Building Information modeling’ (BIM) is a term that’s been around for well over a decade and continues to gradually enter the consciousness of the architectural and construction communities at an ever-increasing rate. Trends to introduce BIM techniques are expected to intensify during the next few years, as legislation is introduced around the world, demanding increased amounts of compliance with BIM best practices. In searching for answers as to the consensus on what BIM has come to mean, it is clear that there are a lot of passionate and knowledgeable BIM evangelists out there who are keen to share their views on why BIM is such an important development for the AEC industry. Thus BIM has been implemented in all kind of projects.
BIM means ‘Building Information modeling’’: a process geared towards launching a complete construction project that includes all relevant information. We take care of the drawings, calculations, estimates, materials lists and planning. BIM has since become an umbrella term to cover many aspects.
BIM is divided into ‘Little BIM’ and ‘Big BIM’:
An important final product of the BIM process is a construction model. It is a digital 3D model which integrates architecture, building and installations. Although the model is comprehensive, it does not automatically mean that all data can be found in a single database or file. A construction model enables effective coordination and there is software to detect faults. BIM ensures a reduction in fault-related costs, since we first use the support of ‘virtual construction’ before embarking on the actual construction.
There are many definitions of what BIM is and in many ways it depends on your point of view or what you seek to gain from the approach. Sometimes it’s easier to say what BIM isn’t!
BIM is essentially value creating collaboration through the entire life-cycle of an asset, underpinned by the creation, collation and exchange of shared 3D models and intelligent, structured data attached to them.
Through careful consideration of project requirements BIM delivers improvements to the planning, design, process, technology, team, procurement, delivery and F.M. stages of a project. In terms of engineering deliverables BIM can be utilised to deliver below outputs.
Other than a digital-tool set you don’t actually use BIM, it is way of working, it’s what you do: information modeling’ and information management in a team environment. The rich 3D experience; digital simulations; rehearsals of all stages of the design, build and operate process; and the information within the models facilitate well informed decision making resulting in better business outcomes, clarity, improved communication, de-risking and ultimately better efficiency.
BIM models associate additional information about asset components with geometry in a structured way. This lets us build project documentation in a much more structured and on line way. BIM-enabled working allows this information to be shared by different project participants and also between different stages of design, construction and operation. For example, an engineer is able to use information sourced from the architect to prepare energy calculations or a contractor can check the coordination of contributions from different members of the project team. program and cost information can also be captured using BIM. Most importantly, BIM has the potential to allow information about the use of the building to be collated and held in formats useable by the operators of facilities – enabling buildings and other assets to be used and maintained efficiently.
The creation of a construction model requires a (considerable) investment of time in the initial stage of a project. From then on, it is essential to reach an agreement with your client/contractor and to avoid, after having committed to various costs during the preparation stage, it actually being a ‘traditional’ contract that is put in place.
At the beginning of a project, it is important to decide upon the model to be created, site, working method and responsibilities taken on within the model. We shall most certainly be able to advise and assist you in your first projects.
What working drawings are needed for an effective implementation of the project during the construction stage? To make detailed drawings, it is necessary to have a detailed model. This requires additional time and ‘increases the load’ of the model. It is therefore important to properly assess what is to be expected. If a model is very detailed, it should be integrated with a sound knowledge of the details.
For large projects, one can often be requested to provide a model in the form of a review document. Given that technical installation data does not always concern the building manager, often a ‘management model’ is sufficient. This enables clients to test out the project at this stage and to await the results that emerge from the concordance system for the management models.
The right software is not a goal for itself. Yet it is an important mean to reach your desired objective. This is why we remain at your disposal to advise you on the best choice for your situation: Stabicad for AutoCAD, Stabicad for Revit, Navisworks, etc.
For a fast take-off with BIM, your collaborators must gain the appropriate knowledge. Our engineers assist your collaborators by way of on-site training and support.
BIM begins with building awareness: being aware of potential improvements to be made in the areas of communication and coordination (for those who are familiar with the ‘Lean Approach’: Continuous Improvement).
Awareness building must not only take place within your organization; it must be shared among all the partners involved in the construction project. This is the only way that effective communication and exchange of data can be achieved. We all know that starting the job properly is half of the work, and that it is essential to think before we act. This is why software is needed to record everything digitally. In BIM terms, we call that ‘modeling’’.
There are four stages to implement BIM effectively:
In AEC and related domains, stakeholders with a wide range of business goals or governance goals want to bring “business process reengineering” into the world of AEC and facilities management. Old business processes no longer make sense when computers and networks can be deployed to do things better and faster. It’s valuable to note, too, that new opportunities for profit or public service arise as information and communication technologies (ICT) are integrated into workflows.BIM standard efforts involve standards from a variety of organizations, all of which are communicating with members and driven by pressure from stakeholders to improve efficiencies in virtually every commercial and public activity that involves the built environment. Their concerns encompass the planning, design, construction, management, renovation, repurposing, decommissioning and ultimate demolition of buildings, bridges, power stations, airports, highways, fuel storage facilities, refineries and ports. The stakeholders believe that BIM standards will save billions of dollars and an improved quality of life.
