Implementing or understanding BIM in an organization is so much more than choosing the right design software. It’s about educating an entire organization about software tools, processes and workflows to meet stringent standards. Apart from change management it’s a big challenge.
And it gets bigger with the challenge of driving software and process adoption across geographically-diverse teams with varied levels of experience, workloads, motivation, and access to technology and learning styles. Organizations across the globe are facing a knowledge gap that prevents them from achieving the advanced consulting role they know they need to provide in today’s competitive market. This BIM Fundamentals courses is designed to help educate professionals and organizations to understand the fundamentals on processes and procedures in order to implement BIM on a project.
Internationally, the use of BIM varies significantly by region. Although not universally mainstream, it can no longer be considered to be just for early adopters. Around the world, BIM is being embraced by public and private bodies. Many governments such as the United Kingdom and Australia are beginning to require the use of BIM, and companies are basing business models around it.
BIM is fundamental to the way a project is set up and run. Let’s begin this course by breaking down the acronym, ‘BIM’ into its separate parts in order to gain a better understanding of its meaning:
Building: The ‘Building’ part of BIM refers to the structure or project in question over its lifetime. With BIM, we are able to control and manipulate the different life stages of a project, including planning, conceptual design, project construction processes, facility operations, alterations and, finally, deconstruction.
Information: In the context of BIM, we understand ‘Information’ to mean all useful information or data that is generated throughout the life cycle of a building. This includes information such as drawings, construction details, 3D renderings, technical specifications, structural calculations, facilities calculations, energy calculation, measurements, budgets, planning work, documentation and maintenance, etc.
Modelling: The ‘Model’ part of BIM makes reference to the various parts or functions that make a project work. These include planning, surveying, architecture, structure, facilities, economic viability, etc. The creation of a geometric model or digital drawing as part of this process allows buildings to be conceived collaboratively and tested virtually, before they are built and operated for real. This should reduce the problems that are encountered in construction and occupation.
These models are created from a series of objects that make up recipe. Each object is defined and coded only once and then placed in the model in multiple locations as required. If the object is then changed, these changes will appear throughout the model. This makes models automatically consistent and reduces errors.
Where Does a Contractor Fit in a BIM Process?
The contractor should be considered a member of the design team, allowed not only to manage construction but also to help manage the information that is being communicated in order to build the facility. I am not suggesting that contractors take the place of architects or engineers but rather that they be considered just as valuable a member of
the design team as the architects and engineers.
The main purpose of construction documents is to communicate the design intent to the builders from the architect. In the past this process has been linear; in this new type of process, the information is sequential: one event defi nes the event that follows, and then that defi nes another event and then another. The model is a way to virtually construct, test, change, and communicate design intent in a way that wasn’t available to the construction team before. Thus, BIM informs designers so they can make better decisions about their designs. Conversely, it allows the contractor to determine the means and methods the contractor anticipates using to build their visions as well as provide a contractor’s perspective on the design. The reward for the contractor being engaged in the construction documentation or the implementation of the documentation phase is that it provides everyone on the team with insight into the actual construction of the project. In a BIM project, while the drawing/modeling time is front-loaded, the size of the staff and the amount of time required to model the project are both reduced. The big idea in a BIM process is not only the ability to store information within the model but also the ability to communicate better. For example, using a 3D rendering during design to coordinate a piping layout makes for more informed
decisions using the model.
If you start to think of the model as a virtual construction of the fi nished product, the question becomes, how many ways can this information be used to help the design team from a contractor’s perspective? This book gives specifi c examples of integrating BIM in estimating, site coordination, construction coordination, enhanced schedule visualization, phasing, trade coordination, clash detection, sustainability issues, improved in-fi eld communication, 3D shop drawings, and facility management models that go beyond making the case for BIM, but rather defi ne a whole new level of
Using BIM also inherently improves communication. Where before we could see lines on a light table or overlaid on a computer screen, now we can see in a 3D view. Before BIM, projects consisted of coordinated plan, elevation, and section information to understand the building; now we can create sections, elevations, and perspectives quickly in real time because they are all different slices, views, and projections of the virtually constructed model.
Integrating project teams before project delivery also promotes team buy-in. As opposed to the adversarial relationships that could potentially develop between team members, a truly integrated process limits potential litigation in a BIM-focused process. The contractor understands the design intent more fully than before, as well as feeling that they have used their knowledge of construction to further inform the design team about decisions that involve actually building the design. Another great aspect about BIM is that it reduces contingencies.