Building Information Modelling is becoming a daily part of life for those in the AECO industry but remains shrouded in mystery to many stakeholders involved. Common misunderstandings about what BIM is can lead to hesitation when it comes to making important strategic decisions about implementing it into projects. Once applied correctly, BIM can help companies make better decisions and reduce costs, so buy in from teams and stakeholders alike is crucial to success.
Misunderstandings as to what BIM is can stem from confusing definitions filled with complicated phrasing and industry jargon. ISO 19650 defines BIM as the “use of structured data and information to support the delivery of a project and operation of an asset” and PAS 1192 defines BIM as a “process of designing, constructing, or operating a building or infrastructure asset using electronic object-oriented information”. Other definitions often provided by software companies simply reduce BIM to a modelling tool, leaving out the valuable management component and providing an incomplete definition.
So why is it important to dispel BIM myths? With full knowledge you have the power to create buy-in for BIM, debunk popular misconceptions and move forward in your digitalisation journey. Read on to find out our top BIM myths, and how they can be combated.
BIM is a trend and will soon be gone
Simply put, BIM is here to stay. It is the natural continuation of the evolution of modelling technologies. Paper-based, two-dimensional designs have long been a favoured method in construction for conveying project concepts to team members, however the development of computer-aided design (CAD) software has brought with it the ability to visualise projects with the use of 3D models.
Whilst 3D modelling has brought AECO into a new era, there will always be the desire to push boundaries further. BIM has the capability to assign additional information to 3D models and has the option to display additional dimensions by including information about scheduling and time management (4D) and costs (5D).
With these capabilities (and those not yet even realised), usage will only continue to grow in the coming years, strengthening BIM as an essential component of construction.
BIM is just about 3D modelling
The term ‘building information modelling’ read in the basic sense gives the impression that it simply refers to a 3D modelling programme. Whilst models are of course an important part of the concept, it is the ability to organise different types of information that can be applied to construction projects that multiplies the investment. BIM tools such as partial models, viewpoints, 2D drawings, and additional documents offer a vast scope and fresh perspective to any build.
The real added value of BIM is that it makes all these things easily accessible and sharable across company boundaries so that everyone working on a project can use them.
BIM is just about software
BIM is about much more than simply having the right software. Some companies offer authoring software to create building models, and there are very specialised tools available that support only one aspect of BIM, such as checking for collisions. Whilst the software is indeed important, the secret is how it is used that takes BIM-enabled IT infrastructure to the next level.
BIM is bigger than ‘just software’ and is a process that facilitates a more collaborative way of working, bridging company borders and making information easily accessible for everyone working on a construction project.
BIM can only be used for building construction
One of the most exciting parts of BIM is that it doesn’t have to be limited to just building construction. The added value that BIM creates through the concepts of collaboration and strategically organised information can be applied throughout the construction industry and on a variety of project types.
By making this information accessible to all stakeholders in the construction process, BIM creates a level of transparency that can be applied to all kinds of projects and companies through adapting the work method to meet their specific needs.
BIM is only for the big players in the market
Investing in BIM may seem like a big commitment that has smaller companies shying away from taking advantage of this technology. Whilst allocating the funds for this type of infrastructural development may be daunting (upfront costs can include training and software), construction companies should consider if the investment in BIM would be beneficial for their streamlined workflows, collaboration, organised information, and planning foresight. Ultimately, even for SMEs, buying into BIM can ultimately save costs down the line.
BIM is just for planning, not execution
BIM plays an important role throughout the project lifecycle. No matter what phase a project is in, there is valuable information that can be contributed and a need for information shared by others. Each stage of a construction project is not a stand-alone part, but a piece of a larger puzzle.
Information collected can be invaluable in the next step of the process, so it needs to be documented and accessible in a way that makes it easy to use going forward, which is where BIM comes in. This can include information that will be beneficial for operation and maintenance.
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