Building Information Modeling (BIM) is becoming increasingly integral to construction projects today, with some estimates stating that 80,000 workers will need to be trained in BIM in France alone by 2020. Additionally, 97 percent of construction stakeholders believe BIM should be used in the construction and operation phases – so it’s clear the industry sees its value. However, Building Information Models, or ‘BIM models’ require a complete change of mindset, data-oriented and understanding how to use them is not easy – so it is often only accessible to a small group for specific uses. BIM also has restricted use-cases in the field, particularly during the actual construction phase, which further limits adoption. But is there a way of making it more useful for more people?
So, what exactly is BIM?
In addition to being a way of collaborating, BIM when it comes to BIM models act as central repositories on a construction project for integrating different systems, including digital sensors, smart machines/equipment, mobile devices, and software applications. Think of it like a digital blueprint; it is used heavily during the design and engineering phase, and allows potential design or construction issues to be spotted and resolved early. BIM is also key in facilitating collaboration – allowing multiple stakeholders to access and work on the same project.
However, each BIM has individual properties and is orchestrated differently depending on the tool or platform used, so it can be hard to do cross-project analysis. On top of this, a BIM is often just numbers and geometry – this helps in the design phase but not in the field, as there’s no way of recording information from the construction site once the project is underway.
Putting the ‘I’ in BIM
When a BIM model is created, lots of technical details – or “properties” – are added to each element. For instance, a door may be added to a BIM model; properties will then be specified (e.g. dimensions, thickness). However, when a designer creates a spatial or geographical zone in a BIM, they rarely specify what the zone is for. In other words, a zone with doors and windows is created, but there will be nothing that says: this space is a hallway.
To overcome this, at Finalcad we’ve created specific zones. This ‘zoning’ means every time a Finalcad user wants to create a BIM model, it’s easy to navigate and to select the right area. It also helps to understand what everyone has to do in accordance with zones.
Collecting what comes from the field
With zoning, every issue found, form filled out, or task completed during construction can be linked to the BIM model. Companies can then extract data and compare projects to see the average number of defects in a dwelling, for instance, or the number of audits recording non-conformities in an apartment building. This information can be used to ask questions and take action, such as – do workers need more training on an installation process? Do we need to use a different cabinet manufacturer? Is there a fault with this particular window frame?
Zoning also makes it easier to navigate a BIM model and record data; Finalcad’s zones are listed in the mobile app, which makes it simple for workers in the field. Companies can analyse the data in real time and incorporate operational information to evaluate everything happening during construction.
It’s clear that BIM has huge potential to improve efficiency and quality on projects, but this potential can only be realised if it is managed and applied properly, and if it’s useful in the field, not just in design.
To find out more about Finalcad’s zoning, request a demo: