Glossary December 14, 2020

The Importance of BIM Data Management in Construction. Why BIM Database is Important?

Table of Contents

Introduction

The biggest appeal of BIM as a whole is the ability to make the construction processes faster, cheaper, and easier to deal with. All of that is possible because of the large amounts of data that each of the BIM project parts possesses. BIM itself is not just 3D modeling, it’s much more complicated than that.

Since one of the main purposes of Building Information Modeling is basically data transfer between different parties within the project, it’s no surprise that BIM data in general plays a big role in the overall process. BIM data is what makes BIM projects so information-rich, and this data is also used to determine potential clashes and problems, among other benefits.

Benefits of BIM database management

However, as with BIM itself, you’ll need to actually start using BIM data models to their fullest to reap all of the benefits on all of the phases of your projects. Below we’ll list a few reasons why BIM data management should be used in the first place:

  • Improvements in the project control department through improved quality and cost avoidance: It’s not uncommon for the complexity of the project to increase in accordance with its size. This often brings additional problems, such as incorrect building material orders, or even order duplication. As such, this can be solved with the effective supply management that BIM data management can help with – by monitoring quantities of building materials, streamlining both the procurement and the delivery schedules.
  • Easier communication and collaboration with automated dashboards: Stakeholder meetings are an important part of any project, there’s no doubt about that. The major part of communication and collaboration is often done through those. As such, it’s also necessary for stakeholders to have supporting material in the process, to make it easier to understand more complicated matters. Right now, the distribution of said materials can be done much easier in the digital format thanks to the projects that are rich with BIM data, making it easier to collaborate with different stakeholders.
  • The usability of data insights that help with saving both time and money: Unfortunately, the building sector has had problems with both productivity and efficiency for a while now. This is why the contractors are always looking for a way to increase these parameters without sacrificing the overall project quality. Lucky enough, the addition of BIM to the project allows constructors to lessen significantly or completely eliminate the time that was previously spent analyzing the BIM data acquired from various designers in various different formats. BIM always strives to work within either one single format or a format that’s supported by all of the software appliances involved.
  • Easier to deal with geometric clashes: Speaking of different formats, the addition of BIM as a whole and more or less unified BIM data model formats allows for designers to find out about and resolve basically all of the geometrical clashes as early as the design stage. It’s possible to integrate a BIM model with almost any data or model type, including piping, electrical systems, ventilation ducts, and so on.
  • Audits and compliance: Another field that the introduction of BIM data heavily benefits from is auditing and compliance with various standards. For example, digital project models are supposed to adhere to either company’s own data standards or one of the globally accepted ones (COBie, Uniclass, etc.). To meet the compliance requirements, it’s not uncommon for BIM consultants to perform audits of the model for that exact reason. Luckily enough, the existence of BIM as a system leads to a significantly easier audit process in general thanks to the data unification, among other benefits.
  • Handover improvements: The existence of an accurate project model earlier in the design stage makes it far easier to complete the entire project with little to no clashes, errors, or time delays. Full data compliance and reduced costs are also included in the package so that both sides can benefit from the addition of BIM in the first place.

BIM Data Use Cases in Design

Another way of seeing the extent of benefits that the addition of BIM data models provides is by listing a few more specific BIM data use cases in the design stage:

  • Accurate drawings and documentation: The addition of BIM as an entire system allows the companies to generate much more accurate and consistent drawings and documentation, including, for example, floor plans and schedules – even if the floor plans were revised a few times before, the connections between different systems has led to the schedule being automatically calculated and changed every time in accordance to the changes in the floor plans.
  • Complex calculations: Speaking of calculations, BIM is also incredibly useful in that department, automating some of the hardest calculations and lessening the possibility of a human error mid calculation to as close to zero as possible. For example, it’s possible for a virtual representation of fire alarm design to automatically calculate the electrical loads for each of the circuits so that there’s no overload on the electrical system overall in the finished form of a building.
  • Easier to present the information to people less connected with the design job itself: The rapid pace of the overall technological improvement has led to the essential team members becoming more and more distant with the recent information, about some design stage issues, or something more technical. The addition of BIM allows these people to have a much easier time interacting with the system as a whole, and even draw their own benefit from the introduction of BIM data, making it possible to, say, monitor the changes in the model data to be on the lookout for the potential clashes and other information-related problems.

Two questions to think about before starting the interaction with BIM

BIM integration is not an easy feat in the slightest, and it’s expected – with the number of benefits that it can bring. The transition can be seamless if thoroughly thought through before implementation. Two questions are important, especially from the facility management standpoint, but also practical for the BIM data as a whole:

  1. What would your BIM format be?

Data usage in BIM is done via either one specific software provider that shares their own data formats with the relevant software or via one of the universally accepted file formats from standards like COBie, the one that most of the software providers can work with at least on the read-only basis.

  1. What information is needed for facility management?

BIM models often contain a plethora of different data about different elements of the project, sometimes down to the screw size. Both the contractor and the owner must understand the importance and the impact of BIM data and why it is needed for facility management. Any existing data about the project might prove useful in unexpected ways that the owner would not think of, so learning about that might be beneficial for the project in general.

Conclusion

BIM on its own is a big change for the industry, and its recent growth has been exponential. Some people say that we’re already past the stage of questioning if BIM should be used or not, now it’s more about learning how else can everyone benefit from the addition of BIM databases.

All in all, the advantages of BIM data are massive and diverse, and it’s easy to dismiss it entirely. But ignoring this list of potential benefits would probably be an enormous waste of potential for the vast majority of companies who are still not sure if the BIM is worth it after all. And it is worth it, throughout all of the project phases, in multiple ways, the benefits of BIM are numerous, and the potential of BIM data is enormous.


About the author
James Ocean

BIM/VDC Specialist. James Ocean is Head of BIMspiration at Revizto and keeps everything moving onwards and upwards. From supporting and teaching our internal team as well as our clients, James shows us the ins-and-outs and how to best leverage Revizto to maximize workflows, cut costs, and get all types of projects through the finish line.

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