Burgos, May 13, 2022.- BIM (or Building Information Modeling) is considered primarily as a digital model containing structured data. It is not really a software or a technology, but rather a processor working method, as evidenced by its different specificities. Indeed, the BIM considerably improves the working methods with the sharing of reliable information throughout the life of a building, from its conception until its demolition. This virtual model allows analysis, simulations, controls as well as visualizations. The design of the buildings is of a better quality than before, with the detection of problems before the construction began. Finally, construction costs are also better controlled.
In fact, an increasing number of cities are creating 3D city models to support visualization and simulations in the urban planning process. The 3D city models are often extended with planned buildings. One way to facilitate this is to add simplified building information modelling (BIM) models of the planned buildings to the 3D city model. This article summarizes some of the recent academic and industrial studies of this topic.
There are several commercial and open-source tools for integrating BIM data into 3D city models. The integration is complicated, as it requires transformation between different information models (ontologies), e.g. between the open BIM format Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and the open 3D city model format CityGML. The transformation of geometries is also challenging and includes a conversion from solid modelling (used in BIM) to boundary representations (used in city models).
According to specialized BIM magazines, here are some BIM trends and updates to keep track of for 2022 and beyond:
Construction teams are spread and will continue to be spread for at least some time. Maybe a majority of this year? Maybe longer? And working from home requires we collaborate better using digital tools. By this, I don’t mean video meetings platform.
Designers are seldom on the site. Same for Building Owners. Even Construction Managers might be rotating so that no more than 50% of the staff is on-site at the same time to avoid work downtime.
That creates a need for better digital collaboration and this can be a huge BIM Trend for the incoming year. Design meetings, document approvals, contract negotiations, site inspections.
Drawingless construction site
Enhanced digital collaboration might lead to enhanced usage of the models on-site. If we are creating a model that resides in the cloud, why not take both the model and the cloud on-site? Drop the drawings and adjust building processes to digital delivery.
The first one is the Building Owner who wants to raise the quality of his building by requiring a digital twin. Delivery of better models might lead to decisions to build based on them. That enhances the work effectiveness and quality of the building at the same time aligning digital building with the physical one.
The other side is the General Contractor. He may want to increase effectiveness and save time so that he decides to use the full potential of BIM technology on site. This means for example using tablets on-site, digital checklists in the models or maybe even off-site prefabrication from the model. Some contractors are already doing this and I am always impressed with what they can take out from the model.
Those two previous topics influence the next one: automation. There is a general tendency in the branch to leverage the quality of the models. Tools are the same, so there is no magic: to deliver better quality, you have to work faster and better. Since projects’ margins are still very low, many companies search for competitive advantage in automating their workflows.
There aren’t many coders in our branch. Furthermore, the software we use don’t cooperate with one another very well. APIs are residual, open formats are hard to edit. Besides, we have a lot of manual and repetitive tasks to perform. The bigger the project the more such tasks. This is already in use on some bigger projects.
Scripting requires a higher threshold – somebody on the projects has to know how to code, or the project may want to hire a developer. But it pays off. If such a script can save the project team even 20 hours a week and this is repeated over 3 or more years of the design phase, then this is a huge return on investment, especially with pressure for rising salaries due to global high inflation rates.
Yet another reason why some companies may bet on automation is a challenge with talent acquisition. Many executive leaders see this as one of the biggest challenges for AEC for 2022. And to make this impact less severe, some firms may focus more on automation to deliver the same quality using less workforce.
Improving Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
As the UK strives to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, energy efficiency in construction has never been more crucial. Because of its potential to assist contractors to visualize a construction project over its entire life cycle, BIM extends a realistic way of calculating energy usage in the construction industry. The BIM models have the ability to provide real-world details that allow engineers to assess water, energy, and CO2 emissions. This helps to cut down project waste in terms of time, labor, and resources and improve sustainability during the building’s entire existence.
