BIM Technology: Building Information Modeling Explained
BIM is a construction acronym that most contractors know but may not really understand. BIM which stands for Building Information Modeling is one of the trending tech tools for designing, planning and constructing a building. Here’s an overview of BIM tech, what it is, how it’s used and what it means in the construction industry.
What is Building Information Modeling?
BIM - which stands for Building Information Modeling - is a 3D-based tech used to create a digital model of a building. The purpose of this tech is to give architects, engineers, and contractors the best tools to design, plan, execute and organize the design and building of a single project. By using 3D technology, a blueprint can be transformed into a multi-layer image that can identify design flaws, help to plan out infrastructure and pinpoint potential challenges for the construction phase.
The Benefits of BIM
In layman’s terms, BIM uses data from the design, engineering and construction processes to paint a single, clear image of what makes up a building. It contains all the information that every department needs to do their job including HVAC systems, wiring, foundation notes, wall materials, infrastructure planning and more. It can improve efficiencies for contractors, make site planning simpler and, perhaps most importantly, improve communication across departments.
Pair with AI to Improve Efficiencies
BIM is helpful as well because it can easily be paired with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to help automate some of the more time-consuming ordering and managing tasks. Comparing surveillance and project-tracking images to the 3D model can automatically indicate when a new subcontractor needs to be hired or that it’s time to rent a dozer for the next phase of your project. The efficiencies of blending BIM with AI are almost endless.
Identify Safety Hazards
BIM technology can also be used to prematurely identity safety hazards on construction sites. Days that may require extra machines, working at heights or dealing with hazardous materials can be planned in advance so that safety measures can be in place and communicated well ahead of time.
Open the Doors of Prefab and Modular Construction
With design and engineering being done simultaneously with construction in mind, modular and prefab construction can be taken into consideration and integrated accordingly. Prefab and modular construction can reduce project costs and speed up timelines. It isn’t something that can be decided after the fact, though, so the consideration would have to be done at the design stage. BIM can help to identify areas of a project where modular or prefab may be a better option.
Better Quality Builds
With a 3D model, especially when it’s used alongside other software, it’s harder to miss certain building processes. Less can fall through the cracks because all of the data and information is in a coherent, usable model that is easy to use. With a better planning process in place and improved communication between designers, engineers and contractors, the quality of the build will be higher. This is not to say that traditional projects or projects without BIM tech aren’t quality projects. It is simply easier to catch inconsistencies or missed steps when the information center that you are going off of is so complete or is paired with AI tech that will tell you if anything is off about a construction plan.
BIM In Construction
BIM may not be something that every contractor interacts with on a daily basis but it is the most complete design-build technology out there. It will be used at the top level of almost every construction project in the future. Understanding what Building Information Modeling is and knowing how it’s used paints a picture of one of the biggest changes happening in the construction industry. It is just one of many technologies out there that are helping to address major pain points, such as communication and efficiency, in a way that will change the industry as a whole.