6 Common Myths Surrounding Building Information Modelling
Although BIM has enjoyed significant growth in the construction industry in recent years, a level of confusion still exists around how the process works and its impact on construction projects. This lack of understanding has given rise to a multitude of misconceptions, which have increased scepticism amongst project stakeholders and hindered market growth.
In this article we will be setting the record straight on 6 of the most common BIM myths currently circulating the construction industry.
Myth 1: BIM is Just 3D CAD
Many people still believe that BIM is simply a marketing term to describe the 3D modelling process. However, as highlighted in our previous article “Understanding the Difference between BIM and CAD”, BIM is much more than 3D modelling and can in fact be created in up to 7D, incorporating project tasks such as timeline scheduling, cost estimating, sustainability analysis and lifecycle management
By using manufacturer specific BIM models, BIM engineers can create an exact digital twin of the physical construction with intrinsic product data such as weight, height and part number built into the model. In comparison 3D CAD is simply a drafting process that illustrates the project layout as a series of lines that hold no product specific data to assess project feasibility.
Myth 2: BIM Creates a Longer Workflow
It is not unusual to experience teething problems when implementing new processes and this can create longer workflows until employees become familiar with the new way of working. However, after the initial set up period BIM has the potential significantly improve project workflow.
60% of constructions programs fail to meet cost & schedule target, this is because stakeholders are not communicating efficiently, causing issues to crop up at the later stages of the project. BIM enables all projects to be accurately planned in a collaborative environment where stakeholders can assess the project in real time, limiting the risk of out of date information being used to inform important decisions.
When manufacturer specific BIM objects are used in the initial project design stage, stakeholders can benefit from better communication and use the model to detect and resolve conflicts more efficiently, reducing the time needed for costly rework. This helps to reduce the risk of project delays due to miscommunication.
Myth 3: BIM Has No Use Once the Project is Complete
Many people believe that BIM is only used by design engineers and contractors, however the application of a manufacturer specific BIM model goes far beyond project completion. BIM generates a data rich construction model which can be passed onto the building manager when the project has ended, allowing the building manager to continue to use the BIM model to plan for maintenance and design requirements and improve efficiency throughout the building lifecycle.
Typically, a significant amount of maintenance time can be wasted trying to locate the source of an issue. With BIM, building managers can navigate the digital model to pinpoint the location of concealed infrastructure. The intrinsic data held within the model can allow maintenance managers to access specific part information to efficiently order replacements or seek maintenance advice.
Myth 4: BIM Increases Project Costs
It is often argued that the cost of implementing BIM outweighs the cost benefit – And while it’s true that the investment in new software and training does incur a cost, this cost is outweighed by the potential lifetime cost savings associated with BIM.
When planning any construction project, cost is one of the most important aspects and you need to make sure you have all the information needed to calculate it accurately. BIM helps to streamline the entire project process, from estimating to feasibility and safety analysis meaning that less time and resources are needed to bring the project to completion.
BIM also provides better visibility of all aspects of the project from electrical infrastructure to plumbing. This enables stakeholders to identify potential issues before they occur, reducing the risk of unexpected costs due to rework.
Myth 5: BIM is Only Useful for Large Projects
Whilst it is true that the larger the project the greater the potential cost and time efficiencies that can be achieved through BIM will be, there is still a case for implementing BIM into smaller projects.
Many people believe that BIM is only useful for larger projects with more complex geometries, however regardless of project size, the ability to accurately plan project design and cost will always be beneficial as it reduces the lifetime risk of unexpected costs and project delays.
Myth 6: BIM is Just a Fad
In recent years BIM has experienced a surge in popularity, almost making it seem as if the concept materialised overnight – So it’s not hard to understand why many still consider it to be a passing fad. However, the key concepts that form the basis of BIM have been around for longer than you would imagine, with Englebart 1962 envisioning the future architect working with object-based design models linked to relational databases to build a virtual replica of a construction project.
Although BIM has been in development for decades, its benefits have only been truly realised in recent years and professional bodies investing more in standards development and training. Many of the benefits achieved through BIM are in line with growing trends in waste management, sustainability and the demand for more efficient project timelines. Therefore, not only is BIM more than just a fad but it is a critical tool in facilitating growth within the construction industry.
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