Participants in the building process are constantly challenged to deliver successful projects despite tight budgets, limited manpower, accelerated schedules, and limited or conflicting information. The significant disciplines such as architectural, structural and MEP designs should be well coordinated, as two things can’t take place at the same place and time. Building Information Modeling aids in collision detection at the initial stage, identifying the exact location of discrepancies.
The BIM concept envisages virtual construction of a facility prior to its actual physical construction, in order to reduce uncertainty, improve safety, work out problems, and simulate and analyze potential impacts Sub-contractors from every trade can input critical information into the model before beginning construction, with opportunities to pre-fabricate or pre-assemble some systems off-site. Waste can be minimized on-site and products delivered on a just-in-time basis rather than being stock-piled on-site.
Quantities and shared properties of materials can be extracted easily. Scopes of work can be isolated and defined. Systems, assemblies and sequences can be shown in a relative scale with the entire facility or group of facilities. BIM also prevents errors by enabling conflict or ‘clash detection’ whereby the computer model visually highlights to the team where parts of the building (e.g.: structural frame and building services pipes or ducts) may wrongly intersect.
BIM that describe it generally as: An object-oriented building development tool that utilizes 5-D modeling concepts, information technology and software interoperability to design, construct and operate a building project, as well as communicate its details.
Although the concept of BIM and relevant processes are being explored by contractors, architects and developers alike, with alternatives including Virtual Building Environment (VBE) and virtual design and construction (VDC) also considered.
BIM is seen to be closely related to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) where the primary motive is to bring the teams together early on in the project. A full implementation of BIM also requires the project teams to collaborate from the inception stage and formulate model sharing and ownership contract documents.
The American Institute of Architects has defined BIM as a model-based technology linked with a database of project information”,and this reflects the general reliance on database technology as the foundation. In the future, structured text documents such as specifications may be able to be searched and linked to regional, national, and international standards.
BIM is a relatively new technology in an industry typically slow to adopt change. Yet many early adopters are confident that BIM will grow to play an even more crucial role in building documentation.
- Improved visualization
- Improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information
- Increased coordination of construction documents
- Embedding and linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials, location of details and quantities required for estimation and tendering
- Increased speed of delivery
- Reduced costs
BIM also contains most of the data needed for building energy performance analysis. The building properties in BIM can be used to automatically create the input file for building energy simulation and save a significant amount of time and effort. Moreover, automation of this process reduce errors and mismatches in the building energy simulation process.