In many ways, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the natural evolution of design drawing. In other ways, it’s much more. Without a doubt, The 4D design process included in building an information model can be invaluable when visualizing building projects and presenting that design vision to relevant stakeholders. At the same time, it turns that vision into an actionable work document that increases the chances of successful construction.
BIM, at its core, results in a visualized file that includes all variables that could possibly be needed to construct the actual project. Provide the right input, and the output will be a complex model with all the information anyone involved in the construction process needs to succeed in their work. More specifically, the benefits of BIM for the construction process can be narrowed down to five individual components.
1) Expanded Scope
Traditionally, building a model of a construction project has focused first and foremost on the visualization of the building or infrastructure to be built. Professionals involved in the construction process can use this type of CAD model as a guideline on how to proceed, but not necessarily as an exact calculation of variables involved.
That’s no longer true in a BIM environment. Here, these variables are not just included, but highlighted. Thermal modeling, for instance, is just as much a part of BIM as natural light flow and the HVAC systems incorporated in the final design.
In other words, moving from more traditional architectural drawings to BIM means expanding the scope of the model from which your team will work. That expanded scope, in return, will lead to significantly increased reliability of the model, as well as a greater reliance on it for planning purposes.
2) Projecting Constructability and Price
The above-mentioned expanded scope, in turn, helps construction managers and stakeholders better understand what exactly will be involved in building the final project. Think of BIM as building the actual project digitally, in its complete form, before engaging in the construction process in a real-world environment.
Building digitally first means being able to project exactly how realistic the project actually will be. Now, you can project not only where the HVAC system will run or how electricity will be set up, but also understand the constructability of it on a larger scale.
Who will be need to be involved in the process? What are the individual timelines needed, based on scope of work? Do the countless variables involved make the project difficult or even impossible to execute? All of these questions will be needed to begin construction, and all of them can be answered with an accurate building information model.
Of course, another major consideration in any type of construction project is price. A traditional CAD architectural model usually does not allow for accurate pricing projections. BIM, on the other hand, includes enough variables to actually predict both individual and overall construction pricing.
3) Increased Stakeholder Coordination
Anyone involved in construction management knows that one of the most difficult parts of completing a project is making sure that everyone involved is on the same page. That involves not only the various construction professionals responsible for anything from brick laying to HVAC and electrical installation, but also the client, shareholders, and anyone else who might have to sign of on parts of all of the project before completion.
Here, the complexity of BIM once again proves to be a significant benefit. Because it includes a wide range of variables related to construction, and visualizes all of them in a single model, it allows for more coordinated collaboration of all stakeholders involved in the process.
The projection possibilities mentioned above also play into this benefit. BIM allows not just for a reasonably accurate timeline of the project, but for a breakdown of that timeline according to individual construction responsibilities. The result, greater coordination, will play a major part in guiding the project to completion.