The construction industry may not be an early adopter of technology as compared to other sectors. However, the recent pandemic has compelled them to embrace technology to continue working without flouting the guidelines.
Apart from using collaboration tools, IoT sensors, and cloud-based software to connect with remote teams, the industry has started to significantly ramp up the usage of established technologies like Building Information Management (BIM) more actively too.
BIM adoption has grown to such an extent that Autodesk, one of the leading companies developing BIM software has reported a 350% increase in the global BIM adoption rate ever since COVID-19 compelled the adoptions of different safety standards and a global shift of work from the office to home. According to the Global Building Information Model market report, the BIM market will grow at a CAGR of 11.2% from 2019 to 2026. It is poised to become a market of $9.81 billion by 2026.
BIM is expected to evolve further in the years to come.
As we come to the end of 2020, let’s look at how BIM will continue to evolve in 2021 and how it will benefit the construction industry.
BIM and 3D modeling help clients get a better perspective about how the building model would look, but they would have less visibility into other designing options. AR and VR could change that. They are expected to give greater power to the clients to choose. Brandon Mikeal, a leading BIM engineer, says that architects can use AR to show the various options of a building model on their tablet. It can also be used to catch errors in the models before something is installed at the site. VR can be used to give the client a walkthrough of every part of the building so they can choose the specific features they want. He believes these options could drive sales for construction companies. It will also give them a competitive advantage over other construction companies that don’t make such technology choices.
It’s natural for clashes and errors to occur as the project moves towards the construction process. Identifying and fixing these clashes is one of the principal value propositions of BIM. For that to happen, all stakeholders must have access to the same data from the site to assess the progress of the project. This ensures a clash-free plan, which in turn saves the time and costs of the contractors on rework. As there are several stakeholders involved in a project, real-time data sharing from the site becomes tedious. It becomes even more challenging when the data set is large. To streamline the BIM data sharing process, companies have started to use cloud-based applications. The stakeholders are given access to the cloud application, so they can easily refer and use the data even if they are working remotely. Companies have started to witness improvement in their processes thanks to the increased collaboration between different members.
While we are on the topic of collaborative efforts, let’s look at how collaboration tools can help BIM to evolve. Typically, architects, engineers, and building designers use BIM to create the blueprint. This design is saved and shared with the contractors on site. However, there are always times when the design would have to undergo certain changes. To ensure seamless communication, companies can integrate BIM with collaboration tools. This will enable the stakeholders involved in the project to make changes quickly and get the work started without any miscommunication. 80% of the average cost overrun happens due to change orders. With improved collaborations, companies can reduce the change orders and ensure that the work gets done quickly and efficiently.
To provide the clients with a clear understanding of how the final building would look, companies can opt for an enriched 3D BIM model. This is a value-added development of the BIM model, supplemented with more visual appeal and descriptive context. It can be used to design floor plans, elevations, and other spaces by taking snapshots from different perspectives. The best part of using such 3D BIM modeling services is that it allows the model to remain consistent even if there is a minor change in one of the elements by baking in processes that allow constant updating. So, the architect does not have to work on all the elements again to make the model consistent.
BIM specialists could face a tough time while covering a large area of the site within a short duration or when they are working remotely. That’s when a drone can prove to be useful. BIM specialists can use drones to capture accurate data of a large area by hovering it over the site. Over time, this also enables the specialists to track the progress of the project, so they can refine the model based on the insights received by the drone. It can also be used to survey and record data from rough terrains that are usually risky to tread for supervisors.
The construction industry has used BIM for more than four decades. It has helped construction companies streamline their operations and save costs. However, it could well prove to be a game-changer during COVID-19 by ensuring smooth operations when the teams were located at separate locations. Even as vaccines get developed, we expect companies to continue using BIM to complete their projects without any hassles, especially in innovative new ways. All they need is the right BIM implementation partner who will help them to leverage BIM to its optimum level!