The 10 Benefits of Switching to Building Information Modelling
Find Out Why You Should Make the Change
More firms are making the switch to Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM allows firms to bring entire project teams together. The collaborative method keeps them focused on singular objectives. As a data-driven form of design, BIM allows for the creation of more accurate designs. This improves construction efficiency and provides more information to project stakeholders.
Still, many companies are hesitant to make the switch to Building Information Modelling. Many are content with using computer-aided design (CAD) and their current methods. However, as more firms and clients make the switch to BIM, those that don’t run the risk of being left behind.
Your firm may be one of those who are wary of making the change. It’s understandable. Building Information Modelling is intimidating. It’s new, which means there isn’t as much information about it as you may like. You’ll also find that some of the people you work with don’t want to make the switch, even if you do.
Yet, the benefits of Building Information Modelling far outweigh the drawbacks. Let’s examine ten of the key benefits you enjoy when you make the transition.
Benefit #1 – Realistic Design
In traditional CAD, you can create extremely realistic models. Your building will look the part, which impresses clients.
However, CAD does not take every facet of the building into account. You may design something that looks perfect on paper but isn’t workable in real life. So many things could go wrong. You might find that your building design doesn't take everything into account. For example, you may not have considered the building's wiring. This sends you back to the drawing board. It's also a problem that you may only discover when construction starts.
Building Information Modelling ensures that doesn’t happen. This is because it takes every aspect of your project site into account. The result is more detailed modelling that considers every stage of the process. Those using the BIM method benefit from more accurate, real-world data. They can input this data into their models. This creates more realistic designs that you can’t capture using paper. The end result is a design that improves efficiency when construction starts.
Benefit #2 – More Information
A traditional building model only contains the information that the architect needs. Usually, this involves the basic geometry of the building. The architect can touch up these models with various graphics effects. Designers use animations and textures to create attractive models.
However, such models don’t offer any more information to clients. They only get to see the visual aspect of the building. With BIM, you incorporate far more information into the design process. The Building Information Modelling method focuses on collaboration. This means that all the information every project stakeholder needs comes with the model.
So what does that mean? Let’s look at an example. You may have designed a building, which looks the part and has impressed your clients. However, with Building Information Modelling, that design will incorporate more information. This may include quantity take-offs, the structure of the project, and the costs involved in the design. It’s a more cohesive structure that lays the framework for the entire project team. This improves efficiency when you’re on the building site. It also cuts down on the mistakes that can cause delays and overspending.
Benefit #3 – No Wasted Work
Building Information Modelling focuses on collaboration. This cuts down on wasted work in the project. The models you create are shared via the cloud. This means everybody involved in the process can access them. It’s not just the base models that the team can tinker with, either. BIM allows everybody to add more information, or extract the information they need. All of this comes from the same model.
As a result, there is no need for the constant reworking and copying of building plans. Many in the industry find they waste countless man hours repeating work. With BIM, you won’t need to keep going back and forth with project stakeholders. You also won't need to keep making copies of the model. Instead, every bit of feedback and progress gets recorded on a single model. Each stakeholder can use its intelligence to inform the process. As such, duplicate models and unneeded information don't tie up the process.
BIM also helps when it comes to automation within the project. Even something as simple as the ability to count components automatically can save a lot of time and effort.
Benefit #4 – Conflict Resolution
The use of a single, shared model allows for much smoother collaboration between team members. It can also help you to spot any conflicts early on in the process. You can resolve issues before the project begins construction.
For example, let’s assume you have both a structural and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) design. In other methodologies, you may not even consider the MEP design until you have completed the structural design. This results in conflicts. You may have to go back and configure one or both of the designs to get them to fit together.
That’s not an issue with Building Information Modelling. Any conflict that may arise gets spotted quickly. This is because every project member shares their information and adds to the central database. This makes a previously time-consuming editing process much easier to handle.
Benefit #5 – Controlling the Workflow
Keeping track of the project workflow is a big issue for project managers. With older methodologies, it is often difficult to figure out who has worked on what and when. Manual timekeeping methods can help, but they take time to set up and even more time to analyse.
Building Information Modelling introduces automation into the process. BIM software features, such as auto saving, will show you when somebody has worked on the shared model. Most BIM software also makes regular records of the project history. Managers can access these at any time to check how the project has progressed. They can also find out who has contributed to bringing it to the point it’s at now.
