Construction Management Software

The Dominance of BIM in the Construction Industry is Never Going to End

The Dominance of BIM in the Construction Industry is Never Going to End

Modern construction & engineering companies and architects are always looking for better ways to establish collaborative and systematic work environments so that they can complete high-quality building projects and deliver them in a timely and cost-effective manner. BIM plays an important role here.

The after-effects of the global pandemic Covid-19 have already put the construction companies into a difficult phase. Currently, the industry is facing multiple challenges like increased costs of raw materials, scarcity of qualified workers, downfall in revenue generation due to the overall economic recession, and very less takers for the completed projects, and so on However, there are few companies who could sail smoothly and survive even during disruptions. The reason they quote is the right choice to invest in an efficient construction management solution like Building Information Modeling (BIM). 

BIM encompasses different construction management systems and designing tools to make every phase of the construction as seamless, efficient, safe, effective, flawless, and budget-friendly as possible. It fosters real-time collaboration and visibility over every intricate design process and project detail, eliminating the chances of budget overruns and construction flaws.

BIM adoption is growing by leaps and bounds and gaining huge momentum over the past few years. Several companies in the construction business were already using technology even before this pandemic. By necessity, the AEC industry (architects, engineers, contractors), suppliers, and others related to this business are slowly shifting towards working and collaborating digitally to connect, remain competitive, and master operational efficiency. BIM allows such professionals to carry out this as an integrated and comprehensive construction management software.

BIM is evolving every day, poised for a breakthrough, and is here to stay. The sections below will help you get a clarity about BIM and its prominent benefits to the construction industry, and how its dominance is never going to end.

What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

Building Information Modeling or Building Information Management (BIM) is a tool that generates  3D models of a building or structure to ensure efficient designing, planning, and construction of any building project. BIM software is specially designed for the use of architects, engineers, and construction (AEC) companies that need to visualize a building or maintenance project before its commencement.

What is BIM?

The facility to view the project components in a 3 dimensional format offers  better control over the construction processes. Such incorporation of BIM into the design process  can assist  professionals to schedule materials & resources, maintain quality, estimate costs, and streamline the entire construction project lifecycle to gain maximum productivity. Besides that, BIM includes high-end collaborative features, allowing the entire team working on a single building project to add their expertise and achieve their common goals. The blueprints, legal documents, schedules, and everything related to a construction project can be stored in a centralized location and updated on a real-time basis with the help of BIM. Thus, it enables the engineers and architects to add their expertise to the shared construction projects and achieve their common goals.

Emergence and Growth of BIM

1970s - The concept of BIM was first introduced in the form of hand-drawn building models. It got a breakthrough in 1975 when US professor Charles M. Eastman published a paper named "The Use of Computers Instead of Drawings in Design." 

1980s - Applications like RUCAPS, Sonata, Reflex, Gable 4D Series, Chuck Eastman's Building Description System, and GLIDE were introduced that demonstrated the significance of digitization of drawings, maps, facades, models, and perspectives. The only drawback then was that the hardware required to run these applications was quite expensive and restricted the businesses from adopting and using them.

However, among all the BIM systems introduced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, RUCAPS became the most widely used and was even applied to build The British Library - UK's largest building built in the 20th century.

Mid 1980s to the end of the 1990s - Better hardware, stronger computers were introduced, and that fueled the progress of BIM. Moreover, the popularity of the internet in this era also enabled engineers and architects to exchange digital files instead of handmade drawings.

2000s - BIM was not only used for designing structures but also aided collaboration among the teams of designers, architects, engineers, and construction professionals. 

2010 - 2020 - New advancements fueled by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning enabled interoperability with AR and VR tools, facilitating 3D printing and prefabrication and pushing the capabilities and potentials of the BIM software and construction tools to the next level.

BIM Evolution

Today, BIM is an integral part of the construction and architecture sector. Integrated building information modeling allows even intermediate-level professionals to deliver flawless building construction and maintenance projects in a minimum time frame. The adoption of BIM technology within AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) companies is growing rapidly. As per a recent report, 49% of surveyed builders said that they apply BIM in their companies for visualizations. The below image indicates the same.

