Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been highlighted by the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry for several years as a powerful design and management tool that has significant benefits throughout the lifecycle of a building. Given architects are, through their professional training anywhere in the world, able to be involved both in design and management aspects of construction projects that ordinarily serve specific purposes or functions for their clients and/or end-users it is useful to understand their perspective on why BIM should be adopted for both of these areas.
However, first, it is useful to explain what architects define BIM as before going on to describe why they are in favour of adopting it. Some define BIM as “…a process, or series of workflows, using advanced digital technology, which enables a digital model of both the graphical and non-graphical information of a built asset to be created. Through BIM a digital archive of as-built information and data for owner/operators to use and support throughout the lifecycle of a built asset becomes possible.”
The benefits of BIM have been well-documented, but the interest here is to understand why architects around the world suggest that the global construction industry adopts it and adopts it early as possible. Benefits of BIM described by architects are presented here in two sections on architectural design and architectural management in the construction industry.
The advantages of BIM for the architectural design element of construction are as follows
Visualization: BIM allows projects to be developed, visualised and analyzed in 3D prior to construction.
3D digital modelling of both graphical and non-graphical data, informs the design process and assists design teams with coördination, overcoming technical design issues before construction. It also assists in the geometric modelling of building performance.
Clash detection / Design Validation: Since design team, digital models are created in proper scale in a 3D environment, conflicts or clashes between building (architectural/structural) and services elements can be detected. The use BIM in design validation reduces the costs/delays involved with rework due to design errors (some say by up to 40%).
Shared knowledge Resource: BIM is a shared knowledge resource for built asset information.
A basic premise of it is to allow collaboration by different stakeholders at different phases of the lifecycle of a built asset to insert, extract, update or change information in a digital model to support and show the roles of each stakeholder.
Through BIM design teams can develop digital models of their projects that let them gain a deeper understanding of how they will do in operation.
Lean Construction: BIM assists in simplifying construction sequencing, coordinating fabrication, material order and delivery schedules for project components and assemblies to allow just-in-time delivery efficiencies and reduce waste. It, therefore, enhances the overall sustainability of a project.
Time Savings: Architects and engineers who use BIM get more done in fewer time thanks to connected, interoperable workflows, more efficient analysis and collaboration. Some say project timescales can be reduced by as much as 15%. Through BIM overall project costs can be reduced. Compared to traditional methods of estimation, some say BIM produces more accurate estimates (some say within 3% of accuracy), reducing costs (some say reducing estimation time by 80%). Quantity take offs can be automatically adjusted to accommodate any design changes occurring at any point in the lifecycle of a construction asset.
The justification for the capital costs associated with BIM is related to the intrinsic value that BIM adoption brings. BIM-savvy architects argue that by harnessing all the benefits it brings to projects throughout their life-cycle, the return-on-investment of using it is manifested. They believe that almost all the benefits realized through BIM adoption positively enhance the overall control of a construction project to some degree.
This overview of why architects across the world suggest BIM be adopted in the construction industry was compiled by global BIM services provider IndiaCADworks.
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