Digital technologies are seeping into all areas of our lives, and construction is no exception. Every step of this process — from designing to maintenance and management — is now made easier thanks to Building Information Modelling (BIM).
And what is BIM exactly? To put it simply, BIM is software that allows architects, engineers, and builders to work together seamlessly. Aside from its collaborative features, BIM also has all tools necessary to design and manage a building and coordinate a project. If we take all that into account, it’s no wonder that BIM is often lauded as the future of construction.
So naturally, BIM implementation is already well underway worldwide. Despite that, we still have quite a long way to go. Looking specifically at the Asia-Pacific region, we see that approximately 58% of construction businesses use BIM in some form. The leader in this area is Singapore, which ranks eighth in the world.
But if BIM is such a powerful tool, how come more construction businesses aren’t using it? Well, for one, it can be difficult to implement effectively. To some managers, learning about new software and training the staff to use it can seem like a tall task. But if you ask us, BIM is well worth it — especially considering how much money it can save you in the long run. And here is exactly how:
BIM promotes collaboration
The better the collaboration between various teams, the more time and money you will save on the project. The reason for that is when everything is streamlined, there is less waste and fewer expensive revisions are required.
All teams get access to the same 3D model and documentation, and everyone can update them when needed, from anywhere and at any time. Whenever someone makes a change, all team members can see them. That eliminates the need for meetings and discussions and allows everyone to be on the same page at all times.
BIM keeps records for you
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to eliminate all red tape that inevitably comes with each project? If you could, you’d focus on the important aspects of construction instead of writing down who’s responsible for what. Then, the whole project would run more smoothly, which always leads to saving money.
Well, with BIM, all that is possible. BIM keeps meticulous records, listing all changes to the files, as well as who made them. It does so automatically, meaning that you’ll never have to update anything on your own. Just focus on your work and let BIM deal with the red tape!
What’s more, this record-keeping allows absolute transparency and accountability on all levels. So if there ever is a mistake, you won’t have to spend hours tracking down the one who made it. Simply look up their name in BIM software and ask them to fix what they’ve done wrong. All that should take less than fifteen minutes!
Also, don’t worry about your files getting compromised. In such an unlikely event, all you’d have to do is go back to the last saved version before the damage. By saving changes often enough, you don’t have to worry about losing the majority of your data.
Cloud integration is available
BIM sounds great for designers and managers, but unfortunately, most people don’t carry their computers to construction sites. Thus, on-site engineers and architects might not have access to it at all times. Having to call the office or travel back and forth would seriously affect their efficiency, and that’s exactly what you want to avoid.
Luckily, BIM has a solution — cloud integration. With this, BIM becomes available to everyone who has access to it, no matter where they are. As long as you have a mobile device with you — be it a smartphone or a tablet — you can open the documentation and view the information you need. That, in turn, promotes greater productivity and cost savings in the long run.
All data in one place
Just a few decades ago, you had to sift through loads of documents to find that one specific detail, cut sheet, or document you needed. No matter how well organized you were, that would always take quite some time. If you translate that time to money, who knows how much you’ve lost over the years?
But now, all data are in one place, categorized and sorted to meet your needs. Everything can find its place in BIM — from material data, cut sheets, drawings, spatial relationships between elements, and even permits and project documentation. If you need anything, it will always be readily available at your fingertips.
BIM keeps everyone informed
When you’re working on a larger project, coordinating everyone can be quite challenging. There are architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers, clients, workers, and so many others that need regular updates. Of course, you could choose to call them or send them emails, but that takes time. Wouldn’t it be easier if they could just inform themselves about the project’s progress?
No doubt that it would be, and that’s why BIM’s collaborative ability is so useful. All people who have access to the applications will be able to track the project’s progress at any time. What’s more, you don’t have to give everyone the same level of access. If you want your clients to see everything, but your suppliers only what is relevant to them, you can do that in just a few clicks.
BIM doesn’t just give brand-new tools to architects and designers but also smooths out the whole construction process. By doing so, it simultaneously helps you cut the costs, making your entire project more profitable in the end.