BIM Purpose
(Source:Statista)

Why is the Use of BIM Becoming a Norm in Construction Projects?

Currently, BIM is no longer an ultramodern approach to construction; it has become a mandatory outlook towards building structures in many countries. For instance, in the UK (Global Leader in BIM adoption), the Government made it mandatory for construction companies to use BIM software in 2012. That instigated a dramatic increase in the adoption rate of BIM here. On the other hand, the US Government has not imposed such a mandate on construction companies. Still, for the AEC (Architectural, Engineering, and Construction) companies, the use of BIM technology is becoming the norm as it enables them to follow a systematic and futuristic approach towards their construction projects, implement effective labor management, control costs, and stay competitive.

National BIM Survey
(Source: National BIM Survey)

Thus, the future holds a fortune for digitally transformed companies ready to incorporate BIM in their processes. BIM is consistently rising in terms of interoperability with the latest technologies and tools to optimize all the stages of construction projects' lifecycle seamlessly. Let's have a look at how BIM is used throughout the construction project lifecycle.

How is BIM Used Throughout a Construction Project Lifecycle?

Building information modeling incorporates smart insights into the tangible aspects of building construction. BIM is often confused with CAD, which is meant for only drafting and designing a construction project. On the contrary, BIM plays an important role in every stage of the construction project lifecycle going further beyond the project's design phase. Below are the phases of a construction project wherein BIM plays an important role.

Role of BIM

The prominent role of BIM in construction and building projects explained above clearly states that it continues to benefit the project even after its construction is over. It helps revolutionize the construction strategies from inception to completion and follows a very systematic approach towards designing, planning, constructing, and maintaining a project. Improved building quality, minimized project delays, and reduced financial risks are some of the major benefits being inherited by the companies that have adopted the BIM process throughout their construction project lifecycle. 

Let's have a look at how BIM is benefitting the construction industry in detail:

Benefits of Using BIM

Enables Projects Visualization in Pre Construction Stage

With the help of BIM, you can create 3D visualizations and space-use simulations before actually building the project. It enables you to have an overview of the building project from the beginning itself. This helps in minimizing the time-consuming and expensive changes in the project at a later stage when it is half-constructed or about to complete.

Allows Estimating Project Costs Accurately

When you have a detailed building model in front of you, it becomes easier to accurately estimate the raw materials and resources required to complete the project. The model-based construction plan generated by the BIM makes the process of estimating quick and accurate as it provides better and realistic insights into the plan to be executed.

Provides Better Insights into Ongoing and Finished Projects

BIM allows collaboration and updating the information about the building projects on a real-time basis. This helps monitor the status of the ongoing and finished projects and make better decisions benefitting productivity and revenue generation. Tracking the progress of the project on an ongoing basis helps in avoiding unnecessary delays and reworks.

Improves Communication and Collaboration

BIM is a cloud-based platform that promotes effective communication and collaboration as people from different teams and work locations can connect and share their ideas at any time. The constructors, project managers, stakeholders, and everyone involved in a building project can update models, design, estimates, etc., stored in a centralized location that is easily accessible.  

Allows Mitigating Risks and Preventing Losses

BIM enables a better overview of the project before the construction starts and enables closer collaboration with the project stakeholders. Thus, everyone from construction professionals to the project owners is aware of every intricate detail about the project. This allows detecting the risks before they even arise and preventing the losses caused due to material wastage, absence of labor, or any other legal problem. 

Protects Health and Safety of the Construction Workers

BIM keeps the constructors, project managers, and owners about every intricate detail about the project on a real-time basis, including health and safety hazards on the construction sites. It helps architects and engineers to identify the danger zones within the site before the construction starts and take necessary measures to prevent the workers from accidents and health risks.

 Helps in Delivering Quality Building & Infrastructure Projects

A predetermined building model on hand before the construction starts leads to better planning and the construction process. BIM enables the selection of the right material and appropriate resources for every task in a construction project. Moreover, BIM helps in applying optimal methods to construct a project, identifying structural deficiencies, mitigating risks, improving accuracy, and implementing better designing aesthetics which result in enhanced building quality projects yielding profitable outcomes. 

