By Tony Ryan.
Most industries have changed dramatically over the past 40 years. The automotive industry for example has made huge strides in developing energy efficient / safe vehicles for people, whereas the telecommunications industry has lead by example by launching new products to the market, year after year, allowing us to be better connected. Although the construction industry has made progress in terms of innovative building products, the way in which our buildings are designed and built has had little change, until now.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is here to stay and is undoubtedly going to change the construction industry for the better. Similar to changes in other industries BIM introduces a whole new world of technology driven changes to the industry. It has been the hot topic in the construction industry for the last 3 years as BIM users have been trebling since 2010.
With just three years away from the government’s target for achieving level 2 BIM and the development of level 3, leading organisations have adopted BIM and are already receiving its benefits. Those who have not adopted BIM may fall behind and “lose out” but it is certainly key to a successful future as it provides a structured informative approach to design. An interesting study carried out by Stanford University, Centre for Integrated Facilities Engineering of 32 major projects using BIM (2007), outlined some eye-catching findings. The use of BIM will enable:
- Up to 40% elimination of unbudgeted change.
- Up to 80% reduction in time taken to generate a cost estimate.
- Cost estimation accuracy within 3%.
- A savings of up to 10% of the contract value through clash detections.
- Up to 7% reduction in project time.
With figures like these it is clear that BIM = opportunity!
39% of the construction Industry are now using BIM according to “The National BIM Report 2013” carried out by the NBS. Architectural technologists are the dominant group at 14.4% and are followed by Building Services Engineers at 4.5%. With a joint effort from the design team to make a shared project model those who have already adopted BIM will never look back. As the illustration indicates I think designers never again want the torment of “Information Chaos”! (Information Chaos on the left and Shared Project Model on the right below)
Interestingly, 55% of actual BIM users found that it brought cost efficiencies, 50% that it increased speed of delivery and 46% that it increased profitability. Obviously if clients, government and contractors continuously demand BIM, it means that not adopting BIM may be a competitive disadvantage.
In my opinion BIM is the most exciting change the construction industry has faced since the development of AutoCAD but it brings some challenges with it. There will be investment, training required, technical challenges to overcome and decisions to be made but it will be worth it. Sometimes change isn’t favoured by everyone as many enjoy their “comfort zone” where they can apply their traditional ways of designing. It is inevitable that engineers of the future will be different to those of the past and they are the ones who get the most out of this exciting change that will succeed and benefit from it.
BIM is a tool that will help the project team to communicate the needs of a project more quickly and accurately than traditional practices. However, the tool cannot perform without the cooperation of the entire team (including the manufacture). Having played a major role in the successful development of Kingspan Insulated Panels’ first batch of BIM objects, I can say that the development of BIM has opened doors of new opportunity to better communicate with all our clients. We have invested time and money into BIM and we are now seeing the benefits internally and externally while also continuing to commit ourselves to supporting the design team.
The primary challenge we have faced is that we cannot just adopt one BIM platform and generate intelligent BIM objects solely for that platform. For example, different architects are using different platforms using our products so we have produced “data rich” BIM objects that are publically available in Revit, ArchiCAD, AECOsim, Vectorworks and IFC formats. Having completed this task we have discovered better, more efficient ways of producing the objects that will benefit both Kingspan and our customers.
Although BIM has been in the media for quite some time and a lot of organisations have committed to BIM already there is a large percentage of the industry who are still reluctant to get involved. This may be because they want to learn from others but my advice would be to embrace the ability to learn with enthusiasm, and enjoy the journey!
My name is Tony Ryan of Kingspan Insulated Panels and I support BIM. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any queries on firstname.lastname@example.org
By Tony Ryan, Building Performance Analyst, Kingspan Insulated Panels