On the fast track of BIM

Building Information Modelling (BIM), the completely digital and 3D structural work lifecycle, is sweeping across the industry and moving professionals into the future at incredible speed. To help understand this fast-growing and ever-popular concept, Leica Geosystems BIM experts around the globe, Bernd Moeller (Global), Mark King (Europe, Middle East, Africa), Owen Williams (Asia Pacific) and Cathi Hayes (North America), share their insights.

In the past few years, BIM has seen a remarkable growth. Why is BIM becoming so popular throughout the industry?

Moeller: Due to the fact that BIM is designed as a process and in the meantime is also understood as such by most parts of the construction industry, it can help improve efficiency at multiple phases of the life cycle of a building or other constructs. Similar to our development processes where teams are aiming at identifying and minimising risks at an early stage in the project, BIM does exactly the same. It's common sense that the ability to impact costs goes down over time (of a project), but the cost of changes go up. In order to keep the "scope of action" high, the objective of the construction industry is to shift the planning process to an earlier point in time. To achieve this, BIM as a coordinated approach across all phases and involved trades, allows to keep control of cost overruns, schedule slippage, communication between all involved parties, transparency, planning of labour and material, and finally to stay competitive by doing more with less.

The integration of actionable information based on measurement and positioning technology further increases the quality of the BIM data. Capturing the reality by laser scanning as base for construction model designs, progress verification during construction or clash detection and as-built checking, is as beneficial as transporting design model geometry to the construction site, where the same digital model information is applied by means of laying out points and lines with total stations to immediately construct from. Especially to satisfy the desire for complex structures makes the use of such technology almost indispensable.

King: The construction industry around the globe historically has been focused on a here-and-now approach with assets constructed as one-offs and individual disciplines working in isolation. Now BIM is attempting to bring the process driven approach that industries, such as engineering and oil and gas, have been using for years. Projects that have implemented BIM processes are seeing positive ROIs, but with more countries making BIM a legislated requirement, it is no longer if BIM should be implemented but rather when and how successfully. Adoption of BIM has still not truly hit the masses of our industries, but there has been significant adoption in companies focused on design and within larger contractors and subcontractors where the biggest positive impact can be seen. There is still some way to go to ensure the whole supply chain adopts BIM, but many contractors are now switching the focus away from their internal process improvements to that of their sub-contractors and to the construction site itself. Companies want to eliminate wastage and rework through the adoption of more digitised and technologically advanced workflows. In simple terms, companies want to get the right information to the right people at the right time.

Explore Chapter 1 - Part 2: Why is BIM becoming so popular throughout the industry?

Story: On the fast track of BIM
Chapter 1: Why is BIM becoming so popular throughout the industry? - Part 1
Chapter 1: Why is BIM becoming so popular throughout the industry? - Part 2
Chapter 2: How is the BIM adoption rate in your specific region?
Chapter 3: What advice would you give professionals looking to start a BIM program? - Part 1
Chapter 3: What advice would you give professionals looking to start a BIM program? - Part 2

Reporter 74 - May 2016

Download your own "Reporter 74" as a PDF file.

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