In a previous blog from The Valve, we discussed the argument of whether Building Information Modelling (BIM) restricts architects’ creative opportunities – we believe the opposite is true.
For architects, embracing BIM will open unexplored design opportunities. How this aesthetic design path will evolve will become clearer with time. One thing we do know is that using BIM early in the planning process will undoubtedly lead to greater efficiency in the building construction and operation. This helps companies save on long-term costs and open doors to future revenue opportunities.
In the Government Construction Strategy 2011, the target was for savings of 15% to 20% on construction budgets by the end of this parliament in 2015 through the successful implementation of BIM.
But where are these savings made?
Streamlined Operations & Defection Detection
For project managers, BIM enables greater precision in their work. Better organisation, fewer mistakes, so less risk of unnecessary financial loss. The software helps to direct decisions on the sequencing of activities in the preconstruction, and the impact of design changes are more easily scoped.
It can be used to monitor how many workers are needed where, making the process of coordinating sub-contractors considerably more efficient – project changes can be predicted and relayed so there is no confusion. The cost of having contractors arrive on site when not needed – or not arriving when they are, for that matter – can be damaging, but is an issue that BIM helps the project team avoid.
BIM is a pre-emptive measure in design too. Anyone who has been involved in construction projects will have experienced situations where they have encountered unforeseen design faults that have delayed progression. BIM software enables humans to better avoid human-error. A simple mistake early on in a project can snowball into a financial catastrophe for projects later on, which impacts the involved companies’ reputations in the long-term.
Collaboration is Key
Whilst perhaps difficult to exactly quantify at present, the impact BIM is having in changing attitudes towards greater collaboration cannot be ignored. The quality of information is improved and the one view between all involved parties, from designers to contractors, makes projects that much more predictable. Precise, scientific data that can be easily shared to all.
Greater collaboration with client and end users is another benefit. 3D simulations help to determine ideal space solutions so clients can envisage what they want. Any modifications they request, be it from a design perspective to operational factors, can be modified more efficiently. BIM helps them to visualise the construction in far greater detail, and reduces the likelihood of them demanding costly changes down the line.
Worth the fuss?
Sceptics may be concerned that the BIM boom is no more than purveyors of the technology flogging a ‘pay more now, save a lot more later’ scheme. But there is genuine scope for overall cost-cutting.
It maximises construction efficiency across the board, saves on wasted resources, and makes companies appear more reputable and ‘ahead of the game’ – thus driving future business opportunities.
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