BIM is the new buzzword in construction, as more and more stakeholders in the industry try to explore the unique opportunities that it offers. If used right, BIM can be the vehicle to share valuable data during a project.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot of confusion around the role of Building Information Modeling and what are the components of a successful BIM strategy. Having a 3D representation of your project is surely a powerful thing but it should not come before data. After all, a 3D model is only as good as the information added to it.
This is where the issue of user adoption comes into the picture. Construction is one of the industries that generate the largest amount of data on a global basis. It appears, though, to be one of the worst sectors in collecting, sharing and analysing these precious beats of information.
Simply put, this signifies that the digital culture of the sector is still at a very early stage and that there is a considerable digital gap which has a direct effect on the way people in the industry communicate, collaborate and eventually build.
That being said, it becomes understandable that before construction falls for BIM, it is necessary to sort out the parameter of digital adoption on the field. Only then, the industry will be ready to get the most out of the implementation and use of BIM.
There is no doubt that BIM will take over and disrupt the construction industry within the next couple of years. However, its impact can increase exponentially if the right systems and procedures are in place.
Building Information Modeling is here to help people get organised and develop their processes in a digital environment so that they gain time, collaborate more and by extension trust each other more leading to better data collection and fact-based decisions.
For that to happen, there are certain steps that need to be followed:
The transition from a hammer to a tablet can take a while but it’s the bedrock for the digital transformation of the construction industry. The adoption of a data-driven way of working will pave the way for a better connected construction site with lower rework rates and higher productivity.
Once they get going with the use of digital tools on the field, it is time for the next step which is known as process digitalisation. Show them how they do what they used to do using that device. Once they understand the value that the new working approach brings to the table, they will become your most valuable allies to this digital transformation journey.
Last and most critical step is, without a doubt, the standardisation of the building process. As soon as you turn your construction site digital, it is time to push for standardisation. In that way, the learning curve both across internal and external projects will be much faster. This change of mindset could act as catalyst for BIM adoption and fuel a meaningful change in construction.
We already mentioned in the opening of the article that Building Information Modeling can be one of the main vehicles to share data in the course of any construction process. Thanks to wider user adoption, planning can become a part of the BIM model.
Through the BIM model, the different field teams can track progress, collaborate effectively on the latest updates and adjust their planning process based on the provided feedback.
For this to happen, though, you need people both on the site and the office to actively use digital tools in order to collect and analyse data. Like that, it will be considerably easier for BIM managers to link activities on site to the model.
At this point, the importance of standardising your processes can become apparent considering the fact that many companies are struggling with a vast number of classifications that differ from project to project.
People need to have a well-defined Protocol for their on-site follow up. Establishing a set of standard internal classifications so that all model elements are identified and described with accuracy is one of the biggest challenges for a more efficient construction industry with lower rework rates.
There is a plethora of different parameters that can be used for the description of an element in a BIM model (eg. location, structure, material) and the absence of a common classifications language can hinder collaboration across tasks and projects.
BIM technology has been around for quite a while now but it is still clear that many in construction appear to be very cautious regarding its benefits for the industry. That is mainly because they haven’t fully understood the great potential that Building Information Modeling offers.
And this is something that the sector needs to address. In most cases, the reluctance to invest in BIM implementation stems from the high initial cost around BIM training and on-boarding. But that’s something that applies to almost every type of digital solution in construction.
By skipping this crucial step, many project teams end up not having the proper knowledge and skills in order to get the most out of the use of a BIM model and create a unified classifications language.
This results in construction projects which are either poorly-driven when it comes to BIM and where the numerous teams are working in a very isolated way resulting in loss of vital information, more delays and budget overruns.
Wrapping it all up, it is of paramount importance that the industry starts to see BIM as a vital competitive advantage and invest more in boosting the adoption of the technology on both the boardroom and the construction site.
It is a long and demanding process that requires a lot of effort and a unique focus on data. Before we dive into 3D representations of a built structure, it’s vital to prioritise the data.
Otherwise, no matter how nice a 3D model can be, it plays no role if the data that supports it is imprecise.
About the author: Anastasios Koutsogiannis is Content Marketing Manager at LetsBuild.