BIM Workflows and Civil Projects

GlossaryNovember 11, 2020

BIM adoption is not the most straightforward process, especially when it applies to BIM workflows with various civil infrastructure projects. While the initial investment is often seen as complicated, it’s safe to say that the advantages of a completely integrated BIM workflow significantly outweigh any of the problems that come from the initial investment.

BIM adoption

Of course, one of the main problems of adoption is that nearly all individuals that participate in the project’s creation process must adapt to the new approach, not just the higher-up or senior management of the specific company. Lucky enough, recent years have shown an impressive surge in the BIM adoption rate, making it even more alluring for companies that are still uncertain about the balance between investment and the final result.

Another part of the process that changed significantly is the noticeable return on investment (ROI) for each and every project, thanks to a plethora of BIM-related benefits like better scheduling, fewer errors, improved design, and so on. The significant increase in BIM adoption for traditional companies shows the ability of BIM to also interact with civil infrastructure projects with the same amount of usefulness.

Now that’s not to say the decision itself is the hard part, the adoption method is quite complicated, as well. In the end, applying BIM workflows requires a lot of significant changes within the company, including retooling, training, creating new jobs, and in some cases, this might include larger changes such as department reorganization. The change itself doesn’t have to happen immediately. There’s a lot of examples with companies testing newer workflows with pilot projects and introducing the changes on a per-process basis.

One major impact with this kind of change and BIM workflows is the drastic increase in the capabilities and LOD (Level of Detail) when it comes to 3D design experience. This is especially important since the majority of the BIM workflow changes are possible due to industry technology advancements, allowing for seamless integration, interoperability, and so on. The unified workflow enables models to work through different design phases with input from various departments that participate in the process, without any delay caused by different file formats or similar issues.

As it stands, there are two main ways of adopting a BIM workflow – going “all in” from the beginning, or creating an adoption roadmap with continuous improvements. The latter option might seem far more attractive for the majority of civil projects since the risk of something failing is substantially smaller in this case.

BIM workflow and why it’s so different

Saying that BIM is just another way of calling 3D modeling software is far from the truth. BIM generally represents the entire treasure trove of knowledge and information about the project at hand, eliminating various problems of legacy workflows like different file formats, disconnected processes and the massive problems with synchronization the project from the beginning stage.

The ability to simulate, create models and visualize allows for the elimination of the majority of compatibility or guideline errors that previously could not be found until the actual construction process. It’s also far easier to receive feedback about the current model from different parties within the BIM workflow, making both communication and conflict resolution that much easier and faster.

The integration of BIM workflows also symbolizes the changes in the overall phase distribution when compared to the pre-BIM situation. For example, the conceptualization phase now takes a significant amount of time since the majority of compatibility and clash errors are resolved at that stage and not in the process of actual construction, saving both time and money.

There’s also the fact that the increase in the conceptualization phase is compensated with the reduction in the integration phase. This is due to the fact that the majority of the information is within the system to begin with, shortening the entire phase. That being said, the design phase that goes after conceptualization is still relatively similar in size, but this stage also works under the fact that the entire model gets embedded with large amounts of information while significantly decreasing the time needed for the integration phase.

Conclusion

It’s easy to note that the introduction of BIM workflows affects almost every stage of the project, from the design to the actual construction and post-building maintenance. The information that the BIM provides is capable of improving the model in numerous ways, making it easier and much more effective to control the actual process from the beginning to the end.

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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