BIM integration and implementation are not new. I have been talking about it for some time and I can confidently say that this is slowly gaining a foothold in India. BIM is catching the eye of various construction firms and contractors, professionals, government bodies, educational institutes and so on. But the country still has a long way to go in the widespread adoption of BIM technology. Perhaps it will help if we take notes from other nations that are using it in various spheres.
Here are a few stellar examples of BIM technology in use by various nations and what we can learn from them:
Expo 2020 is a stellar architectural contribution to UAE’s landscape. It is capturing the imagination of millions around the globe. A little bit of background for those of you who are hearing about it for the first time – it is a $6.8 billion project. It’s designed to welcome 270,000 visitors per day and the area enclosed will be 2,000,000 square meters with 2,400,000 square meters designated for various amenities and facilities. Over 80 percent of the site is going to be reused or repurposed.
Such a strategically important project is depending on a solid BIM strategy. It is based on the delivery of intelligent 3D models as well as Industry Foundation Classes data. BIM will be prominent throughout the project life cycle. This BIM application in construction will help all the stakeholders to understand, communicate, and manage coordination more effectively than ever. Additionally, it will offer a streamlined approach for all users. The various teams involved in the project log-in as well as navigate either the state-wide model or individual project models without having to go for extensive software installation and training requirements.
It is expected that with BIM there will be 24/7 model access and therefore, reduce dependency on manual as well as offline processes for sharing the information. Moreover, the design coordination, as well as clash detection, may have already helped in saving millions and in reducing scheduling delays.
That’s not all. BIM models integrated with specific cloud-based software has helped the project designers to analyze pedestrian behaviors or identify bottlenecks. It’s hard to believe that this would have been possible without BIM.
It is well-known that the UK is undergoing multiple transformations when it comes to the public transportation system. Among those is a project called High Speed 2, a high-speed railway that connects London to Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester, and possibly all the way to Scotland. This project is planned in two phases, including the 119-mile London to the West Midlands as Phase 1, and a Y-like connector to both Manchester and Leeds as Phase 2.
It is obvious that HS2 is a complex technical system. It involves communications, power, earthworks, tracks, structures, noise mitigations, and detailed control systems. As can be expected, the project has multiple stakeholders. A key consideration is the impact the construction will have on the cities as well as the countryside. Completing the project within the set deadlines and allotted budget is a formidable challenge, one that UK hopes to overcome by using BIM and allowing the project to collect, organize, and communicate the data using one of the most detailed visual models around. This has become a key element in the delivery effort. There’s a real sense that the building the model can be used to educate the stakeholders as well. The UK’s positive experience with leveraging BIM for saving time, effort, and money in public infrastructure projects is now common knowledge. I fully expect the HS2 to add to that set of BIM success stories.
In Oslo, Norway, the Gardermoen Terminal 2 is not only a major construction project with over 100 contractors but also works as a functioning international airport. The location is the main challenge because the builders need to take into consideration the safety, the airport security as well as smooth operations. Airport operations cannot be hampered even as the work goes on to double the floor area of the building. The project leverages BIM to provide a guiding model for the contractors. They also use BIM for accommodating the existing infrastructure into their plans. With accurate information about the existing structures, they aim to achieve a renovation that is easy, painless, and cost-efficient. They have used Open BIM and managed various changes using 3D models for creating an enhanced experience for the users. This suggests that BIM can be implemented and adopted even in the most complex of scenarios.
These are noteworthy projects leveraging BIM from three countries. But it doesn’t stop only at specific large projects and initiatives. The BIM adoption movement is picking up pace. France had decided as far back as 2014 that it would develop 500,000 houses in a tight deadline, and they chose to use BIM. The French government’s initiative also paid due consideration to sustainability in that decision. Driven by the value they expected; the French government also launched an R & D project to develop BIM standards for wider use. Spain, on the other hand, has a BIM Commission sponsored by the Ministry of Public Works for BIM to be applied in buildings in 2018 and in infrastructure in 2019.
There are many great examples out there. But where does India stand? To my mind, our nation is embracing a digital transformation in so many business areas. In that light, it is a given that BIM collaboration will also catch on. I believe that the first step to the widespread adoption of BIM in India will have to be making BIM usage mandatory in India’s public infrastructure projects -and I know we will get there eventually.