In recent years, Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become a familiar platform not only for the management of a project’s different from-design-to-construction phases, but also for the management of the building itself and its assets throughout the entirety of the building’s lifecycle. In fact, not only private companies endorse the use of BIM but a few governments have started mandating its use, as well.
Most definitely with its usefulness in the construction industry, BIM is here to stay. However as its use expands and grows within the sector, BIM is continually evolving, making it intimidating to adopt for some construction professionals and companies. Additionally, there are so many unfounded myths out there that a lot of construction businesses have been missing out on the benefits of BIM. Today, we will discuss the five common myths about BIM and elaborate why they simply are not true. So listen up!
1. BIM is just a marketing hype for 3D modeling
There is a lot of misconception that BIM is just a marketing hype for 3D modeling. Although 3D modeling is an integral part of BIM, it is not its only component. BIM is an over-encompassing 3D-based process that allows collaborative work between engineers, architects, contractors and building owners. For many construction organisations, BIM is already a standardised process of how they do work and business. With BIM technology and tools, designers and construction teams can communicate about design and construction, and can coordinate data and information across different levels. The implementation of BIM as a lifecycle process allows the use of models to extract actual locations and measurement. This new workflow allows the field team to have more efficient processes with accurate models and less rework. “BIM is integral to everything we do on our projects. It’s a lot less expensive dealing with issues such as clashes in the virtual world than in the real world,” Sandra Wilkin of Bradford Construction said in a 2014 BIM panel discussion.
2. BIM is for big firms and big projects
This is another false sentiment. BIM is not only for complicated and time-consuming projects. Regardless of size, construction projects essentially deal with the same problems. There is value in working with BIM even on small projects, whether privately initiated or government facilitated. No matter the size, BIM is useful in calculating design costs, and in saving time on estimating and budgeting. BIM allows project members to make changes and update documents and plans automatically.
3. BIM is expensive and time-consuming
There is actually little data published on the actual cost of BIM in a construction project. So far, there is no public data available comparing relevant costs of BIM implementation versus their monetised benefits. There is also no evidence supporting the concept that BIM takes more time. Obviously, BIM will require some monetary and time investment when you first adopt it and the scale of investment will vary on factors. Studies, however, show that there is a 20-25% potential efficiency savings from working in a BIM environment. BIM’s efficiency gains rely on finding accurate data faster in one single data source and hence, being able to make accurate data-driven decisions. Realising those efficiencies reduces the overall risks and results to saving you lots of money.
4. BIM implementation requires a new staff team
This simply is not true. You can actually train an existing team or round up your existing staff into a team to implement BIM. BIM implementation doesn’t have to be so difficult. With BIM advancements, even your onboarding can be streamlined workflows that share needed information between your office and the field. Newer technology makes it easier to integrate your BIM model in the field and collect real-world data in real time. As a matter of fact, the most successful companies in implementing BIM are those who trained their existing project managers, engineers and teams to integrate BIM into their existing processes.
5. BIM transition results to productivity losses that cannot be regained
It is a common assumption that implementing a BIM solution results to irrecoverable productivity losses during the transition period. Old data suggest an average 25-50% productivity loss during the initial transition and training. However, these initial productivity losses are easily dismissed by productivity and efficiency gains. For Lott + Barber Architects, their productivity gains outweighed their initial productivity loss. Similar Revit users in 2004 experienced productivity gains of more than 50% and close to 20% experienced productivity gains greater than 100% in the long run. Clearly, you not only regain your productivity losses but you also add productivity gains once your BIM solution is in place.
BIM is a very useful process and tool that will benefit the designers, engineers, architects, contractors and building owners. It allows a complete view of your entire project information while it communicates accurate data to all your relevant stakeholders. Hopefully, this brief article has cleared up the common BIM myths that cause unnecessary and false anxiety in the construction industry. May we help shed light to those moving to or are in the middle of their transition to BIM. We urge you to get started with your BIM transition today; it’s not as complicated as everyone leads you to think!
About the author: Anastasios Koutsogiannis is Content Marketing Manager at LetsBuild.