In this second post in our series of blogs about Building Information Modelling (BIM) we will be discussing why we need to embrace the use of BIM within the industry, and the benefits we will see from it once it is in place.
These benefits will be seen not only over the design and construction stages of the project, but from initial concept and planning through to end use and final demolition.
BIM enables more creative designs to be produced due to the tools available within the software (more organic forms can be created, and more product options are now at the designer’s fingertips to try to develop within the design). It also enables the design process to be more efficient due to the level and type of data provided, and the way the design can be developed. For example, models can be used to detect clashes in the building that might not otherwise be found until on site, and this can reduce the cost by changing the design early on and not during construction.
Through life model
But this model can be useful in more than just the design and build stages of the project lifecycle. It can give users facility management information throughout the life of the building which can make maintenance and repairs simpler and cheaper. For example having increased data available about the specifications of a building, during the time when it is in use, means that the location of pipes and valves can be easily shared with maintenance personnel so they can go straight to them without wasting time chasing pipework around a building to find a particular valve. If there is a problem in one of the systems within the building then likely areas of investigation can be identified from the model, cutting down on the time taken to find the issue.
The model can be interrogated for information about the location of filters in ductwork when they need changing, the material used in the construction of walls when a new door is added and many, many other features. This could save costs in maintenance and upkeep throughout the life cycle of the building. Replacement parts can also be easily sourced as they will be shown as manufacturer’s objects in the model, with the correct data and warranty information, along with the manufacturer’s contact details. This is basically a neater, more efficient and more up-to-date version of building manuals. Of course, the building information data entered into the model needs to be accurate and kept up-to-date to gain the most benefit from the model. The old adage of ‘rubbish in’ meaning ‘rubbish out’ is particularly true.
It is important that BIM isn’t seen as just a computer model, but more of a process.
Then if the building needs to be demolished it is easy to look at the model to see the details of how it was made, how best to take it apart and any areas that may require special handling before it is taken apart.
The Government has specified the use of BIM on all publicly procured construction projects from 2016, as they feel that by using BIM on a project it can allow savings to be made in money, time and effort throughout the lifecycle of the project. For more information see the Government Construction Strategy 2011, which explains in detail the reasons that the Government have decided these changes to the industry are required, and the strategies that have been developed to achieve their targets.
For more details on how BIM works have a look at the rest of this series of blog posts on BIM.