BIM – Building Information Modelling – represents a paradigm shift in the design and construction of buildings. It delivers huge benefits for architecture firms of all sizes, engineering and construction contractors, facilities managers – and of course clients.
BIM is a process used by architects, engineers, developers and owners to co-ordinate drawings between disciplines in three dimensions. Fundamentally, BIM is a process – one that is enabled by a particular software system.
BIM allows a diversified team to collaborate with a level of effectiveness and efficiency previously unheard of the industry. Communication between different disciplines is direct and virtually instantaneous. While conflicts between different systems took time to identify using old 2D building modelling, BIM enables such issues to be highlighted much more quickly.
Often public body contracts and frameworks require BIM from their teams, if not as a compulsory requirement then more frequently as a desirable skill. Essex Council expressed a requirement for BIM on their education framework back in 2015.
The 2D approach would require the layering and manual verification of information. With BIM, alternative solutions to uncoordinated designs can be sought and found rapidly.
Effective implementation of BIM means that fewer questions arise once construction is underway. Issues that may have been missed using the 2D approach can now be identified ‘on paper’ before construction begins.
BIM means that Inkpen Downie have made substantial savings in terms of scheduling and construction costs, compared to traditional paper-based systems. Communication with trade contractors commences during planning and design, as opposed to in the field.
We can now submit design documents and fabrication drawings, effectively removing the ‘shop drawing review’ step. BIM can bring a project to life on-screen, potentially reducing review times by a significant margin.
Finally, once the project is complete, an as-built 3D model can be turned over to the client or facilities management team, which identifies how every system in the building was installed. This powerful tool can be used to assist in an array of tasks, from regular maintenance to upgrading and installing future systems.
For a growing number of architecture, engineering and development operations, BIM is no longer the future of the construction industry: It has become the standard – making architecture firms more efficient, and cutting costs for every partner involved in the construction process – with obvious financial benefits for the building owner.