Beyond that, this level of record keeping ensures productivity. You may have found yourself losing work in the past. Accidental deletions and file corruptions can delay the project. The repeated saving and versioning that is inherent to the BIM process means you always have something to go back to when such disasters occur.
Benefit #6 – Efficiency and Leanness
As mentioned, Building Information Modelling allows every team member to work concurrently. The constant influx of information ensures everybody knows where the project stands. As a result, they can adapt their workflow accordingly.
This benefits the construction process because it improves efficiency. Sustainability, building design, and maintenance issues all get pulled into a single model. This allows for more detailed planning.
This manifests itself as project leanness. You won’t find yourself ordering too many components for the work. The BIM model tells you exactly how many you need. The same goes for the other materials and resources you need to bring the project to completion. You can manage the team’s time more effectively, which increases productivity. All of this combined leads to a leaner project process, which reduces wasted time and money.
Benefit #7 – Better Simulation
Most of your clients will want to see how various real-life situations affect your design. For example, they may want to see how the sun strikes a building at various points during the day. This requires the use of in-depth simulation tools that offer more than basic lighting effects. Ideally, you’ll need to be able to program seasonal effects into the software. Such effects should come from real-world information.
BIM software offers you the opportunity to do this. The model is bolstered with real-world information. This means you can create simulations that show exactly how the building will look and operate once it’s in place.
When used properly, BIM software can handle much of the analysis that you would previously have spent many hours working on. You can program and record the information into the model, then pull any number of reports from it. All of this comes at the cost of the click of a button, rather than the hours of manual work. You'll save hours that you would have spent on reports and calculations.
Benefit #8 – Accurate Cost Estimations
As you have seen from the previous points, Building Information Modelling allows for the creation of more accurate models. These models take far more information into account than traditional CAD models. As such, you create more realistic designs.
This can help you when you’re creating cost estimations for your clients. Accuracy is crucial when estimating costs. Telling a client one figure and then delivering another can lead to the breakdown of the relationship. With Building Information Modelling, you will know exactly what you need, and how much. This means you can provide cost estimates that are accurate to the dollar. Rough approximations become a thing of the past.
Furthermore, cutting down on the amount of reworks pulls cost estimates down further. All of this leads to happier clients.
Benefit #9 – Communicating the Project’s Scope
Good communication between the project team and the client is crucial to the success of any project. Explaining the exact scope of a project is often one of the largest barriers that the project team will face. Inaccuracies at this stage could lead to the loss of trust between the project team and the client.
This is where the information sharing that is part and parcel of Building Information Modelling can help. BIM captures every aspect of the design within a single model. This means you can present a more accurate picture of a project’s scope to your clients. You can use your BIM model to outline the exact steps the project needs to take. From there you can demonstrate the eventual outcome of those steps.
Furthermore, you still receive the same benefits you would from a traditional CAD model. For example, you can still guide your clients through a 3D model. However, you now have all of the other information you need at your disposal. As a result, you can accurately communicate the project’s scope to the client.
Benefit #10 – Access the Model Anywhere
The final benefit on this list is also one of the most important. Building Information Modelling uses the cloud to store the models that you create. This is why many project stakeholders can get involved and share the information needed to bring the project to fruition.
However, the use of the cloud has other benefits as well. It allows you to access your models, and the databases behind them, no matter where you are. For example, you can use a tablet to pull up the model when you’re on the construction site. Thus, you can communicate your point to the rest of the team.
Previously, you would have needed to make copies of various documents. You would have had to transport these to the site. Now, all of that information is available to you with a few taps and swipes of a screen.
It would not be accurate to state that the transition to Building Information Modelling is easy. Your firm will have to adopt a brand new methodology. This means you move away from the tried and tested techniques that you have used for so many years. This accounts for much of the hesitancy that leads to people sticking with what they know.
Still, a focus on proper Building Information Modelling implementation will help. Put the time in to learn, and you'll reap the benefits this article covers.
You may need some help. ArchiStar Academy can help architects and engineers to get to grips with some of the core concepts behind BIM. We offer access to some of the leading BIM software at industry-best prices. Furthermore, ArchiStar Academy runs several courses that will teach you what these software packages can do. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.
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Posted on 13 Mar 2019