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About the Industry:

The construction
industry is the bread winner for millions of work force in UK. According to the
Office for National Statistics, construction contributes to 6% of the GDP in
the UK economy. But the industry is being weighed down by inefficiency &
incapacity to adapt to technological advancement. In comparison to other
industries, the construction sector has been slow in innovation and has done
far too less to increase the productivity. The recent initiative by the
government mandated the use of BIM with a maturity level-2 in all centrally
procured projects. This modernization has brought a paradigm shift in the
perception of the industry.

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Introduction to Building Information
Modelling (BIM)

Building information
modelling defines the future of the built environment. Information is money in
construction. In many instances unavailability of timely & reliable
information causes interruption in the decision making process, which
consequently delays the project as a whole. Building Information Technology
(BIM) provides the entire data necessary for the design, construction,
operation & maintenance phase of the building life cycle. All the
Information is stored in a common data environment, and is easily accessible by
clients, consultants, architects, and the project team.

Key benefits of BIM

In the light of the UK
Performance Report (2015), it was established that the client satisfaction
level continued to head south since 2009 & client’s projection of value for
money in construction projects was at the lowest in the history of KPI survey.
The time predictability & cost predictability factors were doing no better.
This was predominantly contributed by the lack of real time project information
possessed by the project team. BIM delivers a phenomenal solution that would
boost the client satisfaction level & also the predictability of project
time & cost. Given below are the few of key benefits that are inherited
from this digital information era.

·        
Digitalized
Information & Communication:

Smith & Tardif
(2009) compares unstructured information to searching a needle in a haystack.
Similarly in the traditional system a lot of time & cost is lost in finding
the required project information. For example, during the design process a
great deal of information about building component, materials, and systems are
required to design a sustainable building. Unavailability of these information
results in lesser optimal design. But BIM provides reliable source of
information that is needed for the research & allows easy sharing of data
thereby reducing the time & cost of an ideal design process.

 

 Adding to the advantages BIM makes it easier
to co-ordinate with client, consultant, and architect by effectively
communicating all the project information. The technology simulates a 3D
version of the project far before a single brick is laid. It allow the client
to navigate through virtual project thereby communicating exactly what is being
built & setting out more realistic expectation of the project. Any changes
suggested by client at this stage could be incorporated efficiently without
major price escalations. Since BIM works on a unified platform any changes
implemented are well coordinated with all other services and are communicated
to all the stakeholders of the projects.

·        
Cost Benefits:

According to The
National BIM Report (2016), 63% of users think that BIM will help in the
government’s strategy to reduce the initial & whole life cost of built
assets by 33% before 2025. In most construction projects, the ability to
control cost is at the highest in the design phase of the project. But this
opportunity is often overlooked by the designers due to the enormous pressure
they undergo to deliver the drawings to the construction site. BIM digitalizes
the paper bound construction drawings & further eliminates the documentation
burden. It also reduces the time taken to incorporate any changes in design.
And no matter how many times changes occur all the documents are accurately
maintained. This gives the designer ample of time to concentrate on comparative
system analysis and design a cost efficient building to the satisfaction of the
client.

·        
Procurement:

Crotty (2012) states
that, “the greatest downstream benefit of the BIM approach is to deliver a
well-coordinated design as a basis for procurement by the main contractor”. BIM
provides accurate data that is necessary for healthy procurement. It clearly
mentions the detailed description of each and every component and justifies the
design intent. A clear & unambiguous specification of the components will
help the bidder in providing the right quote. And thereby rules out any
inappropriate advantages taken by bidder as in the conventional system, which
is surrounded by uncertainty. In this way BIM enhances the performance of the
supply chain & passes the benefits of higher profit margin to client.

·        
Health & Safety

BIM offers all
relevant details pertaining to floor openings of the project. There by keeping
the track of the level of edge protection required to prevent fall of person
from height. Not to forget fall from height account for 49% of the total fatal
incidents in the industry in the last five years. However, Health & Safety
is one the areas that is to be further investigated to extract the maximum
potential of the technology. Some key areas of research include GPS tracking of
workmen & optimum use of sensors to prevent collusion.

Challenges of
Implementing BIM

In order to tap the
benefits of BIM, the industry need to transform from the traditional system as
a whole. Therefore it is difficult to exact the maximum possible potential of
BIM in developing countries like India, where the technology hasn’t made its
mark. As Smith & Tardif (2009) goes on to say, this is like the chicken-Egg
dilemma for most of the investors. Another key challenge in the transition to
BIM is that client needs to manage the risks that appear due to the change in
technology in the business environment. According to NBS report 92 % of BIM
users feel that adopting the technology requires changes in workflow &
procedure. This necessitates tremendous rejig in the management system of the
organization. These are the few factors that  
are to be considered while deciding to implement BIM in an organization.

Conclusion:

In the conclusion, the
benefits of BIM outnumber the challenges involved in implementing the system.
Hence people see BIM as the future of the Built environment, and the
government’s 2016 mandate affirms that the future of the industry has begun to
unfold. From the above discussion it is evident that instigating BIM would
improve client outcome. And further enhance the client satisfaction level &
predictability of any project. Therefore it is recommended that clients &
business owners in the construction sector initiate the implementation of BIM
and take advantage of the technology.  

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