Building Information Modelling (BIM) is used to help document, design, and support the building of infrastructures as well as improving the overall efficiency of projects. Even the smallest of details can be designed in BIM, from the type of material used to the thickness of it, and the final finish. There are many ways this can be used, including creating visuals that help bring a project to life, testing certain build-ups and how they will look, and exploring the design options that are available.
BIM is nothing new to the construction industry. It’s likely that you’ve seen or heard of BIM objects, 3D models, or Common Data Environment (CDE) if you’ve worked in the architectural or construction contracting field.
However, just because it’s not new to the industry doesn’t mean you are using BIM to its full, competitive edge by now. Other than BIM helping all parties in the supply chain complete the job in process, it can also help to drastically cut both costs and time in the design and constructing process of a building. Here, we discuss the importance of BIM and how it could save many industries a great amount of money, energy, and carbon.
What is BIM?
Originally introduced to help make the workflow in a construction project more efficient and less wasteful, BIM has been around for more than a decade. When it comes to saving on energy, carbon, and money, BIM can be used to effectively do this.
Whether it be for manufacturing, architect work, rainscreen cladding, or main contractors, every individual has a preferred way of using the tools and techniques that BIM has to offer. Depending on the individuals’ core functionalities, the process can be tailored to suit this.
Participants can use BIM for many functions, including the following:
- To improve document management
- To coordinate actions
- To map out the entire lifecycle of a project
- To plan, design, and build operations and ongoing maintenance
What are the main benefits of BIM?
Depending on your objectives as an organisation, the main benefits of BIM will vary. However, there are two main benefits to using BIM.
This relates to the design and capital expenditure aspect of the project. A user will be able to cost up a project effectively and efficiently when using BIM objects supplied directly by the manufactures. Other than the cost of the material, there are additional costs that must be considered such as the energy required to produce the materials and carbon footprint created as a result. By working closely with manufacturers and slightly tweaking some design aspects of the project, users can see how different materials and processes can affect the overall cost and environmental impact of a building.
Overall, this means designers will be able to explore the different options in the beginning stages and specify the most cost-effective material and system.
This relates to the operations and running of a building. By using BIM documentaries for the Facility Management (FM) team, the asset information for each material and element of the build is digitised. This makes it easy for the FM team to search for the manufacturer that provided the specific object, whether it be a lift or even a door handle, and either re-order or use the warranty to replace the specific component.
By combining CapEx and OpEx, the benefits produced include increased productivity, higher quality work, and stronger project coordination. This in turn leads to improved relationships and further opportunities for collaboration on other projects.
Three common mistakes made with BIM modelling
It’s common for the odd mistake to happen during any process, not just the BIM one. However, some mistakes happen more often than others.
The first is that the models that producers receive sometimes lack the manufacturing details that are required. The key to solving this is to involve producers earlier in the project so that they can gather all the information they need.
Another common mistake is setting the desired thickness of the material to one that isn’t possible to achieve in certain projects. For example, a specified thickness of 2mm for a certain object wouldn’t be feasible when 3mm is required for the material in question to function correctly. Although it seems just a small change, this creates a domino effect for all other aspects of the model that will need to be changed.
A third common mistake is potential clashing that can occur between elements. For example, if the return isn’t correct on the notch details or panels, then they might clash. Or, the panels overlap the wrong way round, making them ineffective. The good thing is that if this is spotted on one floor of the building, then the corrections can be replicated on the other floors.
Any mistakes can take days or weeks to rectify, and they can be 100 per cent avoidable if spotted sooner!
BIM and the construction supply chain: What can it offer?
Other than BIM being used to help enrich information via 3D modelling, it is also about creating a more efficient process and removing unnecessary aspects. BIM will help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of processes in the construction supply chain. In fact, when it comes to energy, time, and money, users can expect a 20–30 per cent gain when making the most of BIM.
Those involved in the use of BIM can manipulate and change models in many ways. From trying different materials and colours to changing the shape, and moving them around, BIM allows for all to be tested. You can even look at the radius and gauge of aluminium, shape, thickness, and paint type, meaning all information about the materials you need to complete a building is specified in BIM objects. By 2025, BIM intends to entirely digitalise the industry.
Another benefit of using BIM is that when using the latest objects that have been provided by the manufacturer, the federated model can show you what is currently possible by updating in real time. During the design stage, if any materials have been decommissioned or changed, then the user will be notified about this. This means that they can work on making the changes immediately, rather than it becoming an issue at stage five of the process.
Using BIM as part of your building’s development supports many aspects of your project. Other than being a fundamental part of the construction industry for many years already, BIM could be the future for saving on money, energy, and carbon in the most effective way.