The changes occurring in the global economy have presented architects, engineers, and contractors with a window of opportunity to retool their businesses. BIM can help design higher-quality building and infrastructure projects at a lower cost, thereby, helping companies in the AEC industry differentiate themselves in the marketplace
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent model-based design process that adds value across the entire lifecycle of building and infrastructure projects. The rapid emergence of BIM is changing the way architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) project teams work together to solve complex design challenges and build better buildings smarter, faster and at a lower cost.
Realizing the benefits of BIM
Some people mistakenly think of BIM as just a new variety of software. BIM is actually a process that relies on information-rich models to help owners and AEC service providers to plan, design, construct, and manage building and infrastructure projects more efficiently. The reliance on digital design models has been a common practice in the manufacturing industry for decades. Project teams at companies such as Boeing and Toyota have placed digital models at the core of their collaborative, concurrent engineering processes for years, using them to support the entire project lifecycle from design and documentation to manufacturing and field support.
BIM helps AEC service providers apply the same approach to building and infrastructure projects. Unlike CAD, which uses software tools to generate digital 2D and/or 3D drawings, BIM facilitates a new way of working: creating designs with intelligent objects. Regardless of how many times the design changes or who changes it, the data remains consistent, coordinated and more accurate across all stakeholders. Cross-functional project teams in the building and infrastructure industries use these model-based designs as the basis for new, more efficient collaborative workflows that give all stakeholders a clearer vision of the project and increase their ability to make more informed decisions faster.
Models created using software for BIM are intelligent because of the relationships and information that are built into the model. Components within the model know how to act and interact with one another. A room, for example, is more than an abstract concept. It is a unique space contained by other building components (such as walls, floors, and ceilings) that define the room’s boundary. With BIM, the model is actually a complex database and the room is a database element that contains both geometric information and non-graphic data. Drawings, views, schedules, and so on are live views of the underlying building database. If designers change a model element, the BIM software automatically coordinates the change in all views that display that element including 2D views, such as elevations or floor plans, and informational views, such as schedules because they are all views of the same underlying information.
Figure 1: With BIM, cross-functional project teams can now share intelligent models to better plan, design, build, and manage building and infrastructure projects.
BIM and benefits for your business
BIM changes the way companies work both internally and externally. Projects have become more and more complex, requiring firms to manage and share immense amounts of data across diverse and distributed teams. By enabling greater insight into the project at any point in its lifecycle, BIM helps AEC service providers to improve accuracy, efficiency, and productivity, resulting in time and cost savings. The significant value-added benefits that BIM-ready firms can provide include: faster project approvals, more predictable outcomes, sustainable design and analysis services and improved collaboration and information sharing for integrated project delivery strategies.
Even more powerful than the productivity gains is the potential that BIM offers to help enable AEC professionals and owners design, visualise, simulate and analyse the key physical and functional characteristics of a project digitally—before they build it. BIM changes the design process, increasing the level of effort during early design, but speeding up your back-end production processes and—more importantly—resulting in a higher-quality outcome with fewer requests for information and construction change orders. By using a holistic design approach, BIM helps designers investigate how an entire building comes together, and it helps reduce the amount of design changes during construction.
BIM is a strategic initiative that requires top-down executive support to succeed. It changes the way companies work. Externally, it enables companies to engage in innovative new project delivery methods; provide more affordable, more efficient sustainable design and analysis services; and offer a range of new services. Internally, the transition to BIM may result in broad organisational changes based on new and/or different staffing needs.
BIM 360 collaboration and data management for AEC
The rapid emergence of BIM is changing the way architecture, engineering and construction project teams work together to solve complex design challenges and build buildings smarter, faster and at lower cost. Autodesk”s portfolio of virtual design and construction software supports BIM processes. For example, BIM 360 integrates both well-established technologies and new capabilities to help deliver collaboration and data management—across the project, across the team, and across the enterprise. It allows users to:
- Take control of building projects right from the initial phases and communicate effectively design intent.
- Collaborate with design teams, and evaluate constructability before construction begins.
- Share data across all project stakeholders to more quickly understand and communicate means, methods, and materials and how they come together to realise a project’s design.
- Reduce construction risks using planning tools that enable you to better manage project timeline, scope and cost and deliver projects more predictably.
By providing project teams with a complete, accurate, digital view of their project, with access to information across the project lifecycle from wherever they need it: the office, the web, or the field, such software delivers three key benefits: make decisions that improve project quality and outcomes, get more insight and predictability that help enable timely and profitable delivery, improve operational reliability and efficiency. These benefits are additionally enhanced by the advantage of accessing the data anytime, anywhere and through multiple interfaces including mobile devices.
Conclusion on the benefits of BIM
The changes occurring in the global economy have presented architects, engineers, and contractors with a window of opportunity to retool their businesses and adopt new tools and workflows. Technology solutions such as BIM software can help design higher-quality building and infrastructure projects at a lower cost, thereby, helping companies in the AEC industry differentiate themselves in the marketplace and stay competitive in challenging times.