The interconnected nature of building information modelling (BIM) overcomes one of the biggest issues in construction: lack of coordination and communication between the teams.
Teams often find themselves working with outdated data and plans that are riddled with errors and omissions. Data silos, disconnected teams and poor visibility into real-time information affect project performance, causing countless delays and unnecessary costs.
Overcoming this issue is achieved through the information management system that lies at the core of BIM, which is used to foster collaboration among architects, engineers and construction teams so they can make decisions in real time.
As the demand to build more with less resources and less skilled labour increases, we must explore new ways to meet the demand more efficiently and faster. Automation is the key to the future of the industry because it will drive down building costs, provide increased safety and easier monitoring, provide more time for human workers to focus on other aspects and, most importantly, allow for real-time collaboration between parties. By automating repetitive tasks and using artificial intelligence (AI) for various stages of the construction processes, we can make more things and make them better and with a less negative impact on the world.
It is hard to name ‘the biggest’ advantage of BIM, since there are so many. One of the main ones, as mentioned previously, is the opportunity for real-time collaboration between various parties and contractors involved in the construction process. This huge advantage causes a domino effect leading to several other advantages – fewer chances for error and less time wasted putting together different parts of the blueprints.
One other pressing issue that BIM addresses is waste generation. In construction, waste is rapidly increasing due to the increase in the standard of living, demands of infrastructure projects, consumption-habit changes and the evident increase in global population. About 30 per cent of construction resources are wasted on every single project and another 40 per cent of all landfill waste comes just from the sector.
BIM affords many advantages with better planning and design, fewer reworks, cost cutting on materials, and better support for prefabrication (which also saves more time and money).
However, there are a few downsides. For example, BIM is not yet used universally among construction professionals. This means there always lies the possibility of one of the parties not being able to use models aligned with everyone else. Due to its collaborative nature, BIM requires a real shift in mindset from traditional silos to new ways of working. Once the shift is made, however, companies will see remarkable results.
An important benefit of BIM is how it enhances the quality of workers involved in a project.
Because BIM alleviates many of the stresses and time wasted on minute details and mundane issues involved with the construction process, human workers are able to focus their time on bigger and more critical issues. They can focus on the more creative and design-related problems, and focus on building more at a faster rate, as growing populations demand. This means all the time and energy professionals spent on simple activities can be focused on more important areas through processes such as automation. It is basically helping solve the industry’s talent gap too.
Our built environment and its entire value chain are in the midst of an extreme transformation. AI, the internet of things (IoT), robotics and other technologies are responsible for the emergence of smart cities, automated processes and an array of new business opportunities.
It is said that in the future, buildings will not be built, but rather manufactured. We believe this is where the future of construction lies. Prefabrication and automation are the future. With all the advantages of such tools and software, the architecture, engineering and construction sector will no longer be a siloed one.
BIM is almost evoking a domino effect within the industry. We will be able to focus the necessary talent where it is most needed and eventually save money and costs in all phases of the construction process, all while being more eco-friendly and sustainable.
About the author
Louay Dahmash is territory director for the Middle East and Turkey at Autodesk