Those working in construction planning and design are increasingly using building information modeling (BIM) together with CAD (computer-aided design). This technology offers a more efficient alternative to the traditional methods of doing work by hand. Instead of going back to the planning room, everything is in the BIM program, with the information easily accessible. The accessibility and efficiency offered by this technology are transforming construction jobs.

BIM continues to change the construction industry, from those who work in planning to laborers and managers in the field.

BIM Can Prevent Potential Clashes and Other Issues During Construction

Thanks to its technology and 3D imagery, BIM can detect potential clashes much better than people with 2D drawings. In some cases, 2D graphics would look fine, even to experienced contractors. Yet, the 3D model with BIM could detect at least 30 clashes and information deficiencies. Examples can include components that are of the wrong size or connections that are not there.

By discovering these clashes early on, construction teams have more time to resolve them. This insight can prevent delays and wasted materials. Even better, the BIM program can frequently suggest solutions. This feature saves the need to brainstorm to resolve the issue.

Changes in Adopting BIM Standards

Because of the benefits of BIM, many people have pushed for it to become the standard in the United States’ construction industry. The National Institute of Building Sciences (NBIS) hosted an executive roundtable in February 2021 where participants discussed this possibility and the steps to take.

Until now, the NBIS only has an unofficial national standard, which is solely volunteer-based. The organization hopes to create a National BIM Program. Participants hope that standardization would help improve supply chain effectiveness, streamline business, improve project outcomes, and foster innovation. The digital process standards would also help improve efficiency and enhance predictability.

There is already a BIM standard in the United Kingdom. It became a level 2 mandate in 2016, requiring standard file formats. This mandate led to a 50% improvement in project delivery time and a 33% drop in costs. The NBIS hopes the United States would see a similar result.

Tips for Using BIM in Construction

As BIM gets closer to becoming a standard, there will likely be more guidance and best practices. Until then, those in construction should consider the following advice to get the most from BIM. By following these tips, you’ll see how BIM is changing construction.

Start Using BIM in Preconstruction

Do not wait to start using BIM until later in the construction process. Ideally, you want to use it from the beginning. The most convenient method is to create one model on BIM that includes everything from all trades involved. Then, create separate BIM models for each trade. This differentiation lets every member of the team view changes on a small and large scale.

Use BIM Like You Would Build a Building

It is also wise to use BIM similarly to how you would build a building. Using it this way contrasts with just using it as a design program without an understanding of construction. Using it as you would build helps your team understand the process and challenges. It can also help you test various strategies or aspects of the building before construction.

BIM has grown in popularity thanks to its efficiency and ability to detect problems. The UK already has a BIM standard. In the United States, the NBIS is pushing for the same.

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