Cloud Computing and BIM
Cloud computing is another critical trend to watch for BIM. Leveraging cloud technology in construction projects makes it easier for teams to collaborate and work together in real-time. Architects, designers, and engineers; having access to the same data from different places; can contribute to the model’s development and receive regular updates on the project’s progress. As a result, cloud computing in BIM enables quick reporting, saving a lot of time and effort, at the same time lowering project costs in terms of total cooperation and communication.
One of the most anticipated BIM trends for the upcoming years is facilitated by the advancement of FM software that allows for the administration of Digital Twins. A hyper-accurate virtual representation created to accurately reflect a physical object, digital twins leverage real-time sensors embedded in the physical object to map out critical areas of operation, resulting in data regarding the device’s performance. When it comes to construction projects, employing digital twin technology can drastically reduce costs and save time by conducting numerous procedures on the virtual object. This will ensure that the construction is as accurate as possible, resulting in fewer mistakes.
Preventing Sick Building Syndrome
The immediate future of BIM is linked to effective management of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), which identifies the
environment of the building where residents have been living for a long time and are suffering from unprecedented health problems like dizziness and constant fatigue. Through BIM, the atmosphere and surroundings of the building are assessed for natural light, airflow, and ventilation. Evaluating the result of the ecosystem in the construction area, professionals can then recognize such conditions beforehand to eliminate all dangers associated with health while constructing healthy structures with BIM.
BIM as a Central Accelerator
The emerging role of BIM as a central accelerator in construction projects will largely depend on its integration and interoperability with other strands of technologies that feed into BIM. Enhanced interoperability in BIM with advanced technologies like AI, ML, VR, and IoT will help to execute jobs or processes independently and efficiently without errors, allowing for faster usage of BIM across big-budget, control-essential construction projects.
BIM is transforming the landscape of the technology-resistant construction industry by enabling and enhancing procedures. Many of the new technologies will likely only operate on BIM-enabled projects, widening the productivity gap between organizations that have embraced change and those that have not. With technology progressing in the proper direction we may expect to see even more real-world benefits with BIM 2022 and beyond.
The UK Construction Sector recommends on BIM
The most recent statistics reveal that a staggering 73% of UK construction professionals had implemented BIM into their project in 2020. That’s a 4% increase from 2019 and an impressive 60% uplift since 2011, when only 13% of the survey’s respondents confirmed using BIM. The UK’s dedication to BIM hasn’t gone unnoticed as it was recently announced that the US intends to adapt the UK’s national BIM development programme in order to comply with the international standard for BIM – ISO19650.
Here at Virtual Viewing, we are witnessing the growing demand for BIM first-hand and have supported our clients in making their construction process or existing building management procedures more efficient and reliable. While we applaud the growing use of BIM, we have encountered projects where the system hasn’t been used properly by all parties involved. This stops the technology’s capacity from reaching its full potential and can cause a variety of problems along the way.
In addition to construction delays and increased costs, caused by poor communication between teams, companies must be aware that any data gap can cause the BIM system to be outdated. This can result in the final development differing from the originally approved plans and building permission.
For example, if the design team were to develop a plan without considering updates from the construction team, such as site conditions and material availability, it could have dire consequences on the success rate and construction timeline. Communication between teams is therefore essential and fully implemented BIM can offer exactly that.
To avoid any such hiccups in communications, it’s crucial to have a BIM manager on board who is capable of overseeing the whole construction progress while proactively monitoring all parties involved. Companies often make the mistake of not maximising the use of their BIM manager and to ensure that responsibilities are clarified from the very beginning, a thorough EIR (Employer’s Information Requirements) document is essential. A good BIM manager will be able to truly maximise your BIM performance.
From its humble beginnings as a mere concept in the 1970s, Building Information Modelling really has come a long way thanks to a continuous introduction of new software solutions. With BIM becoming an integral part of the whole of the project lifecycle, the sector still holds opportunities for growth and has an exciting future ahead.