BIM 5 - How does the future look?

26 April 2018 Kingspan Insulation UK
BIM for the baffled part 2 why use BIM

Welcome back to our BIM series BIM 5. The idea behind this series is to give you a simple and easy way of understanding a number of topics related to BIM, without the excessive jargon. Each article consists of five points to do with a specific topic; these can be anything from information on standards to our experiences with BIM. However, if you still have any questions we haven't answered, just let us know.

In the last article of our BIM 5 series we’ll be looking at how BIM could develop and evolve over the next few years as well as considering some of the new technology that is on the horizon. 

1. Looking towards Level 4

As discussed in our previous article, following available government guidance is one of the key steps in achieving success with your Building Information Modeling. At the moment in the UK all centrally procured government projects require BIM Level 2 maturity. The next step, Level 3 BIM compliance is predicted to set open data standards which will make it easier to share data and establish contractual frameworks for projects in order to make consistency easier to achieve. In the near future we are expecting Level 3 compliance to be confirmed and rolled out. We will then be looking towards Level 4 BIM and we are eager to see how the industry is going to evolve with BIM and what possibilities that will create.

2. AR & VR

Augmented and virtual reality are technologies that have been available for some time now, but only now we are seeing them enter the realm of everyday life on a larger scale. Both AR & VR applications have a lot of potential in the construction industry. A number of companies have started investing into these technologies, developing things like AR helmets that can highlight any hazards and safety concerns to the user to taking a virtual tour of a finished model. The technology might still be underused but the potential it has within the construction industry is a game changer. 

3. 3D Printing

There is a lot of research going into how 3D printing can be used within the construction industry. Prototypes have already begun to be developed from 3D printed steel bridges to 3D printed homes. It’s a very exciting time for the industry and there is no reason why in the near future you couldn’t send your BIM model to a 3D printer for it to then print, with pinpoint accuracy, the full size building onsite or even print small sections of the building offsite to then be transported and assembled. This really could be the future of constructing buildings.

4. Robotics

Huge strides have been made in the development of robotics within the construction industry. Drones / UAVs are becoming widely used in the industry for health and safety inspections, progress reporting and most prominently in site surveying. In the near future we could even see them used for product deliveries. Exoskeletons may be a common day occurrence in the near future. These wearable mechanical suits could take the strain of lifting heavy equipment, machinery and supplies and will help overcome physical weaknesses that we humans have. They could transform our building site environments with increased productivity and helping to address the shortage of skilled labour. If robotics can get past the concept of being science fiction and the extravagant cost that is required to produce them, they can have huge potential. 

5. Big Data + AI

As an industry, construction has been very slow to digitise and it’s still predominantly paper based. However, today more and more construction companies are taking advantage of big data. In the future, it is predicted that building designs will be informed by data, not the other way around. Taking this a step further, it is not only within the realm of science fiction to think that one day artificial intelligence systems will make decisions on what and where to build based on BIM data.

While some of the points discussed are probably going to become a reality faster than others, it’s exciting to see how these futuristic ideas are being created and developed here and now. BIM is still at the start of its journey, and it will be facing a lot of changes in the near future as the construction industry evolves and embraces these new technologies. While that will mean a lot of disruption in the way we make and use the objects and require learning new skills, we are looking forward to finding out the future of BIM.