What is Building Information Modelling (BIM)?

Digital transformation is a buzz word across many industries, and architecture, engineering and construction are no different. Building Information Modelling, or BIM, is the key to digital transformation in construction.

What is BIM?

In short, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the process of creating and managing information for a construction project or built asset. One of the outputs of this process is the Building Information Model, a digital representation of a project across its lifecycle from planning and design to construction and operations using multi-disciplinary data.

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Applications of BIM along the engineering and construction value chain (Source: Shaping the Future of Construction)

What are the advantages of Building Information Modelling?

By assembling information collaboratively and updating at key stages of a project, the model allows optimisation of all aspects of the build. It achieves this by making it possible for anyone to access all the information about every component of a building in one place. This minimises the risk of mistakes and discrepancies, thereby reducing costs associated with reparation and changes.

BIM data can be used to illustrate the entire building life-cycle, from cradle to cradle, from inception and design to demolition and materials reuse. Spaces, systems, products and sequences can be shown in relative scale to each other and, in turn, relative to the entire project. And by signalling conflict detection BIM prevents errors creeping in at the various stages of development/ construction.

Source: The NBS

How does EVO-MEP use BIM in the prefabrication of building services?

Leveraging the BIM process, EVO-MEP is able to design, detail, document and fabricate building services more efficiently. The BIM MEP models provide insight into design and construction allowing us to improve accuracy, reduce and resolve conflict of services, and ultimately optimise the design of mechanical, electrical and plumbing services.

How broadly is BIM used in Australia?

Despite initially being developed as a concept back in the 1970’s, Australia only began recognising its true value in construction in 2015/2016. It was in February 2016 that Infrastructure Australia recommended a BIM mandate for large-scale projects

Governments should make the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) mandatory for the design of large-scale complex infrastructure projects. In support of a mandatory rollout, the Australian Government should commission the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council, working with industry, to develop appropriate guidance around the adoption and use of BIM; and common standards and protocols to be applied when using BIM.

Source: Wikipedia

Following this, Infrastructure Australia released a report in 2019 where it reported construction is currently one of the least digitised sectors and that productivity is lagging with a decline of around 2.5% between 2017 and 2018 on an hours worked basis. Through leveraging BIM and prefabrication, the Australian construction sector can advance, improve productivity, and make more efficient use of labour hours.

In February 2019, the Government release the Australian Strategic BIM Framework, stating –

State and Territory Governments recognise the value of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in the delivery and management of buildings and infrastructure assets and networks across Australia.  BIM offers many benefits throughout the asset lifecycle and has the potential to drive  efficiency, value for money, productivity and innovation.  Governments are committed to enabling and supporting Australian industry and asset owners to  take  advantage  of  the  opportunities  provided  by  BIM  in  design,  construction  and  asset  lifecycle management.

Source: Australasian BIM Advisory Board

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Source: Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019

How can BIM and Prefabrication save taxpayer dollars?

The Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a “Report on the implementation of sustainable development goals, in 2018. This report estimated that “a 1% increase in construction sector efficiency would result in an approximately $500 million saving to the taxpayer”; however this is dependent on industry activity at that time.

Conclusion

The benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and prefabricated and modular building services go hand-in-hand. They are complementary of one another in their pursuit of improving the efficiency and productivity of the construction sector.

 

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