The construction industry plays a critical role in shaping our built environment and supporting economic growth and development. However, like all other industries, it continues to face several challenges, including labor shortages, cost overruns, and project delays.
“Risk aversion and fragmentation as well as difficulties in attracting digital talent slow down innovation. Digitalization is lower than in nearly any other industry”, said the Mckinsey Report of 2020 on the Construction Industry.
It also noted that the key for the construction industry to thrive during and post the COVID-19 pandemic also lies in digital adoption and embracing several new technologies and innovations, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM), prefabrication, and automation.
Therefore, focusing on the importance of digitalization and new technologies, let’s look at Integrated design which contains various tools and techniques to achieve the said holistic approach to building projects. BIM, a tool and an integral part of Integrated Design, is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building. It enables architects, engineers, and construction professionals to work collaboratively to design, construct and operate buildings more efficiently.
That brings us to the list of six ways to achieve integrated design through BIM:
Modeling is the foundation of BIM. It involves creating a three-dimensional model of the building that includes information about its structural, mechanical, and electrical systems. The model allows all stakeholders to see the design in a virtual environment, enabling them to visualize how the building will look and function. Through modeling, designers can explore various design options and test the feasibility of different construction scenarios. The process of Modelling helps to identify potential conflicts before construction begins, saving time and money in the long run.
BIM enables stakeholders to visualize the building design in a virtual environment. This visualization allows stakeholders to see how the building will look and function before construction begins. It helps identify design issues and conflicts, allowing for early resolution and reducing the risk of costly rework during construction.
Coordination is a critical aspect of integrated design. To achieve that, BIM helps facilitate coordination between architects, engineers, and construction professionals by providing a centralized platform for collaboration. From clash detection and model checking to collaboration software, these coordination tools help to ensure that the project is completed on time, on budget, and to the required specifications and standards.
4. Content Development
Content development involves creating and maintaining a library of building components and systems that can be used in BIM projects. This library includes all the building’s parts, including walls, floors, ceilings, doors, windows, and mechanical and electrical systems. The library allows designers to quickly and easily access standardized components that have been tested and approved for use in BIM projects. This reduces the need for custom design and fabrication, resulting in significant time and cost savings. This, in turn, enables improved collaboration, enhances design efficiency, improves quality control, and accelerates project delivery.
BIM enables the creation of accurate and detailed documentation. All design changes, construction schedules, and project milestones can be recorded and tracked, allowing stakeholders to stay informed throughout the project’s lifecycle. This makes documentation a critical part to monitor quality control and assurance while ensuring that the project meets all necessary requirements and standards. BIM documentation is important for developing a comprehensive maintenance plan for the building, ensuring it remains functional and efficient throughout its life cycle.
6. Data / Information
In BIM, data is a crucial aspect of the process, and it’s categorized into several types, including geometry, spatial, property, performance, schedule, and cost data. These types of data are important because they enable stakeholders to access, analyze, and modify information in real-time, making it easier to collaborate, coordinate, and make decisions throughout the building’s lifecycle.
All of these types of data are interconnected, and they help stakeholders to better understand, optimize, and manage different aspects of the project, leading to more effective and efficient construction processes.