Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a term describing a process used to give construction workers the insights and tools to design and implement their projects more effectively. BIM, and the introduction of 4D BIM, are altering the way construction workers and managers are creating and executing their projects.
Jobsite ANZ spoke with Cameron Mack, the National BIM Manager for Hames Sharley, an Australian architecture, planning and design practice, about how BIM is shaking up the construction industry, and what the future holds.
Why the Confusion Around BIM?
BIM has been around in the construction industry for over 20 years, yet the term is still widely misunderstood. According to Mack, confusion can be traced back to Autodesk’s marketing strategy in the early 1990s, which aimed to “create a market based around their terminology” with the introduction of BIM.
While this marketing was successful for Autodesk at the time, it has led to confusion over what BIM actually refers to. Despite this, construction businesses and other industries have been able to leverage the technology and processes associated with BIM to enhance their projects.
“We have optimised the process where we incorporate multiple technologies to achieve the best possible outcome for the project,” says Mack. “We collaborate with not only the design team but also the construction team by utilising BIM processes.”
“We have optimised the process where we incorporate multiple technologies to achieve the best possible outcome for the project,” says Mack.
Construction companies can use BIM to better understand the requirements of their projects and utilise BIM processes in a way that will enable projects to be implemented more effectively.
“Instead of the builder working from a hard copy print out of a floor plan, where they are guessing what a line means, they now have the ability to view items in 3D and their associated information,” says Mack.
Being able to view documents in 3D rather than in paper form provides construction workers with a better view of architectural and other design layouts. It thus enables them to gain a greater understanding of plans and the best way to implement them.
The Future of BIM
With the growing digitalisation of the construction industry, BIM has allowed for information to be accessed, viewed, and interpreted at speed and at scale. The next step is to generate information even faster.
“With the two working in cohesion, the possibilities are endless. We will be able to review, interrogate, optimise, and implement the best designs for every situation,” says Mack.
While BIM will enable technology to increase the speed of information, it will still be up to construction industry professionals to ensure information is created, interpreted and processed at an optimal standard.
Leveraging new technologies such as VR and Computational Design can create a more immersive environment in which construction managers will be able to demonstrate projects to their clients. Moreover, it will also mean their faster design and implementation.
“For the construction industry, the techniques of creating form and structure will ultimately change.”
“For the construction industry, the techniques of creating form and structure will ultimately change. The construction process will be fluid, adaptable and accommodating to the new designs achieved by design teams,” says Mack.
Having greater access to information through BIM about the quantity, size and specification of construction projects can be used to automate processes on and off-site so that project implementation is more convenient.
Turning a Corner With 4D BIM
The next generation of BIM is set to be 4D BIM, which involves the implementation of time into the process. This new form of BIM is further changing how the construction industry operates.
“We have progressed as an industry from delivering simple 2D plans, to creating 3D models with basic embedded information, to being able to assign time to elements such as footings, floors, walls, and roofs,” says Mack.
This enables construction teams to visualise the process of implementing projects before they have even begun.
“They will be able to identify areas of concern, where a possible construction clash will occur and plan to avoid the issue,” he adds. Such troubleshooting will help to reduce on-site hold-ups and wasted time.