The disruption that was experienced by the AEC professionals in 2020 and the first half of 2021 was unprecedented. It ranged from ongoing projects experiencing delays to new projects being kept on hold. However, where a lot of potential was experienced was with regards to technological advancements. With social distancing norms and practices in place more and more construction companies found that modern technology was the answer to their various problems.
Once such technology that has seen a rise in its popularity and its adoption has been BIM. Building Information Modeling is a holistic process of creating and managing information that is enabled by cloud platform. It provides the AEC professionals all the tools that they would need to plan, design, construct and manage buildings and structures effectively. The construction industry has in the past year already experienced the cost and time saving benefits of BIM and it is difficult to imagine a scenario where they will go back to the more traditional methods of construction. The focus instead will be on making BIM better so that more benefits can be reaped from it. In the current article we will be looking at the four main ways in which BIM Services can add more value.
There will be concentrated effort on data and information exchange requirements. Today, there are various software solutions like Revit, ArchiCAD, Tekla etc. available in the market. In these given software the AEC professionals work in native format. However when the 3D model constructed in the native format is required to be shared with other stakeholders who don’t have the same software that issues arise. OpenBIM is thus a very important progressive approach that leads to longevity, easy sharing, data accessibility and workflow transparency. With OpenBIM irrespective of the software used each and every stakeholder can gain access to the 3D model without the loss of data. This would reduce reliance on any given software and improve communication and ease in processes. OpenBIM will also augment reliability and collaboration as workflows are dependent on open and agile data formats as well as improve flexibility and durability.
2. Cloud adoption:
The construction processes are already fragmented with multiple stakeholders working at various stages of construction process. It is imperative that each and every member remains on the same page so that errors can detected and reduced. Fortunately, BIM already has cloud sharing capabilities that enables timely and cost-effective detection of errors by effective communication. Revit Server allows multiple members of the BIM team to work on the same project and at the same time. Similarly, BIM 360 connects team members to data in real time permitting quick decision making. Cloud platforms also improve accessibility as team members can access their data irrespective of their location. Moreover, it doesn’t mean that everyone needs to huddle around the screen together or that with every change a new mail needs to be sent. BCF manager instead keeps proper track of changes, flags issues, ensures that they are resolved etc. Companies have already started to witness improvement in their various processes due to cloud platform however, there is always a scope of more. The cloud technology is already improving and as new advancements are constantly taking place. BIM software must also constantly keep track of the same and ensure that it is making the best available technology.
3. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR and VR):
BIM has made it possible to create data rich 3D models that can be easily shared with all the stakeholders. 3D Rendering Services already provided the construction professionals with the tools photorealisticaly present their designs and ideas. With VR and AR this process can be elevated and it possible for the people to immerse themselves in the project as if they were physically present. They can also interact with the environment. While BIM helps gets a better perspective of how the model will look it doesn’t provide amplified and detailed visibility for finer aspects of the project. By using BIM model to create virtual and augment reality environments it is possible to get a complete walkthrough of the building, capture every note of material, structure etc. It can help gain a comprehensive understanding of the project, gain faster project approvals, improve communications with the client etc. It can also be used to catch errors in the models before fabrication and onsite construction. Thus, utilizing BIM with VR and AR could positively impact construction.
4. Drones and Robotics:
Drones and Robotics are the new trend in the construction sector. They improve accuracy and speed as well as provide a proper alternative to lack of skilled labour. Drones are proving to be extremely useful for supervision as they can reach places which are located on a height or are difficult for people to reach. Combining drones with BIM could be quite efficient. Information obtained from drones could be automatically inserted into the BIM so that project progress can be automatically tracked. Similarly, material quantities, labourers etc. can be monitored and tracked via drones and consequently be updated in the BIM model. Robotics also has seen a rise in construction process. They can carry out quick and repetitive tasks efficiently. BIM models are accurate and data-rich and thus, the information that is obtained out of it can be utilized for robots to carry out their tasks without errors.
Thus, the construction industry has repeatedly seen the advantages that they can gain from BIM in terms of increased accuracy, better collaboration, reduced cost and time etc. BIM will only see an increase in adaption in the coming years by developing and addressing the market requirements better.