The global BIM standards will incorporate “business views” of information exchanged between AEC and owner / operator interests. The standards will build upon standards in use today, particularly:
In the US, the US National CAD Standard will also be one of the cornerstones as standards for 2D drawings continue to be required. Obviously, this is a diverse and voluminous collection of documents that will take considerable effort to weave together. It would be hard to imagine how this could be done, except that:
The BIM standards effort involves considerable outreach and coordination at the institutional level to gain the participation and endorsement of stakeholder organizations. It also involves technical standards work. The encoding schemas need to be agreed upon and software service interfaces, or application programming interfaces (APIs), need to be agreed upon so that interoperability is possible. Within application domains, application experts need to sift through the cumbersome superset of encoded information and settle on “application schemas” which are subsets tailored for the purposes of their particular application domains
Buildings cost more than they should to design, build and sustain and they take too long to deliver. We must do a better job of collaborating between the many stakeholders involved in the building process. In a recent NIST study lack of interoperability was identified as an additional cost to the owner of $15.8B annually but most in the industry feel that this number is significantly higher as the business opportunity of improved interoperability was not included. This aspect of our business can be improved greatly with better information management and business process re-engineering to create standard information exchanges between the stakeholders. This improved business model will not detract from the creative nature of facility design, but in fact profoundly improve the customer experience. There are some immediate actions we must take in order to change:
The fragmented nature of our industry is a legacy of atelier and, later trade union practices which were eventually codified in legal and ethical separations between owners, designers, constructors, vendors and end-users. Even when parties to the building process began using CAD technology many years ago, business practices were still compartmentalized and the underlying communications medium was still graphical abstractions of real objects represented in drawings and specifications produced on printed media. Building Information Models (BIM) actually create facilities models within a computer. Because they are digital, computer-based models of building elements are infinitely more useful than hand or computer drafted drawings.BIM is the evolutionary business transformation step needed to reform the capital facilities industry. Using BIM principles and practices, elements of the capital facilities industry are represented and exchanged digitally. Digital representation means that computers can be used to ‘build’ the capital facility project virtually, view and test it, revise it as necessary, and then output various reports and views for purchasing, fabrication, assembly, and operations. In many cases paper output may be avoided altogether when the finalized digital designs are sent directly to procurement systems and/or digital fabrication equipment. “Building” in this usage is a verb—referring to the entire life of a facility including conception, design, construction, functional life, remodeling and adaptive uses, and the recycling/disposal phases of the lifecycle. We also intend to go beyond this traditional life-cycle definition to include those supporting or dependent business views who need accurate facility information to do their jobs. This would include but not be limited to investments, risk management and first responders.
Current facility information technologies and techniques function with little or no standard business process definitions. Relatively recent developments of standardized database schema have begun to standardize the packaging of information but standardized business process definitions are required in order for the functional pieces and process participants to work together efficiently.
Interest in BIM has produced several new concepts which often originate from the USA. The most frequently used include:
This describes the various developments levels of a project, from LOD100 to LOD500 (there is a link with the level of detail originally from the world of gaming). The higher the LOD, the more details there are. A comparison may be made with our PP (provisional project) and PD (final project plan), working plans and reviewed plans scale.
A collection of documents, including contracts, which establish the collaboration between partners involved in construction. The aim is have complete documents for a project in which all participants draw upon their knowledge and experience in order to launch a successful project. It originates from the AIA – American Institute of Architects.
It is worth knowing that there are organizations that assess whether or not it would be appropriate, in our construction culture, to re-use this American terminology and these types of contract, adapting them where necessary.
We are asked this question a lot, however we think that this should be reframed as either: what’s the cost to my business if we don’t do it? Or what is the typical return on investment (ROI) if you implement BIM? The cost of BIM implementation is proportional to what outcomes you want to achieve from BIM. If treated as a business change program the principal cost will be in staff time, BIM awareness and training etc. The inconvenient truth is that you are likely to need some new digital tools, however again the cost of this will depend on what you need to do with model; data creation or management. Most BIM design review tools are free! BIM authoring tools? Typically, depending upon complexity, will be around the same as (depending where you are located globally) a worth investment to be made.
Having BIM consultant on-board is one of the easily and practical option for all of those who would like to start BIM implementation, usage and taking benefit early. Gradually one can have basic minimum BIM team working with any external consultant, which can be win-win module when it comes to optimizing BIM implementation costs, mitigating risk on complete self-dependency.
BIM, if successfully implemented, will help organization strip the waste from their processes which in many cases could be in the bandwidth of 20-30%. This can be achieved by designing and building the asset virtually, once, twice….until it can be built once flawlessly on site. Additionally this whole sector approach to BIM will bring additional opportunities in the form of exploiting existing and new export markets for UK construction “know how” and BIM ready products. The international consultancy market is highly competitive and it is important that UK companies remain ahead of the “game” in terms of new technology to approaches and the way we work.
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