What is BIM?
New technologies that have become part and parcel of the modern building industry are becoming a way of life for large contractors allowing for the construction of beautiful structures with intelligent architecture.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) sits at the heart of digital transformation across the UK built environment. For the construction industry, a major part of the overall UK economy, it provides a critical opportunity to significantly improve performance and stimulate more innovative ways of delivery and operation
BIM is a collaborative way of working that facilitates early supply chain involvement, underpinned by the digital technologies which unlock more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining our assets. BIM provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of an asset to support reliable decision making and management of information during its life-cycle. At its core BIM uses 3D models and a common data environment to access and share information efficiently across the supply chain and so boost the efficiency of activities around asset delivery and operation. By helping the entire supply chain to work from a single source of information, BIM reduces the risk of error and maximises the team ability to innovate.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) to the full level 2 standard, allows designers and constructors to work collaboratively to streamline and accurately model a construction project before work starts on site. BIM Level 2 requires all project and asset information, documentation and data to be electronic, which supports efficient delivery at the design and construction phases of the project. At the design stage, designers, clients and end users can work together to develop the most suited design and test it on the computer before it is built. During construction BIM enables the supply chain to efficiently share precise information about components which reduces the risk of errors and waste. In a nutshell, BIM defines what, when and how information should be created, shared and managed.
BIM offers an innovative approach to planning the project, ultimately reducing waste and inefficiency. Process where all parties including contractors, suppliers etc. collaborate on a range of data to create a building information model (BIM) which is presented to the end user of the project.
Why work with BIM?
The BIM concept has been around since the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the recommendations of the UK Governments Construction Task Force in 2011 that it started to become a mainstream part of construction sector projects. In May 2011, the UK Government published the Construction Strategy aimed at reducing the cost of public sector assets by up to 20% by 2016. To achieve this strategy, the government requires construction suppliers tendering for centrally-procured government projects to be working at BIM Level 2. As a minimum, they require fully collaborative 3D BIM (with all project and asset information, documentation and data being electronic).
What are the benefits?
The use of advanced computer systems to build 3D models of infrastructure and hold large amounts of information about its design, operation and current condition, is key for greater collaboration and efficiency in the construction industry.
- At the planning stage it enables designers, owners and users to work together to produce the best possible designs and to test them in the computer before they are built.
- In construction it enables engineers, contractors and suppliers to integrate complex components cutting out waste and reducing the risk of errors.
- In operation it provides customers with real-time information about available services and maintainers with accurate assessments of the condition of assets.
However, BIM is only a valuable resource if all parties are fully on board with the process and work together during the project. Working in a BIM environment requires all parties to collaborate and share the information they create in a mutually accessible online place known as a common data environment (CDE) meaning everyone has access to all information relating to the project. This collection of data is an information model which uses one coherent system of computer models rather than a separate set of drawings thus preventing errors from occurring due to a lack of or miscommunication between contractors and suppliers.
The true value of using BIM comes at the end of the project where the end user has access to the completed model including all information related to the building. On completion the building owner/ manager receives a fully compiled, accurate set of information (all cross referenced where required) for the building. By creating a BIM, this enables those who interact with the building to optimise their actions resulting in greater value for all users. It brings together all the information about every component of the building in one place, making it possible for anyone to access the information for any purpose.