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There’s a lot of noise about building information modelling (BIM) in our industry and that noise has helped to establish some pretty unhelpful myths. Here, The B1M’s Co-Founder Fred Mills attempts to tackle the three most substantial ones!
(Clicking the blue title links will take you to that specific part of the video on YouTube).
Many people think BIM is only about drawing things in 3D and it is easy to see how people can make that assumption when 3D visuals are the big visible difference from the old way of doing things. The actual word “modelling” throws some people as well. You’re completely forgiven for thinking that means a physical object or an entity.
In fact building information modelling (BIM) is the process of creating digital data sets formed of graphical and non-graphical information in a shared digital space known as a common data environment (CDE).
The non-graphical information is linked to the graphical 3D model. When you explore and click on different parts of the 3D representation, you’ll be able to access the information about it. Clicking on a window for example might give you the information on its manufacturer, lead-time, performance level, cost and when it might need replacing. The whole thing is known as a “data set” or “information model”.
That’s what BIM is: the process of creating well-structured and easily accessible digital data about a building that is being built or that’s in use. It is much more than just 3D modelling and involves all parties of the project team on an equal, collaborative footing from the outset. Not just the design team.
If you are working on your first ever BIM project it probably will take time to get your head around things initially. Designers might be working in 3D for the first time and having to link in accurate attribute data; project teams might be getting used to accurately structuring their data in a common data environment; Estimators might need to get their heads around 5D BIM.
But you need to look past all of that.
Some studies (such as Avanti) have shown potential efficiency savings of up to 20-25% from working in a BIM environment. From being able to find accurate data, faster, in a single shared space and from being able to take decisions on that data that are right first time.
"In a typical five day working week, 20% represents an entire day"
In a typical five day working week, 20% represents an entire day. If you can realise these efficiency savings, then you will gain an extra day in every week of your financial year that your competitors – who are behind on BIM adoption – won’t have. That time will allow you take on more work whilst keeping your cost base the same, increasing your turnover and profit.
The myth that BIM takes more time is unfounded. If you invest time as an organisation in getting yourself up to speed initially, you can actually save time.
Perhaps the biggest myth of all surrounding BIM. In the early days we have seen companies charging more because of the time it takes to get up to speed, or to design in 3D, or because of new software they need to purchase, or new processes that they need to create. For certain parties in a project team BIM will require some investment when you first adopt it and the scale of that investment will vary depending on your discipline.
But constantly charging more to work in a process that requires more integrity rather than more work is not helpful. The people who approach our industry and ask us to build their buildings really don’t understand the idea of being asked to pay more for an asset to be delivered properly.
In the long run, if you can realise those efficiency savings of 20-25% and reduce the overall level of risk in the process, BIM will actually save you money.
"BIM will actually save you money"
We have only attempted to tackle the three big BIM myths here, but there are many more out there. If there are some that drive you mad or confuse you, please comment below and let us know.
This video was kindly sponsored by Viewpoint. Find out more about them here.
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