Many designers and contractors develop a building information model (BIM) to deliver a virtual 3D model of the building. BIM serves to help architects, engineers, and contractors plan, design, construct, and manage buildings more efficiently and effectively. In order to manage BIM, teams rely on BIM Management Software to track changes, collaborate, and communicate around the model.
A cloud-based solution for BIM Management software utilizes a common data environment to store and manage BIM information. The common data environment simplifies BIM management and connects teams to the project data. BIM Management software captures historical data such as changes and revisions along with the real-time data such as production and costs. This delivers transparency for collaboration and valuable information to improve decision-making.
Challenges of BIM Management Software
If BIM is the “promised land” for improving project delivery, why is adoption of BIM so low? While many large contractors utilize BIM on many of their projects, many small to medium sized organizations are not on the BIM bandwagon. Undoubtedly, they realize the value. However, they do not see the return on investment. Implementing BIM management software costs a company a considerable amount of time (in terms of implementation and training) and money. When many projects are not requiring BIM, then why invest in those critical resources? Those companies are focusing on the short-term value, and not the long-term value that BIM and BIM management software delivers. However, BIM is not just software, but it is part of a process to improve communications and project delivery.
How BIM Improves Communications
Digital representation – BIM delivers a digital representation of a building. Contractors can visualize the building in a 3D format before construction. This provides great clarity on how to proceed to reduce any errors.
Clash detection – Using BIM, the design team can detect interferences before construction begins. The design team can consolidate different models into one in order to view any conflicts in ducting and piping. With BIM, interferences are caught in the design phase to save the field team from having to conduct any rework.
Aligning construction with design – BIM changes the conventional design process to allow for collaboration between the design team and the contractors. Through BIM and the common data platform, contractors provide input to help designers develop more comprehensive and constructible designs.
Notification of changes in real time – BIM management software delivers the ability to provide notifications to team members of any changes. When a stakeholder comments on a file or makes a change, others can immediately receive updates. This helps to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page.
Metadata – Traditional drawings and designs provide detailed specifications. The “I” of BIM is information. Therefore, the benefit of BIM is the amount of information about assemblies and elements that can be included such as manufacturer, model, costs, description, installation date, etc. This information is critical for generating more accurate costs and improving overall building operations.
Reduced risk of rework – Many times rework occurs when the field team has outdated drawings. BIM management software provides real-time notifications of drawing and model updates along with version control to reduce the chance of rework. The field team has access to the latest versions with comments to build accurately.
Accelerates schedules – BIM management software lends itself to a collaborative process to accelerate project schedules. Seamless team collaboration removes decision-making bottlenecks. Transparency of information leads to more informed decision-making. These both contribute to moving projects along at a quicker pace.
Information at your fingertips – If at any time the field team has questions or needs information on a spec or design, data is at their fingertips with BIM management software. Cloud-based BIM management software delivers the information-rich model to the field right where the construction team can access, view, and comment accordingly.
Field Data Collection for BIM
Just as BIM management software improves communication to field operations, it also improves communication back to the office. The field team collects data to share with the office through BIM management software and a common data environment. Valuable data points collected from the field include:
Labor information for accurate costing – The field team can enter labor information for each job component on the model to provide accurate cost breakdowns. This information helps in the estimation for future projects.
Material and equipment installed for proactive building maintenance – The field team can enter the material and equipment installed down to the make, model and date. This information is valuable for facility management. Through BIM management software and common data environment, the building operations and maintenance team have an inventory and maintenance schedule.
Real-time progress updates – As the field team completes their tasks, they can provide updates to the BIM management software and keep stakeholders informed of progress. This helps to marry actual progress against the schedule to provide any updates or changes as needed.