estate and infrastructure companies across the globe adopting BIM software to improve their workflow processes and streamline construction. Construction companies that use BIM tools have seen significant improvements in efficiency, safety, and cost control.
This article will explore what BIM is all about, how it works, some of the benefits of using BIM software, how it’s used in project management, and why it is needed!
What is Building Information Modelling (BIM)?
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process and digital platform used by construction companies to streamline their operations and maximise efficiency. BIM software provides all the necessary tools, resources, and information needed to manage construction projects from start to finish. It helps construction companies visualise, plan, coordinate and execute building projects in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
BIM software aids construction managers in understanding the complexity of construction projects, tracking project progress and scheduling tasks to ensure on-time delivery. It also helps them make better decisions by helping them to analyse data quickly and accurately. Additionally, it can help reduce costs by providing accurate cost estimates for materials, labour and equipment across all phases of the project. BIM software is essential for construction companies, as it allows them to make well-informed decisions and maximise their profits.
BIM can be used for many purposes:
- To improve design quality by including all relevant information from different disciplines into one single model
- To increase project efficiency by reducing errors and rework;
- To ensure safety on site by modelling even hazardous areas with great precision;
- To save money in terms of better management of resources such as energy consumption or maintenance costs.
There are two main ways that BIM can enable construction projects :
- Streamlines processes and reduces costs while increasing efficiency along the way
- Increases collaboration between teams, ensuring everyone is on the same page throughout every stage of the project.
The evolution of BIM
BIM started as a way to coordinate design and construction, and has since expanded to every aspect of a building’s life cycle—from design to construction and maintenance. And as is the case with other computer-based tools over the years, once something becomes widely adopted across industries, it inevitably gets adapted for different purposes. What started as a tool exclusively used by architects who needed help coordinating their team has now become a highly specialised skill that’s used throughout all phases of any building project. While BIM as a software is popular right now in the construction industry, BIM as a concept has been existing for decades. With the advent of cloud, BIM software platform has become more collaborative and widespread in construction projects around the globe.
Why is BIM needed in construction projects?
BIM is a way to create a virtual model of a building before it is built. One can think of it as a living, breathing 3D blueprint that allows all stakeholders on the project to receive instant feedback on changes they make to their part of the project, including contractors, architects, and engineers. For example, if an engineer changes something in his or her model—a column placement or structural detail—the change will be reflected in everyone’s models immediately, making it easier for others working with him or her to see what has changed.
BIM software is a powerful tool used to streamline and improve the effectiveness of building projects. It helps to reduce wasteful spending and labour costs, while also providing greater insight into project progress, scheduling, and cost analysis. BIM software can be used to create detailed 3D models of the construction site that can be used to visualise various aspects of the project, such as materials and labour, or to help troubleshoot any errors that may arise in the construction process..
Additionally, BIM software allows for easy collaboration between multiple parties involved in a construction project, including contractors, designers, and engineers. This helps to ensure that each party is on the same page when it comes to understanding the scope of the project and any changes that need to be made throughout the process. BIM software also helps increase safety by providing clear documentation for all steps of the building process.
Finally, BIM software can help to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects by ensuring that all materials used are sustainable, and that energy efficiency is taken into account when designing a structure. All in all, BIM software is an invaluable tool for improving the effectiveness of construction projects.
Designing a construction project with BIM
BIM allows construction project architects, engineers, and managers to model a project in its entirety. Once the model is complete, it can be used as the basis for the design and construction processes.
BIM software allows architects to create 3D models that include both physical elements (such as walls, doors, and windows) and non-physical ones (like furniture placement or power outlets). It’s not just useful for designing buildings—it can also be used to plan out electrical systems or even whole cities.
Here are some BIM use cases that can enable a construction project:
1. Multiple models for different situations
There are many different types of models that BIM allows to create. Some common examples include floor plans, site plans, and 3D representations of interiors and exteriors in full 360-degree views. These digital images can be shared with all stakeholders involved in the project so everyone can see what’s happening at any given moment without having been physically present during any particular step along the way—which means less confusion down the road when something goes wrong unexpectedly!
2. Enables smart buildings
A smart building is one that can respond to its environment in real time based on factors such as weather conditions, occupancy levels, energy costs, etc., in order to maximise efficiency and minimise costs. For example, a smart building might be able to adjust its thermostat setting based on whether or not anyone is currently occupying the space. Or it might turn off lights automatically when all occupants have left for the day. But how can this kind of automation be achieved? The key lies in how BIM helps architects design their buildings with systems that can be controlled remotely by other software applications—in essence creating an interface between different systems so they can communicate with each other.
3. Improves data collection and building safety
BIM brings together data from all aspects of a building’s construction, including site and structural plans, cost estimates, material specifications, equipment lists, and more. BIM helps collect data about the building process in a way that’s easy to access, share, and use. This means that construction managers can access information from every step of the process—from design to construction—without having to do any extra work. This is especially useful when it comes to building safety assessments and compliances.
4. Enables future-proof, resilient infrastructure
This is especially useful if a building is located in a flood zone or other area that’s prone to natural disasters. BIM software can help ensure that a new structure will be strong enough to withstand extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Many cities require builders to use BIM software when designing new buildings so they can better prepare for these types of emergencies.
5. Reduces mistakes
BIM is also great to avoid costly mistakes and defects during construction. For example, if the initial drawings show that a wall needs to be reinforced with steel beams but it’s not included in the building plans, then it may not stand up properly when put into action. This can lead to wasted materials and labour costs as well as delays in the project timeline.
In conclusion, BIM management is a way of making the construction design process more efficient, effective, and collaborative. It can help with communication and transparency among all stakeholders in the project, enabling everyone to work together towards a common goal.
Construction managers, engineers, and architects can use BIM effectively by understanding the types of models used and using the software
- to aggregate and integrate data across the construction project for building safety assessments and compliances,
- to predict weather impact and build resilient infrastructure, and
- to reduce mistakes that can happen during construction.