How ‘BIM’ is Revolutionising the Construction Industry (Part 3 of 3)

Posted by MDA Projects on Tuesday, October 04, 2016 with 1 comment

Is BIM the future?

It goes without saying that with any construction project, meticulous record keeping of every exchange, decision and approval is imperative. Without detailed records the volume of information (data) produced becomes overwhelming and unnecessarily confusing. The negative pitfalls are endless.

Building information modelling (BIM) is without a doubt a more efficient and visually effective method of managing data. The benefits of using BIM data for multiple applications makes it an incredibly powerful tool because it covers so much more than mere geometry.

Utilising BIM data for other purposes is particularly evident when the 3D model is used to design and produce greener buildings. BIM enabled simulation of a building’s lifecycle means that the benefits of green investment over time can be measured to within single digit accuracy. This is exciting from an investor’s perspective.

Leveraging BIM’s full benefits

Creating a building or asset in virtual reality requires specialist, high-level management and expertise. It also requires effective communication between project participants at various levels so that the integrated intellectual capacity of all parties benefits the client.

From a project management perspective model integration and facilitation of information flow is not as simplistic as it might appear. In other words, BIM is not just a software change.

It takes time to become familiar with and proficient in the use of the software. It also takes time and expertise to understand the protocols to be adhered to when models are either combined or shared. Ultimately, BIM is a process fully and properly comprehended with extensive first hand experience.

How should it be managed?

By way of example, the client often assumes that everything is in 3D and therefore easy to manipulate or change. This is problematic because regardless of whether changes are two or three dimensional, any changes to a building can impact various services and possibly structural elements. 

While BIM makes changes more easily communicable to the client, it does not lessen the impact of these changes. Professional project managers know that BIM can never replace the fundamentals of project management, which include clear and effective communication with client, the professional team, and various contractors.

If the BIM implementation process is not managed properly the benefits of BIM usage from the perspective of both the professional / construction team and the client are lost in a mountain of data. The importance of project management professionals steering the BIM process, and the entire project from concept to completion and beyond cannot be overemphasized.

The jury’s in

In countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Brazil, various Scandinavian countries and others there is no argument about whether BIM is worthwhile or not. The fact is it works.

At a BIM conference held earlier this year in Johannesburg, South Africa it was encouraging to see that local firms and building contractors are swiftly moving towards international standards. 

However, South Africa has a long way to go to keep pace with countries that are deep into the BIM adoption process. The question therefore is not whether BIM is the future of the South African construction industry or whether project management companies should prepare for it. Rather it is a question of how soon it can be implemented. To its credit, the South African construction industry is starting to realise that the sooner it commits to BIM, the greater the benefits will be.

Part 1 of 3
Part 2 of 3