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April 23, 2015

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Part 2 – BIM: A guide for beginners – benefits of BIM for different roles

By Grace Lewis

The next article in Barbour Product Search’s ‘beginner’s guide to BIM’ series summarises the main benefits of BIM for those involved in the life cycle of a BIM project:

  • The Architect
  • The Building Product Manufacturer
  • The Contractor
  • The Health & Safety Manager
  • The Facilities Manager

The Architect

BIM visualisation will allow for much more scope in the design process of projects. With BIM, a building can be modelled with greater detail, covering things like plumbing, partitions and internal layouts, getting into the heart of a building at the early stages. Moving forward, this means a great deal of time and money can be saved in the later stages.

One of the most beneficial features of BIM for an architect is ‘clash detection’. Put simply, this is an application which allows computer processes to check certain rules like code regulations and any possible structural issues with a building.

The Building Product Manufacturer

Implementing BIM will see projects evolve from the traditional linear “design-bid-build” delivery. The BIM data is housed in a “Cloud” allowing all disciplines simultaneous access resulting in more collaboration earlier in the process.

This collaborative way of working should be embraced by building product manufacturers. Having products available as BIM components will allow specifiers the convenience of dropping the products directly into their design.

BIM is not solely a design and build tool, it is also able to deliver information to building operators throughout the life of the building. This makes BIM an invaluable tool for product manufacturers as they are able to supply building operators with integral information about their products. Maintenance requirements, operating instructions and spare part information can be included in a manufacturer’s BIM offering meaning that a building operator’s first call if there is a requirement for product maintenance or parts is back to the manufacturer.

The Contractor

One of the main benefits of BIM for contractors, as is the case for architects and the rest of the supply chain, is that the process should be quicker. This will ensure contractors can be ready to begin on site at a much earlier date than perhaps would be possible with CAD drawings. Moreover, using BIM, contractors can separately create models for estimating, fabrication or a simulation of what the construction will look like, without sharing the models.

Contractors will also be receiving more comprehensive data from the design team, including a fully detailed prototype of the building model for inspection.

The Health & Safety Manager

For the health and safety manager, BIM can become an important technology to utilise. For example, scenarios can be simulated in the virtual world before getting on site, enabling workers to address any potential risks without the danger.

Automated checking can also be completed meaning rule sets can be analysed to detect hazards. For example, BIM can detect where a fall arrest system should be used.

BIM can also help to plan out sequences of work in a timeline, and detect clashes on construction sites. This means that if a particular order of work becomes a safety risk, the Health & Safety expert can avert a potentially dangerous situation.

The Facilities Manager

BIM technology is about the lifetime value of a building not solely about the design and build process, yet many facilities managers cite initial investment as a concern when it comes to implementing BIM.

BIM is capable of providing facilities professionals with reliable data about their properties which has the potential to offset any initial investment concerns. The technology can help create facilities that are more efficient with lower carbon emissions making them less costly to run. BIM can also hold information on products and materials used in the construction of a building. This means that maintenance, repair and replacement of building products can be simpler to acquire after the initial handover period is complete, significantly reducing maintenance costs.

As well as the benefits of BIM in maintaining a building the data from building information models can also be used for space management, disaster planning and to create accurate depictions of the physical conditions, environment and assets of a facility.

Collaborative working is key for successful BIM implementation. By collaborating with those involved in the design and construction of a building, facilities managers can more effectively manage the space and assets in operation and maintenance for the life of the building.

For more information, read our previous post: BIM: A guide for beginners

Grace_New_Social_Media_linkedinGrace Lewis is the Content & Community Manager for Barbour Product Search, an image-led, digital building product directory. The site is regularly updated to provide a comprehensive resource for architects and other specifiers looking for products, inspiration and information on construction trends. Grace is also passionate about BIM, and regularly writes to help support product manufactures adopt the technology and process, as well as being an active working group member of BIM4M2. Read more articles about BIM.

Follow Grace on Twitter.

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