Strengthens Facility Management and Operations

The building model created with the help of BIM also empowers the facility managers and renovators after the construction is over. Accurate estimation and digital record about the infrastructure or a building project is not only valuable in terms of building handover but is also required to maintain the building effectively for better post-occupancy use. 

Despite these extraordinary benefits of BIM, several myths exist around this concept which is becoming an obstacle to its adoption and usage. Below-mentioned are some of the most common myths and facts about BIM to gain a better understanding of this notion.

Myths and Facts About BIM

Myth #1 : BIM and CAD are the Same

Fact : BIM (Building Information Management) is a broader concept than CAD (Computer-Aided Design). Although BIM is used for creating building models like CAD, it is much more than that. BIM includes design and textual data required to manage the entire building project starting from inception to completion. On the contrary, CAD is capable of only creating digital models for construction projects and engineering products.

Myth #2 : BIM is meant for only big and complicated projects

Fact : Not only big and complex projects, but BIM also helps small and medium construction projects achieve success because it can instigate better productivity and deliver accurate estimations during the preconstruction phase. Also, it enables better collaboration among the team members resulting in flawless project completions. 

Myth #3 : BIM is a temporary trend that has gained unnecessary attention

Fact : BIM has been here since the 1970s and is consistently growing in terms of technology and usage. The evolution and growth of BIM clearly explain that it has more to offer, and its use is gradually becoming a norm for the AEC (Architectural, Engineering, and Construction) companies. The businesses that adopt BIM are already progressing and reaping the benefits.

Myth #4 : Implementing BIM is expensive

Fact : Implementing BIM indeed requires investing in hardware and software, administrative costs, and training expenses. But, at the same time, BIM helps in detecting the risks and hazards ahead of construction, eliminates the chances of expensive reworks, and provides accurate estimations for material requirements. This proves to deliver long-term benefits and can save you from any monetary losses which outweigh its initial investment.

Myth #5 : BIM is difficult to use and time-consuming

Fact : Anything new can be perceived to be difficult and time-consuming. It can probably take some time to learn and know BIM and change the way you document projects and communicate. But, once BIM is implemented, you will soon realize that it helps deliver construction projects quickly and efficiently. In the end, the benefits of BIM will definitely yield productive and profitable results.

Debunking the myths; the fact is that BIM benefits greatly as it displays the complete view of your project in the digital form before it is even built, encouraging collaboration and improving efficiency. So, don't let these myths scare you away from using BIM, as it can prove to be a highly effective tool for your business and can even move you towards constructing smart building projects - a fresh concept in the construction industry.

So, what makes a building smart?

"Smart" buildings possess intelligent control systems and devices that interconnect with each other to provide extraordinary convenience and comfort to the people residing and working there. Bluetooth-enabled sensors, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies play a major role in making smart buildings. For example, at Oakland City Center in California, there is an advanced variable air volume system installed that can control the air quality efficiently, ensuring the health and safety of the people physically present there. Basically, smart buildings are well known for using technology to optimize space, minimize energy & water consumption, reduce wastage, execute healthy living conditions, and promote environmental performance. The occupants of smart buildings get a better living experience in terms of air quality, lighting, security, etc. At the same time, it can  save costs on electricity, water supply, and sewerage.

Can BIM Make Smart Buildings Even Smarter?

Creating smart buildings is all about asset performance and optimization to the extent that it can improve human experience and comfort. The below mentioned qualities of BIM enable it to play a major role in supporting the AEC professionals and leverage 3D modeling, VR (Virtual Reality), Walk-Through, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and many more modern technologies taking smart buildings a step further towards becoming smarter. 

Brings Projects Into Life Before They Are Built

Sensors play an important role in making a building smart. Installing detectors is important, but installing them at the right place to help detect the environment and safety issues is crucial. With its 3D visualization capabilities, BIM can help make decisions about where the sensors should be placed to make the most out of them. Combining BIM capabilities and IoT-powered sensors helps occupants of the building to experience a safe and healthy environment.

