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What is BIM (Building Information Modeling)?

4 May,2020

What is BIM (Building Information Modeling)?

“We’ll cross the bridge when we get there.”

If this is the mindset of the team, then a construction project is doomed to failure. Of course, nobody wants to be in that situation as it costs lives, time, money, and reputation. It is important to have a comprehensive plan and layers of fallback procedures before the work begins. However, there is an array of challenges that cannot be avoided such as change orders, occurrence of dispute, and natural calamities. For this reason, a systematic and holistic approach to identify and mitigate risks must be practised. This is where construction management software enters the picture, and the best example for this is BIM or Building Information Modeling.

In this post, we’ll define BIM, why it is an essential tool for the construction industry, and mention well-known companies who use it in their daily tasks.

What is Building Information Modeling (BIM)?

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According to Autodesk, BIM is “an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives AEC professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.” Autodesk is a multinational software company that makes software for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries.

BIM is more than a construction management software but a highly-sophisticated process where it helps contractors, architects, suppliers, builders, clients, and stakeholders to work collaboratively in the entire duration of the project life cycle within a single 3D model of a building. It allows everyone in the team to work harmoniously and efficiently.

Why is BIM Important for the Construction Industry?

A construction project faces different types of risks that could occur anywhere in the project life cycle. Based on a study titled “Identifying Key Risks in Construction Projects: Life Cycle and Stakeholder Perspectives,” the top three key risks are tight project schedule, design variations, and excessive approval procedures in administrative government departments. The said study surveyed 60 construction practitioners in Australia. Setting up a good construction management software could avoid all of these. Here are the reasons construction companies use BIM:

  • Enhances team communication and collaboration
  • Provides accurate construction cost estimation
  • Reduces cost
  • Eliminates schedule setbacks
  • Captures detailed 3D representation of the site
  • Detects and fixes clashes on-site
  • Improves safety and productivity
  • Mitigates risks

Implementing BIM in Australia

Credit Source: Facebook/Queen’s Wharf Brisbane

Australia still has a long way to go in terms of fully adopting BIM, although it has been in the country for more than eight years. Recent developments were seen such as when the Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities proposed the Smart ICT Report on the inquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure. In the report, the committee recommends requiring BIM to LOD 500 on all major infrastructure projects, exceeding $50 million in cost.

Moreover, few states have been using BIM for quite some time like Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland. Even the Department of Defence and some private sectors implemented it in several projects. Examples are the Sydney Metro Northwest, Perth Stadium, Royal Adelaide Hospital, and the redevelopment of the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane.

There are also organisations promoting BIM such as the Australian Construction Industry Forum, the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council Inc., and the Australasian BIM Advisory Board. However, the final push needs to come from the Federal government.

In conclusion, if you want to resolve issues before it happens and have a smooth project turnover, BIM is the perfect solution. It could help your team to act proactively starting from the planning phase to the renovation or deconstruction phase with the use of intelligent data.
Sources: Autodesk BIMIdentifying Key Risks in Construction Projects: Life Cycle and Stakeholder PerspectivesFuture of BIM in AustraliaInstitute of Public Works Engineering AustralasiaBIM Adoption in Australia

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