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What is BIM in Construction Management

Building Information Modeling has emerged quickly into the construction industry as a popular new tool. While more people know BIM as 3D models and drawings, less understand it’s true scope. 

Defining BIM within the Construction Industry 

What is BIM in construction? BIM is an ongoing process within construction that includes the exchange of information from different construction stages, along with cooperation and general management of a project. Most people think of BIM as strictly a traditional 3D modeling software for visualization, but it has the ability to serve in the construction process in many other ways.

Another way to think about the BIM process is to look at it as a unified information resource for a specific building which includes details from conceptualization, production, management and end of building life. 

BIM Technology’s Benefits to Construction 

BIM offers all project stakeholders the most current project information in a unified format. Everyone is looking at, and making decisions from the most up-to-date project information. For actual building, these are the three main areas that BIM makes the biggest impact:

  • Development and Simulation 
  • Visualization and Cooperation 
  • Clash Detection 

Development and simulation make the construction process more manageable by allowing project managers to apply different conditions to their model. This allows them to create predictions about optimal construction materials for specific areas and evaluate energy efficiency

Visualization and cooperation are a critical aspect of what makes BIM so impactful between stakeholders. Problems can be addressed collectively and issues can be rectified within the model for all to observe. BIM also allows for alternative scenarios to be visualized and evaluated

Clash detection capabilities are also a part of what makes BIM so valuable in construction. With highly detailed models of the full design (architectural, structural, MEPs), a BIM Manager can solve clashes between these systems before the construction process occurs. For example, HVAC and plumbing designs can be realized into detailed 3D models and clashed against each other to understand where potential conflict might lie.

These BIM workflows allow for:

  • Better Change Monitoring & Teamwork – BIM allows for an overall better monitoring of different project parts overall
  • Improved Scheduling & Sequencing – BIM serves as a tool to reduce project times. By easily making modifications and addressing project setbacks in BIM, the construction process has less changes and on-site issues
  • Accurate Cost Assessments – Fully coordinated BIM documentation allows for precise cost management
    • Streamlining Labor and reducing billable hours for the client
    • Buying the exact amount of materials needed with the time to wait for or negotiate the best price 
    • Reduce the number of potential repairs and delays by decreasing assumptions or human error
    • Evaluate building on-site versus prefabrication, which is more cost and time effective to implement and which will be the best long-term solution for the building

Conclusion:

With a well-defined BIM process construction professionals can realize all these benefits. It is critical that an experienced BIM manager is able to work with all project stakeholders to establish and maintain BIM standards and file sharing conventions throughout the project. As time goes on, using BIM in construction will be the new normal because of all the efficiencies it offers to builders, designers and owners alike.

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