Facilitates Coordination and Collaboration

One of the most important qualities of smart buildings is that all the systems are connected. Lighting, fire alarms, water & power meters, pumps, heaters, elevators, access systems, etc., are linked together with sensors and controllers. With its strong coordination and collaboration capabilities, BIM can ensure that multiple departments responsible for lighting, elevators, access control, etc., are on the same page and execute the right connectivity strategies to acquire better results in terms of safety and environment compliance.

Augments Facility Management

In the post-construction phase monitoring the devices and sensors in a smart building can become complex without BIM software. The BIM software provides complete and accurate details about the buildings, helping the facility managers to locate the digital assets and smart components easily. This enables them to consistently monitor and detect the sensors and devices that are not working correctly or require repair and maintenance services. Ultimately BIM enables the seamless working of smart buildings even in its post-construction phase through its powerful visualization, analysis, and control capabilities.

Smart buildings are the buildings of the future, and BIM technology plays a major role in shaping this future. BIM technology can plan ahead of time even before the groundbreaking ceremony of a smart building. So, along with the future of smart buildings, the future of BIM is also exponentially bright. 

The Future of BIM - How is it Shaping the Construction Industry?

BIM has already proven its positive impact on the construction industry. The use of BIM models is becoming essential for new buildings and playing a major role in improvising the renovation process of old buildings.

Creating 3D models using CAD is now obsolete. BIM is trending as it has introduced new dimensions to the building models that include complete information, including material requirements, electrical wiring, and piping locations & installation details, and resources required to build the project. 

Besides that, the integrated BIM also enables construction professionals, workers, builders, and owners to remain updated with the time and budget allocated to complete the construction projects and thus come up with profitable results and outcomes. 

BIM equips the construction teams with the information about all final building elements, which makes estimates more precise - reducing the chances of errors and project failures. 

Moreover, the building models created using BIM stay in records throughout the entire lifespan of the building, making it easier for renovators and refurbishment teams to maintain it seamlessly when required. On the contrary, the traditional building models often remain left somewhere in old files or hard drives that are difficult to search and access after some years to project completion. Mining, and making use of the data stored through BIM software is valuable to the construction industry on the whole. Recent challenges that emerged due to the pandemic, and the sudden surge of digitalization of several processes in the construction industry, indicate an opportunistic landscape and a potential future growth potential of BIM technology.

Will BIM Flourish Further? Will there be another level of building information management technology? 

BIM will not end. On the contrary, it is growing in terms of adoption and market value due to the reasons like -

BIM Growth Reasons

Besides these reasons, the construction industry is inclined towards introducing new standards like ISO 19650 in BIM, resulting in the higher adoption rate of this technology.

BIM Software Market Growth
(Source: marketsandmarkets.com)

BIM Software Utilization
(Source: architectmagazine.com)

Post-pandemic, these numbers have increased exorbitantly. Change is inevitable in almost every sector of the economy. BIM market players are constantly focusing  on improving and innovating the model . Additionally, several integrated trends are taking BIM to the next level enabling AEC companies to deliver better projects and keep on progressing.


Latest Trends in BIM

As BIM technology is evolving, growing, and integrating new technologies, there will definitely be an improvised BIM  technology in the very near future that will enable the AEC companies to exponentially transform the way they work, deliver, and grow. 

Conclusion

The association of intelligent data with the design comes from the buzzword BIM. Today, it is possible for AEC companies to address the complete construction project lifecycle with high-end collaboration, efficiency, and accuracy with the help of building information management. From design to construction and from maintenance to renovation, BIM helps carry out all the processes in a cost-effective and energy-efficient manner. BIM is an important  construction management tool that has become an integral part of the AEC industry. The futuristic BIM can create master architects and masterpiece constructions.

Jemimah Rodriguez
Jemimah Rodriguez

Jemimah Rodriguez is a content marketing specialist having 8+ years of experience in content writing, SEO, and social media optimization. At present, she is working with GoodFirms – a reliable platform helping businesses in selecting right Software Companies & Products. For further information, you can get in touch with her on [email protected]

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