BIM for multi-family housing
First some definitions for those who need them.
For this post, let’s consider that multi-family housing is a type of housing facility where multiple housing units are built within one building or a few buildings within one complex. In some cases, units in a multi-family residential building are classified as condominiums. Here typically the units are owner individually instead of renting from a single apartment building owner. Many communities incorporate multi-family residences such as cohousing projects. From the perspective of their construction though, let’s consider that some common parameters apply to all multi-family housing.
The residential space and particularly the multi-family sector holds incredible potential for development. In most developed nations the residential multi-family market is responsible for a significant portion of all construction activity.
Of course, such a project has its complexity. The sheer size, scale, and delivery pressures are obvious issues. But while constructing a multi-family housing facility, a variety of other difficulties are encountered, such as:
- Coordinating with the multiple teams
- Integrating information
- Access to information
- Tracking and monitoring
- Timely action
A massive amount of information is created during the construction and development stage and not every significant bit of it is recorded. Every individual contractor involved during the construction and development stage utilises various tools to produce and process the information applicable to them. In such a fragmented environment, a missing piece of data can prove disastrous for the project.
This suggests the need for a centralised platform to share, exchange, and project information in real-time (or near real-time). In that context, BIM brings clear advantages to this construction and development process.
As most here already know, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D-model-based process that gives engineering, building, and development experts the insight and tools to productively plan, design, validate and collaborate while building. BIM is utilized to plan and document building and infrastructure designs. And obviously, multi-family residential projects can be improved with a well-thought BIM Modelling strategy.
BIM gives a clear understanding of the materials utilised, the building life cycle of a specific structure, and the expense of building it. Better project coordination and collaboration with stakeholders, efficient work processes, 3D perceptions, and improved project results are just some of the advantages of using BIM processes. The other advantages include:
- Representation: By working with intelligent 3D models, it is possible to document some different highlights that 2D projects can't. With 3D models, sales teams can generate spontaneous visuals which act as a great marketing technique while sell multi-family developments.
- Multi-family Detailing: The benefit of BIM is the capacity for creating details quickly. Data can be added to a current structure data model to communicate further information about the project. This is a great application for residential BIM modelling.
- Time and money: When the whole team is working on a BIM model, loads of time can be saved by pulling data from the BIM files. Rather than starting similar work all over again in a new work process, data can be passed on to any person in need. All the important data can be found in a single location.
As is evident, in the context of multi-family housing, every detail about the structure is transparently visible with BIM. The model can be utilised for analysis to explore structure options and to create visualizations that help stakeholders understand what the building will resemble before it is built. The model is then used to create the design documentation for construction. BIM not only helps the design and development teams work more efficiently and productively, but it also enables them to capture the information created during the process to benefit workflows and tasks. It allows them to improve operations and maintenance activities. BIM data can likewise improve procurement and resource planning.
It’s well known that BIM helps prevent clashes between teams working on different facets of construction like plumbing, electricals, HVAC, etc. With multi-family housing this is a significant benefit, given the added complexity of a variety of layouts and unit designs that may be in play across the entire campus.
BIM is valuable not only while facilities are being built but also can help maintain existing structures too. Accessibility to facilities information is most vital for facilities management, and BIM provides exactly that. BIM technology helps in reducing the inconsistencies in the base data of the building as it comes up. And the value only grows as the information builds up as the structure does too. BIM incorporates all the modifications and alterations made over time, thereby giving the facilities managers and maintenance teams access to data that is accurate and complete. This becomes a massive advantage for large multi-family housing projects with day-to-day maintenance needs impacted by the lives and actions of so many residents.
BIM technology is intended to support contractors and builders to construct more effectively. And as it happens, BIM fulfills just such a role in the construction of multi-family housing too.