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The promise of Building Information Modelling

28 · OCT ·2015

Earlier this week, we introduced the Government’s strategy to modernise the construction industry with Building Information Modelling (BIM), in order to achieve a 20% reduction in construction and operating costs of new builds. According to the Government: “Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a collaborative way of working, underpinned by the digital technologies which unlock more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining our assets.” But is BIM just another layer of processes and procedures that the construction industry has to endure, or a valuable asset that will redefine the way construction projects are managed?

The benefits of BIM

BIM allows everyone involved in a construction project to plan and scope out a project. For example, rather than have a series of architectural drawings and blueprints ferried between the office and the job site every time an amendment is made, the architects can make the change on the online model, which other team members can access and review at any time.

All information concerning the project is stored on this system, bringing with it a series of benefits.

Collaboration

Team work is vital when managing a large construction project. The construction team has to be aware of the latest changes and developments to the design, and office-based team members need to be aware of any issues on the site that may affect the build.

Having a single system in which everyone stores and shares information improves collaboration efforts and helps take various departments out of their silos – allowing them to work together and the project to run more efficiently.

Information management

Amendments to plans, designs and schedules can be made on the system and will be instantly available for everyone to see. Having all relevant information in one place limits the likelihood of mistakes and streamlines the construction process.

Cost and time savings

Using BIM can help control construction costs and save time. £40m was the highest estimated cost of building the Scottish Parliament, but it ended up being £414m and was completed three years late. This time and cost overrun was due to a variety of factors, including necessary design changes and key members of the project team leaving the project.

Using a BIM system can’t protect a project against every eventuality, but it does provide a complete store of collective knowledge and project progress. Ideally any experienced professional should be able to come onto the project and use the system to get up to speed with the project, whether or not the original team members are available to share their knowledge. BIM can bring great benefits to the construction sector and to society as a whole, but it’s a collaborative system. Construction workers, no matter where they’re based, need to access the data and contribute. This makes connectivity vital to the project’s success. If the government wishes to see the full benefit of BIM, it needs to continue to push for high-speed, reliable broadband throughout the country.
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Posted by Sanita Karra