The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) is on the rise but incorrect implementation can increase construction costs, cause delays and even carry legal consequences. Stewart Bailey, director of proptech agency Virtual Viewing, shares his views on how to maximise your BIM strategy
The most recent statistics published by Statista reveal that a staggering 73% of UK construction professionals had implemented BIM into their project in 2020. That’s a 4% increase from 2019 and an impressive 60% uplift since 2011, when only 13% of the survey’s respondents confirmed using BIM. The UK’s dedication to BIM hasn’t gone unnoticed as it was recently announced that the US intends to adapt the UK’s national BIM development programme in order to comply with the international standard for BIM – ISO19650.
Here at Virtual Viewing, we are witnessing the growing demand for BIM first-hand and have supported our clients in making their construction process or existing building management procedures more efficient and reliable. While we applaud the growing use of BIM, we have encountered projects where the system hasn’t been used properly by all parties involved. This stops the technology’s capacity from reaching its full potential and can cause a variety of problems along the way.
In addition to construction delays and increased costs, caused by poor communication between teams, companies must be aware that any data gap can cause the BIM system to be outdated. This can result in the final development differing from the originally approved plans and building permission. After the passing of the new Building Safety Bill, this could be a criminal offence.
To ensure getting the most out of a BIM system, we advise our clients to always bear in mind the following:
BIM beyond build
An often-overlooked key USP of BIM is the array of benefits this technology holds for the future tenant of the property. Not only does a correctly designed BIM structure benefit the construction process, it also functions as an information hub for the property’s end user.
Your BIM system could hold all of the property’s important documents, such as warranties, contracts and even feature digital home user guides. Virtual Viewing’s clients who have incorporated this in their BIM for residential projects confirm that it has contributed to buyers feeling more confident about the project and effectively boosted sales.
At the same time, giving the owners of the property a 3D model protects you from unfair post-construction lawsuits as the model acts as direct proof of your work and could help identify where any problem with the build may have originated instead.
The possibility of using BIM as a one-stop library of information is equally important for commercial and mixed-use buildings as it will allow building managers to monitor the property’s performance and enable them to spot and action any irregularities quickly. At the same time, the system could track the building’s electricity, water and gas usage to give building managers the necessary knowledge to instruct improvement work that make the building more sustainable.
To maximise the productivity level of your BIM, we advise giving all relevant parties involved in the project access to the platform. This is the only way to ensure that everyone feeds progress updates into the system from their side in order to avoid problems further down the line.
For example, if the design team were to develop a plan without considering updates from the construction team, such as site conditions and material availability, it could have dire consequences on the success rate and construction timeline. Communication between teams is therefore essential and fully implemented BIM can offer exactly that.
To avoid any such hiccups in communications, it’s crucial to have a BIM manager on board who is capable of overseeing the whole construction progress while proactively monitoring all parties involved. Companies often make the mistake of not maximising the use of their BIM manager and to ensure that responsibilities are clarified from the very beginning, a thorough EIR (Employer’s Information Requirements) document is essential. A good BIM manager will be able to truly maximise your BIM performance.
From its humble beginnings as a mere concept in the 1970s, Building Information Modelling really has come a long way thanks to a continuous introduction of new software solutions. With BIM becoming an integral part of the whole of the project lifecycle, the sector still holds opportunities for growth and has an exciting future ahead.
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