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What have you BIM waiting for?

BIM or 'Building Information Modelling' is a process being used more in the design of buildings. How does it work and what is the future for BIM? Hager's Darren Palmer explains further.
BIM is part of the current drive towards digital transformation in order to refine processes in design, build and installation technology convergence.

The next stage of BIM’s ‘level of maturity’ became mandated last year; this has meant that all centrally procured public sector projects are required to implement BIM (Building Information Modelling) at level 2. Of course, this is an important development for those involved in providing, supplying and enabling public sector projects not least for the potential impact on a companies’ operations.

Firstly, what is BIM? Techtarget.com provide this definition:

“Building information modeling (BIM) is an approach to design engineering that combines traditional computer aided design (CAD) with 3D modeling. BIM software integrates visual information with data about specifications, materials, functionality and maintenance to provide all project participants with a unified view of the project and all its components.”

The evolutionary process of BIM can be seen in this model by the Bew-Richards BIM Maturity Model.

In its purist form, the BIM maturity level 2 requirements will drive a lot of inefficiencies out of the design and supply chain functions by allowing cross-professional information, modelling and data inputs to be commonly shared.

AEC (Architect, Engineering and Construction) firms will need to acquire a future thinking outlook which is also going to include M&E, sub-contractors and suppliers in order to be in a position to deliver projects with as little disruption and material wastage as possible – and of course with a focus on whole life cycle sustainability.

For the electrical industry, it will mean that suppliers will have to provide the technical information and data regarding the specification of products while contractors and installers will need to be involved in ensuring the construction standards are transferred from the digital models and into the actual final build.

The success of BIM implementation could rest on the quality of the data and specification input, and how well the various professionals can skilfully insert all the information required in order to achieve optimal efficiency and thus cut down on wasted material and time. Transparency and engagement are also important elements of how successful and how quickly BIM will be utilised and deployed so it can be at its most effective.

What about any potential issues for the practical applications of BIM in the real world? Obviously there is likely to be some differences in opinion regarding what can actually be achieved seamlessly in a 3D model and the common quirks, peculiarities and adjustments required to deliver the intended outcome for the clients’ project.

However, the advantages of enabling a reduction in these scenarios by getting as much right at the specification stage as possible far outweigh the negatives. This should then improve profitability and time lost to trivial problems which previously may not have been accounted for. SME firms are also arguably going to be slower in fully understanding and enabling BIM in their organisation compared to larger businesses.

Perhaps the biggest issue of all for BIM and for it to be successful is going to be the availability of experts. If competent BIM experts are lacking in an organisation, or funds are not available for outsourcing, then the likelihood and costs of missing out on lucrative and prestigious contracts are all too apparent.

Did you know that you can download the BIM files for a whole range of our products straight from our website? Find out more here.
Author: Darren Palmer
Posted: 21st March 2017
Get in contact: info@hager.co.uk | Twitter