Building Information Modelling
Building Information Modelling or BIM for short is a revolutionary concept that is taking the construction and real estate businesses by storm. It is a relatively new concept for the sector but has profound roots in the manufacturing sectors especially the shipbuilding industry which has developed some powerful tools for the same.
The traditional building design is largely dependent upon the 2D technical drawing made by an architect using conventional CAD softwares like AutoCAD. The modernization of this approach included developing the basic 3D models and producing beautiful renders in softwares like Revit. These 3D models added an aesthetic appeal to the models and helped visualize the design better. BIM extends the concept beyond 3D, augmenting the three primary spatial dimensions, with time as the fourth dimension and the cost as the fifth dimension, thereby making the project in 5D.
We no longer have just the geometry, we now have the spatial relationships between objects and their attributes like material and surface texture. The parametrization of spatial relationships ensures that if a modification is made in one object (geometry or location), the change is also automatically reflected in the dependent objects, saving a lot of time on the part of designers and planners. The model also has the information of the attributes for selecting and ordering them automatically, providing cost estimates as well as material tracking and ordering.
We also have a virtual information model that is handed from the design team to the contractors and sub-contractors eliminating the delays and errors due to communication gaps and faults, and information loss. The use of BIM goes beyond the planning and design phase of the project, extending throughout the building life cycle, supporting processes including cost management, construction management, project management and facility operation.
The stakeholders in the building process are constantly challenged by tight budgets, limited manpower, accelerated schedules, and limited or conflicting information. The primary disciplines like architectural and structural designs should be well coordinated, as two things can’t take place at the same place and time. BIM aids in collision detection at both the initial and later stage, identifying the exact nature and location of the discrepancies.
BIM is a relatively new technology in an industry typically slow to adopt change. However, many early adopters are confident that BIM will grow to play an even more crucial role in building documentation as it provides, improved visualization, improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information, increased coordination of construction documents, embedding and linking of vital information, increased delivery speed, and reduced costs.
The initial investment in BIM both in terms of time and capital might scare off the people who are reluctant to adapt to change. Although, the initial investment may be high, but the benefits are evident and the concept is being adopted in most of the countries in Europe, South Asia, and the Americas.