Why is Building Information Technology Important?
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the hot topic of the decade for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industries. An increasing number of companies are adopting BIM for the design and construction of large projects. As such, many industry workers wonder what using BIM technology will mean for the future of construction and design.
For starters, BIM is the most information-rich approach to planning and construction, currently. It is a 3D modeling software that uses data to create highly detailed digital representations of a building in the final stages, prior to construction.
BIM has most often been used to create better collaboration and more efficient construction processes on large projects in the AEC industries: Architecture, Engineering, and Construction; along with MEP industries: Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing.
Having a detailed visualization beforehand helps Project Managers ensure cost estimations are correct and helps to avoid delays, errors, and reworkings down the line. By addressing issues before they occur, project deadlines are better met, and overage costs are avoided.
So, is BIM on the horizon as the future of construction?
The adoption of BIM in the AEC industries
BIM is steadily becoming the new standard. “Building Information Modeling has taken hold in every aspect of construction project development,” writes John Bleasby for Daily Commercial News.
Although BIM is not a new technology, more and more countries are gradually mandating the use of the technology due to its benefits. Among the countries who have mandated BIM are Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Norway, United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The United States has not implemented a national mandate for now, but in some states (Wisconsin and parts of California) BIM is required on publicly funded projects with a budget over $5 million. Outside of these areas, contractors around the United States are finding their odds of winning bids increase with the adoption of BIM software.
Additionally, a 2016 report stated that using BIM on complex buildings had a 93% satisfaction level by owners. 70% also said BIM helped them understand planning and design solutions, and 85% said BIM increased productivity.
Because BIM is changing the way we build the future, some estimate that companies who continue designing without BIM will have a hard time competing with those who do.
Another factor to consider is that by 2050 an estimated 9.7 billion people will live on the planet. To match this growth rate, 13,000 buildings will need to be constructed every day, along with 700,000 miles of road and 90,000 bridges per year by 2050. These numbers indicate the need for fast, efficient, and thorough construction – a need that BIM technology has the potential to solve.
The Benefits of BIM
The question of moving to BIM is a prominent discussion among project managers. Due to its reported value, many are predicting an increasing amount of BIM use in the future.
Among the benefits discussed is BIM’s ability to speed up the design and construction process. With accurate visualizations, estimations, and planning, BIM reduces costs by avoiding rework and helps keep projects on time and within budget. Since environmental compliance is a major factor for all construction projects, BIM may also allow a collaborator/inspector who uses epa swmm to integrate data and insights from the tool, so that compliance measurement and management becomes easier as well.
Additionally, BIM has the potential to improve collaboration and communication across teams. Seeing how different elements fit together allows opportunities to manage as a collective whole rather than separate moving pieces.
Furthermore, BIM can also be used to integrate safety measures into building design, which seems essential during construction. Regarding budget estimates, it may also be helpful when estimating the budget required for safety equipment like work platforms, safety lifts for sale, and cable harnesses. Whether a construction project is small or large, the budget for safety equipment may need to be considered in addition to other estimates.
One engineering project manager in Boston, Massachusetts, stated that BIM also helps him explain procedures more clearly to his laborers to help them understand what’s being asked.
Another benefit is that firms using BIM optimize their marketing by having it as one of their qualifiers. By adding BIM as a selling point on websites and in proposals, companies have a leg-up for winning jobs by demonstrating their confidence in the technology that everyone’s talking about.
The Challenges of BIM
Every new program is not without its drawbacks. Some firms have shared that there are challenges of using BIM technology. Some of these challenges come from smaller firms that perform less work with projects of a size large enough to require BIM.
There are also the costs of adopting BIM. Aside from the cost of the actual software, it takes additional time and training to learn the complexities of the program and how to efficiently collect and input data, a challenge small firms especially, would struggle to face.
However, with the increasing demand of BIM-use developing, even smaller firms may experience a need to explore how to implement the program.
From improved communication, accessibility, and faster turnaround rates, BIM technology for AEC workers may soon be what smart phones and social media are to the world in the digital era.
UNINTECH’s Structural Engineering team currently uses Autodesk Revit 2020, a program that leverages BIM technology, to verify designs before submitting them to clients, with plans to transition to BIM over time. Brad Aldridge, Structural and Precast division manager, states “UNINTECH has the goal of fully integrating BIM to our Structural work in the future. Currently, we are in the early stages of the transition.”
To find out ways the UNINTECH team practice collaboration, click here.
Stay informed about what developments our team is making. Sign up for our newsletter here!