What is BIM in construction management? BIM in construction industry.
BIM is the talk of the town in the construction industry nowadays. While the term itself is not exactly new, just a few years ago BIM was somewhat unheard of. People know that BIM stands for Building Information Modeling, but few understand what it means or how broad the scope of this technology is.
The definition of BIM in construction
So, what is BIM in construction? Building Information Modelling is a complex procedure that includes interaction with information from different construction stages, along with cooperation and general management of a project. The typical output of BIM is an informational model of a building that includes granular bits of information about how it was built, history of the decisions that were made at what stages, and other critical information. A popular misconception about the definition of BIM in construction is that it’s just an extension of traditional 3D modeling software – but it’s so much more.
Another way to describe what BIM means is to see it as a unified information resource about a specific facility, from the conceptualization, to the regular maintenance, or even demolition. The interaction between BIM and construction management as a process is not as difficult as it seems. Some of the other fields that BIM covers are light analysis, geographical info, building components (quantities, properties, etc.), spatial relationships, and so on.
BIM technology in details
One particular BIM construction meaning describes it as a combination of various “objects” of different size, value and purpose, with their own geometry, attributes, relations, and so on. One of the prime advantages of using BIM is consistency – all of the participants of the project work within the same system and with the same project format, with no additional time and effort needed to unify all of the results.
Generally speaking, the use of BIM in construction provides a plethora of different benefits. We’ll go over those benefits in more detail a bit later, but now we have three main areas that BIM makes the most noticeable difference:
- Development and Simulation;
- Visualization and Cooperation;
- Clash Detection.
The development and simulation make the entire construction process more manageable by helping project managers apply different conditions and events to their model, and thus creating predictions about various topics like energy efficiency or the optimal construction material, and so on.
Visualization and cooperation is also a significant part of BIM application in construction. A correct and realistic model of a project allows different teams within the same construction process to address possible problems collectively, issue updates to the model, and ensure everyone is on the same page. Running alternative scenarios with visualization is also possible with BIM.
Clash detection is another area that heavily benefits from BIM inclusion. By making realistic visuals of the project, contractors can easily detect and solve clashes in construction before the building is built. For example, it’s quite easy to detect the clashing of electrical fittings and plumbing fittings with properly implemented BIM.
There’s a number of different subsets of BIM, described in terms of dimensions – with both usual 2D and 3D being different levels, as well as more complex levels including 4D, 5D, and so on. There’s still a lot of debate about the right interpretation of different dimensions after 6D that are still subject to a change.
There are 3 usual dimensions representing 3D construction. 4D refers to the dimension of “time” being added to the previous three – evaluating different aspects of the construction project in the temporal aspect, improving schedules, logistic plans, and so on.
5D means adding another dimension of “cost” to the equation, making it easier to generate overall budgets and financial representations of the project. 6D refers to adding facility management to the project, broadly describing building services and elements with geometry and property capabilities, and so on.
Benefits of BIM in construction industry
Taking a slightly different approach to BIM advantages during the construction process – here’s ten of the most significant improvements over the BIM-less system:
- Changes monitoring. Better monitoring of the different project parts in general, the ability to roll back everything if the last change displays an error – saving a lot of time for the designers when compared to the previous iterations.
- Clash detection. The entire process is automated, allowing you to see the possible clashes between different BIM objects from the get-go, which saves time and money throughout the project lifecycle.
- Improved scheduling/sequencing. It’s true that BIM can save a lot of money but it also works as a time-reducing tool. Removing various setbacks from the construction process, easy modification and the overall simultaneous documentation allows companies to save plenty of time that they would otherwise spend on the unnecessary changes and nuances.
- More time-effective projects. Due to the numerous advantages of BIM, companies can improve their entire project timelines by reducing or removing mistakes, adjustments, reiterations and so on.
- Lowered risks and expenses. There are plenty of ways that BIM can reduce both risks and expenses of a project, like better coordination with contractors, improved accuracy of models in general, a single document database, easy coordination and cooperation, and more.
- Accurate cost assessments. This is the direct representative of the 5D level of BIM that includes the “cost” dimension in the equation, resulting in an automated cost evaluation of your projects in real-time. It can be used to see the estimated cost of the entire project, or to see the effect a specific object can cause to the entire project’s price, alongside other examples.
- Improvements in teamwork and communication in general. It is possible via several different technologies, like cloud accessibility of the project, better project framework distribution, and seamless interfacing with different project fields.
- Productivity improvements. Various BIM tools are capable of generating diagrams and production processes, which significantly increase the overall work productivity by taking advantage of technologies like preconstruction and modular development.
- Planning stage with project visualization. The ability to see the entire project’s model before the construction process begins lowers the risk of time-consuming and expensive modifications to fix a specific oversight or a simple mistake.
- Development sites are more secure. BIM can automatically identify problematic zones and potential logistic disasters in advance, saving both time and money for the company, as well as creating a safer place for the team members.
The impact of BIM in construction industry is significant since it allows companies to prevent costly mistakes caused by human error. BIM is another way of bringing cutting-edge technologies to the construction industry, raising the overall quality of projects. This also goes for the overall value of each project, with impressive visualization, simulation capabilities for different data types and the overall connection of different stages into one single process – BIM technology can revolutionize the way companies build.