BIM (Building Information Modelling, or let’s say it, Management) is the “digital” language with which the Construction sector should be able to produce more efficiently.
It will cause a deep digitalization of all procedures and stages, and implies a interdisciplinary collaboration, supported by new technologies, that can bring more efficiency in the job done. So, it’s very likely to be the most important revolution that this sector has experienced.
Digitization gives the opportunity to bring, to the Construction sector, values of industrial production that allow access to higher levels of quality, control, traceability, productivity and efficiency, which should help achieve a more sustainable activity.
But don’t get me wrong, the use of a specific technology is not, by itselft, a guarantee to a better work; regardless of the technology they use, the work depends on the professionals using it, and how they use it.
One final thing to note, with which we have started. BIM stands for:
- “Building” (or “construction”, and even the action of “build”),
- “Information”, relating it with classified, stored data, with the capacity to be transmitted and later processed with computer technology.
- “Modelling”, relating to a 3D representation model or simplified idealization of something. But we must consider here that BIM methodology, in the end, is more related to the global management of the whole “building”, throughout the phases of life (planning, project, construction and exploitation).
The digital representation must comprehend both the physical and the functional characteristics of the facility.
It must serve as a knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle from conception to demolition. It must let insert, extract, update or modify information in the BIM to support and reflect the roles of the stakeholders involved to help achieve the best possible efficiency, so it enables
those who interact with the model to optimize their actions, resulting in a greater whole life value for the asset.
The Construction sector has some peculiarities:
- Low productivity indexes.
- Significant specific weight in the economy of any country.
- Mobilizes a very significant and diversified workforce.
- Operates in a very sequential manner, with agents that intervene with very heterogeneous levels of interconnection.
All this leads to each stakeholder having their own interests, and will hardly align them with the other agents involved.
In addition, legislation in the public sphere seems to promote this way of working.
It faces several requirements of a more digital world:
- Increasingly demanding regulations
- Complex technical facilities
- Need to reduce energy needs
- Introduction of ecodesign
- Introduction of sensorics and efficient management
- Reduction of environmental impacts
- Greater demand for quality
- Elimination of unforeseen extra costs
- Adjusted control of temporary schedules
And it must face them adapting the way things are done with the help of new technological possibilities in a methodology that BIM can represent.
BIM clearly has to sides, one technological , another one of process.
- From the technological point of view, we have to see it as a set of software applications and information hosting systems that can allow more efficient production work. New technologies tools arise in a linear way, and are usually adopted continuously without producing large jumps in the way of operating.
- From the point of view as a process, it supposes the establishment of a work of collaboration between the diverse interested parties, that covers all the cycle of life, being based on the new software and the technologies of communication. The change in a process is an always more disruptive factor.
The sector is very impervious to changes and investment in technology leading to the automatization or optimization of process. The reasons must be sought in:
- the scarce industrialization of processes,
- the atomization of industry,
- poorly collaborative work systems,
- poorly qualified labor,
- a difficult capitalization of knowledge acquired in daily practice,
- the rigidity of contracting systems,
The sector has the opportunity to carry out the revolution of incorporating new technologies of manufacturing, models of management and business, collaborative forms of greater intensity, using the digitization as a thread.
There is an inefficiency when each agent enters and leaves the project at a specific time, having had a very low level of dialogue with respect to the other agents. If they do not dialogue, they probably can not contrast the different criteria in early phases, when it is easy to make decisions. Worse still, if the time they are tied to the project is short, they will never get a global vision that can lead to better options.
It’s needed a more imbricated implication of the stakeholders, with the intensity representing their role in the project, based on their experience, in the initial stages of development when decisions are more efficient and involve a lower cost. Introducing changes on the fly in the construction phase is inefficient, and can derive in clashes not well pondered.
Integrated Project Delivery
The IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) methodology. Is about making decisions based on the experience of the different agents, in the initial stages of development of a project, just when making decisions, and changes in criteria, are more efficient and involve a lower cost.
The alignment of interests
A certain cultural change is desirable, in which the different agents understand the need to work as a team that aims for a common goal. This is a cultural shift hard to achieve, as business practice is conducted by each agent seeking its own maximum economic benefit, that does not have to favor the project considered globally.
Therefore, each stakeholder applies resources and strategies that, even being favorable to their particular interest, it can be detrimental to other agents, or even to the final outcome of the project.
To overcome this difficulty, the problem of sequentiality must be solved, forcing the different agents to collaborate during the different phases of the project. Ideally this could be achieved by the parties understanding that they will achieve a greater particular benefit by acting together than acting separately; or, directly, forcing collaboration.
Current business models, and hiring, clash with this idea.
The complete life-cycle
All the stakeholders should consider the project as the sum of all the phases through which an asset passes: Planning, Design, Construction, Exploitation and End of useful life, and not only taking to consideration the part in which they are affected and bounded to it.
- Information about all the elements can be used throughout the building lifecycle from construction to maintenance.
- Provides a 3D model that serves as a centralized location for all the parties involved to put in and pull out the information.
- Provides a 4D model that is used for scheduling during construction, modification and maintenance phase.
- Provides a 5D model to reduce the expenses and maintenance costs.
- Provides a 6D model to answer all the questions like who, what, when, and how of the different aspects of the building lifecycle.
Benefits of BIM for facility management:
- Space Management: BIM gives a proper know-how of the space used thus increasing the scope of reducing vacant spaces. Ultimately, it reduces the expenses required for maintenance.
- Efficient Maintenance: Maintenance of information becomes tough when a large amount of data is involved in big projects. BIM eliminates months of work by providing a streamlined maintenance of the information.
- Efficient Energy Usage: Through BIM, facility managers can avoid negative impacts on the environment by helping find energy alternatives. Hence, it optimizes the building performance.
- Affordable Renovations: BIM Services help in providing better information on the existing state of the project. Hence, reducing the complexity, time and money required to renovate it.
- Lifecycle Management: BIM supports an in-depth knowledge of the materials to be used for lower maintenance cost. Some materials are costly compared to others but they are more durable hence reducing the overall lifecycle costs.