BIM is the process of designing a building collaboratively, using one single system of computer models, rather than separate sets of drawings. Standing for Building Information Modelling, BIM is a new way of working, and a digital revolution for the building sector.
Who can use BIM?
Currently, BIM is mainly used for large scale projects and public developments. By streamlining processes, it helps to deliver projects more effectively, particularly when a lot of contractors are involved.
But the benefits of BIM apply to any contractor within the construction business, as it helps save cost and time, give more accurate estimates and avoid errors leading to alterations and redoing work.
From some contractors' point of view, BIM may seem restrictive or a waste of time. However, when you think about a project, streamlining can help you avoid a lot of potential headaches, and that includes managing your customer and their expectations.
How does BIM work?
In a BIM 3D design tool, each element of a home design is called an object. Objects can be reused in other designs, which will save a lot of time in the drafting stage. 3D representation helps identify potential issues better than traditional 2D CAD designs (e.g. it is easier to see that a skylight is intersecting with a joist). Even better, in the BIM object for this skylight, you can attach details such as size, type, materials, brand, etc. A component enable suppliers to send their prices, which will be stored within the system, enabling you to compare cost options easily.
Why should you start using BIM for your projects?
There will be less need for unexpected changes of plan and last minute requests from the customer, as the whole project will now be “locked-in” a common software used by all parties. And, if the job has to be modified, it will then be much easier to understand and evaluate the impact, thus ensuring that everyone knows what they need to change at their level.
“Beginning with the crash of 2006, builders have become increasingly desperate to reduce costs and have pushed themselves to the limit, yet we see them walk right past some of their greatest savings opportunities. […] There is a gold mine sitting right under their noses, yet builders fail to tap it because they don’t know how to identify, measure and track waste. Most who do see it simply assume these costs are just part of doing business, or are just too difficult to deal with.”
Scott Sedam, President of TrueNorth Development
BIM will become more and more common in the future, as the Government have already mandated its use on public contracts valued over £50 million. It can lead to great savings, less waste of materials, a quicker turnover of projects through better planning and ultimately, better profits.
So, are you ready to take the plunge and consider using lean project management techniques and BIM for your future projects?