What is BIM?
Building Information Model or “BIM” is a detailed digital representation of a building design process. A BIM allows designers, contractors, developers, manufacturers and engineers to share data and construction information easily and efficiently, locating potential conflicts between different design plans and providing a valuable model for building owners that significantly reduces maintenance costs over the life of the building. Models can also be utilized for Scheduling and Estimation purposes too.
While adapting to the advantages BIM offers requires investment in staff, processes, and technology, as well as requiring increased collaboration between the design teams. Nonetheless, the advantages are apparent.
The use of BIM can results in data-rich as-built models that contain a wealth of information for smarter building operations:
Architects can produce more accurate designs with fewer errors, less waste, and closer alignment to the owner’s vision.
Engineers can increase coordination with architects and other engineering disciplines, improving the reliability of their designs.
Contractors can make sure that constructability issues are flagged early on when changes are less expensive to make.
Owners will be able to use the models far into the future as the basis of a comprehensive facilities and asset management program.
BIM has translated into overall efficiency gains in the construction process of between 7% and 20%. Since the UK Government established its BIM Task Group in 2011 it has experienced an 18% improvement in the productivity on its projects. Specific improvements occur through:
Improved productivity due to easy retrieval of information
Conflict detection and analysis at design phase
Increased coordination of construction documents
Embedding and linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials, location of details and quantities required for estimation and tendering
Increased speed of delivery
BIM means global collaboration
BIM technologies have revolutionized global collaboration in architecture and construction. Open collaboration workflow through BIM servers now allow for multiple location real-time support in a truly virtual environment.
BIM in New Zealand
According to the 2016 BIM in New Zealand Survey, there has been a 64% increase in BIM project use in the last two years. In 2014, 34% of the industry control group's projects used BIM; this has increased to 55% in 2016.
With government initiatives in the US and Europe supporting BIM adoption, and the New Zealand government making BIM the centerpiece of its Productivity Partnership (to improve construction sector productivity by 20% by 2020), the full migration toward BIM adoption in New Zealand is imminent. BIM has arrived and has created exciting new opportunities for those who are first to make the transition to full BIM design and management.
“BIM or Building Information Modelling promises to be a game changer in lifting the productivity of New Zealand’s building and construction sector.”