Over the last several decades, Building Information Modeling, or BIM, has revolutionized the architecture and engineering industries. For the construction industry, however, BIM adoption is finally hitting the mainstream. The arrival has made project delivery more collaborative, generating opportunities for model data to be modified, shared, and managed throughout a project’s lifecycle.
According to a 2019 Market Research Engine report, “the global BIM market is expected to reach $13.2 billion by the end of 2024, exhibiting significant growth of more than 18% CAGR between 2017 and 2024.”
Clearly, BIM growth is expected to be strong over the next few years. Nonetheless, not all companies are maximizing the technology to its full potential. Nevertheless, companies that adopt robust BIM strategies and workflows will remain ahead – buy why?
Below, we will explore 8 of the top benefits of BIM in construction and give an overview of how to get started on implementing a BIM strategy across your organization.
1. Enhances collaboration and communication
With BIM, teams collaborate on coordinated, shared designs – regardless of location, role in the project, or stage of the project. With access to one model, project stakeholders can communicate in real-time quickly and effectively when there are issues, RFIs, and change orders.
BIM is most effective when everyone involved has access to the information. Meaning you’ll need to collaborate with key project stakeholders – including designers, engineers, architects, owners, subcontractors, and trades – to get everyone on board and using the technology as intended for proper project execution from the office to the field.
2. Increases coordination and productivity
About 24% of rework claims are due to lack of detail or inaccurate specs and logistics. BIM provides a common data environment to coordinate on models for clash detection to address identified areas of concern earlier in the project lifecycle. By avoiding clashes, you reduce the amount of rework needed on any given job.
Additionally, with BIM, you can plan work before onsite building begins. Ultimately, you can avoid last-minute changes and unforeseen issues by enabling easy reviewing and commenting across multiple disciplines. BIM enables teams to have access to the latest model, which leads to less hassle and increased efficiency in the field.
3. Improves the overall quality and performance of the final project
One of the top benefits of BIM is that it can help you measure improvements and identify best practices to repeat so that every job gets better than the one before. Plus, establishing construction KPIs and measuring results can help you realize the ROI on your investment. Using BIM, it’s much more efficient to provide quality from the outset because a higher level of detail is available, reducing the potential for mistakes and errors.
While BIM is beneficial from the initial design phase through construction, access to rich information from models also improves customer satisfaction by ensuring owners and operators have the data they need to operate the building efficiently across its lifecycle.
4. Better cost control and budget compliance
One study by McKinsey found that 75% of companies that have adopted BIM reported positive returns on their investments. BIM can save you money in numerous ways if you take full advantage of it.
For one, using BIM tools helps automate information that enables you to better estimate costs across time. Furthermore, closer collaboration with contractors can lead to reductions in tender risk premiums, lower insurance costs, fewer overall variations, and fewer opportunities for claims. Additionally, a better visual overview of the project before construction begins opens up opportunities for prefabrication to reduce waste on unused materials.
5. Strengthens project safety performance
Construction is one of the most hazardous industries. However, utilizing BIM is one way to help ensure the health and safety of your workers. By using 3D modeling to visualize a building, stakeholders can assess higher areas of risk and prepare for better safety outcomes. BIM data can also identify opportunities for prefabrication in construction, minimizing work in ergonomically difficult areas, thereby reducing risk and improving safety on the jobsite.
6. Eliminates data silos
Historically, construction has operated in a fragmented way, with a high level of disconnect between project phases and uncertainty throughout the project. BIM, especially in a connected construction environment, removes data siloes. Consequently, a solid BIM strategy can remove interoperability between work phases and enhance connectivity throughout a project allowing stakeholders to optimize workflows and processes.
7. Enables flexibility with onsite access
One of the top benefits of BIM is the ability to put critical project information in the palm of workers’ hands – allowing them to spend more time building and less time searching for information. With a cloud-based tool, data is captured in the field on mobile devices and links directly back to the model. As a result, team members can access project information from a single system, and any tasks or changes can be made in real-time. For workflows like RFIs and submittals, transparency is essential to success, and every single communication – such as markups and issues – is logged and available to search to help avoid finger-pointing or blame.
8. Verifies work in digital before building in the physical
Visualizing the model in 3D ensures better accuracy for onsite execution. When utilizing a simulated environment, project stakeholders can identify and fix design flaws before having to mitigate in the field, which ultimately saves time and cost in the long run.
Additionally, 3D modeling shows how the project will develop sequentially, including information such as lead times and how long installations are expected to take. This aids in detecting scheduling issues ahead of time in addition to improving the predictability and performance of the schedule.
4-Steps to Get Started with BIM in Construction
Now that we’ve identified the top benefits of BIM in construction let’s take a look at how teams can get started or deepen their use of the process. While implementing BIM in construction can feel like a daunting task to many firms, here are four essential steps to get you started:
- Get leadership on board: Start at the top by ensuring your company’s leadership is behind the initiative. BIM will change the way you work – for the better, but change is never easy. Successful BIM implementation requires every stakeholder to be involved and bought into the vision. Without support from company leadership, you’re unlikely to get the engagement you need to be successful.
- Identify a champion: Someone on the team should be excited and willing to take up the challenge of leading and championing the implementation. Without guidance and some degree of passion, the project is likely to fizzle. Ensure the champion also feels empowered to drive change in the organization. Be willing to listen to their feedback and remove hurdles, whenever possible.
- Select a pilot project: Using BIM on every project is not something that happens overnight in a construction firm. Instead, start small on one or two projects, rather than rolling out BIM and trying to implement a technology solution across the board. By piloting it on one to two projects to start, this will allow you to successfully integrate BIM into your existing processes and earn buy-in across key project stakeholders.
- Build BIM skills: Even when companies are completely bought into the benefits of BIM, many find their workers’ skill sets do not always live up to expectations. It’s essential to invest in the right technology and training opportunities to level up your workforce to best manage BIM workflows and software.
Unlock the Benefits of BIM in Construction
The benefits of BIM are invaluable for the construction industry. When you invest in BIM, you invest in better quality, lower costs, greater safety, and higher customer satisfaction. Projects utilizing BIM have a greater chance of success and maximize effectiveness across every stage of the project lifecycle and beyond.