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GeoBIM in DfMA — industrialization of construction in times of COVID-19

The construction industry has witnessed a compound annual productivity growth of merely 1% in the last two decades. The trillion dollar industry, unlike other sectors (manufacturing has grown by 3.6% during this period) has been suffering low productivity, which is often a result of multiple factors including late arrival of digitalization and slow technology adoption across the project lifecycle.

A leaders of the construction world sought technology-driven solutions to overcome problems such as project delays, cost/ time overruns and wastage, the pursuit paved the way for the rise of several modern methods of construction such as Building Information Modelling (BIM),  Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), Lean Construction techniques, among others.

With the AEC industry facing an unprecedent challenge due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the overall productivity levels have fallen further due to closing of construction sites, shortage of labor and unavailability of materials owing to supply chain disruption. At this point, modern methods of construction such as DfMA can help in adopting a product-centric approach, which is similar to assembly line of automobile and consumer goods manufacturing. A product-centric approach driven by DfMA, thanks to the surge in off-site construction technology (ConTech) like modular construction, aligns naturally to resolve the above mentioned challenges. Design for Manufacture (DfM) incorporates selection of cost-effective materials and processes to minimize operational complexities, while Design for Assembly (DfA) aims to reduce product assembly cost through minimization of operations. Overall, DfMA envisions reducing material, overhead and labour costs.

DfMA in times of COVID-19

Contractors across the world have begun adopting DfMA comfortably in off-site prefabrication of construction components ranging from concrete slabs to structural columns and beams. The recently built Marriott Hotel in New York, said to be the tallest modular hotel to be ever built, is a testament to the evolution of  modular construction and the scope of DfMA. With mounting pressure on the supply chain, contractors are forced to map alternatives for material sourcing , while simultaneously offering health and safety for site operators through social distancing measures. DfMA shows promising solutions to such complex intertwined challenges, and accounts for:

  • Health and safety: Off-site conditions have been found to be 80% safer for labour;
  • Cost: On-site labour is about 2.2 times more expensive than factory labour;
  • Sustainability: About 2-3% waste has been recorded in off-site assembly and most of it is recycled.

DfMA intervenes from the inception stage of project through completion for successful undertaking of the above mentioned components during the course of the project lifecycle. For instance, in the Planning & Design (P&D) phase, DfMA processes are attributed towards design for ease of prefabrication. During the construction phase, DfMA processes rely on design for ease of assembly through plug & play approach for MEP components, volumetric modules for easy installations, etc. These processes remove factors adding to cost/ time overrun such as lack of materials/ equipment, project sequencing and reworking.

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GEOBIM enabled DfMA

DfMA at its foundation encapsulates geometric and non-geometric data for successful undertaking of construction activities through the project lifecycle. The key DfMA processes in construction include project brief, concept design, detailed design, pre-construction, construction and post-completion. These processes require synergy between 2D and 3D data to represent the topological features, existing infrastructure, accessibility, etc. of the construction site in the initial stages. GeoBIM technology solutions have emerged as a frontrunner to facilitate seamless transfer of construction activity between such 2D and 3D data ecosystem, thereby preventing design error, improve design quality, P&D of assembly, cost estimation and support manufacturing assessment, a criteria which is pivotal for smooth functioning of manufacturing and assembly line based on validation of on-site conditions.

GeoBIM integration in DfMA — P&D (Manufacture)

The P&D phase of DfMA involve project brief development — based on build massing studies (site orientation, area, volume etc.), rules of DfMA adoption (modular floor height, grid dimension etc.). Subsequently , this is followed by design conceptualization and detailed design development. GeoBIM technologies provide the following necessary solutions at this stage:

  • Site studies of the project site are processed through importing BIM models into GIS environment, which enables the designers to evaluate site suitability for optimal design through:3D reality capturing/ Laser scanningVery high resolution (VHR) satellite imageriesSpatial analytics (Hydrological modelling etc.)
  •  Structural design evaluation includes importing spatial location data imported to BIM platform (Cloud-based) which is distributed to different tools of structural analysis. This allows designers and engineers to reiterate the design model based on project challenges, and conduct post-construction analysis.

GEOBIM integration in DfMA – Construction (Assembly)

Advanced geospatial technologies (like EO, 3D laser scanning, etc.) have supported the application of  GeoBIM solutions in building assembly and sequencing. This can be seen in applications such as supply chain management and schedule management. GeoBIM solutions play a role through the construction lifecycle as early as at the procurement phase. At this stage, geospatial analytics help in:

  • Mapping logistic delivery routes,
  • Tracking supply chain status of raw materials
  • Visualizing supply chain time and cost

These components of GEOBIM solutions are crucial in tracking construction activities and resources based on planned programme and planned assembly sequence — key factors of DfMA construction.

GEOBIM & Industrialized Construction

Time, cost and quality are the key factors associated with effectiveness of construction projects. Incorporation of GeoBIM in industrialized construction will benefit the effectiveness of construction value-chain through elimination of cost and effort duplication; facilitation of communication and transparency between contractors, sub-contractors, clients and engineers; and reduction of project duration thanks to optimal project management.

[REPORT] GEOBIM Market in AEC Industry

Construction industry is challenged by diverse set of issues across the value-chain in these  unprecedented times. With recent uptake of technology adoption for smarter project management and increased ROI, industry leaders have begun incorporation of GeoBIM solutions in various stages of project lifecycles. If you are in the construction ecosystem and are keen on utilizing technology to overcome modern day challenges, you should not miss out on the recently released market intelligence report of ‘GEOBIM Market in AEC Industry’.

The report provides a holistic view of technology trends and more information on how integrated GeoBIM technology can offer innumerable features that can improve your construction project at any given stage. Further, the report includes a collection of 15 best case practices, selected categorically on the basis of return on investment, and benefits derived from the use of integrated geospatial and BIM solutions in construction overflow. If you wish to know more about the report, click here to  read the report description. To purchase the report, click HERE.

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