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  • John Davi

5 Advantages and Disadvantages of using BIM modeling

Building Information Modeling:

Building information modeling, or BIM, is a process supported by various tools, technologies and contracts involving the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of buildings and aiding in planning, and designing structures of any size and complexity.

If you are at a stage to decide whether a BIM system is right for you and how BIM and general construction go together, keep in mind the following advantages and disadvantages of BIM modeling for your next project. Let's now discuss the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of BIM Modeling:

  • Better design and planning: When you use BIM modeling, it enables a completed building and all its related MEP services and systems to be visualized on screen before ground is broken on the construction site. This information allows better planning and design that takes best advantage of available space and resources. This information allows better planning and design for the architect that enables available space and resources to be used more effectively.

  • Design changes handled efficiently: The BIM model is shared between other trades so all collaborators can make changes to the one BIM model. This can be at set times ready for follow up design team meetings or on-going weekly coordination meetings or in real time, so everyone is working with up-to-date information and a collaborative workflow can be established.

  • Fewer reworks on construction site: BIM modeling allows you to see potential problem areas and corrected through model ‘clash detection’ process before the error is done in the physical world. This reduces the need for costly rework and revision thereby helping reduce the overall cost of the project.

  • Savings on prefabrication materials: BIM modeling allows contractors and subcontractors to visualize the project and allowing them to prefabricate material offsite more easily and precisely, which can save time and money through better productivity controls in the manufacturing environment away from a construction site. BIM systems keep track of resources and provide detailed information on requirements even before construction begins. You have a lower probability of ordering more than needed and can only restock if needed.

  • Building Information and other data available for a lifetime: For the teams that adopt BIM, the model can be populated with abundant information that is simple to peruse and discover whenever they want down the lane in the future. Every framework and surprisingly individual part in the model can contain data of size, shading, and parts supplier information. Those old forms of saving manufacturers data in the form of scanned or photocopied papers kept in ring binders talking up valuable storage space are not for the current day and age. All information is available within the BIM model for you.

Disadvantages of BIM Modeling:

  • Expensive Modeling BIM Software and Initial Investment: BIM software to carry out initial model construction or changes requires a considerable amount of investment in the software, along with high end powerful PC’s to process the huge amount of data required. However, the advantages make the investment worthwhile, but only if the software is used to its full capacity.

  • Lack of Trained Staff and Experts: The BIM technology is relatively new and is still evolving that means that there are limited numbers of experts working in the field. Apart from the software and high end PCs, an additional investment in the form of training and education is regularly required. Along with additional staff comes office space and office resource. The benefits provided by time saving on site usually make the investment on the staff and software worthwhile, but only if many projects use this resource and ultimately the model produced is fully utilized and accurate.

  • Lack of Trust and Co-operation: Trust and co-operation is vital for any successful BIM coordination project. All trades/parties involved in the project need to be willing to share knowledge and to invest, sometimes even before they are awarded the project by the client.

  • Compatibility issues with trade partners: As mentioned earlier, the BIM technology is still evolving and is not yet to be universally accepted and used among construction design professionals. There is always the possibility that one of your trade partners or subcontractors may not use BIM technology and may not be able to use your models resulting in wasteful expenditure.

  • Difficulty engaging the end customer : The project specification or procurement framework will demand BIM, only to find an end user of the building who doesn’t see or understand the ongoing advantages of using the model to its full extent. The manufacturer information available within the updated as-built model is ignored, resulting in wasted time and effort from the construction team populating the model with all the manufacturers details and maintenance information in the first place.

The fundamental feature of a smart building is that its systems are all linked. It begins by first joining the core systems like lighting, power meters, water meters, pumps, heating, fire alarms etc. with sensors and control systems. This is followed by the linking of elevators, access systems and shading at a more advanced stage. At the very core of a smart building thus lies: effective integration and collaboration. When there are multiple disciplines and stakeholders involved a collaboration between all of them can get challenging. BIM makes sure that all the stakeholders stay on the page regarding the project so that troubleshooting and eliminating errors is easier.

We at URCADServices offer high quality MEP BIM Modelling and Coordination Services for complex commercial buildings and institutional projects. Our multi-disciplinary in-house approach ensures that we have the capacity to provide full services for a variety of projects in Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, and MEP Services. Outsourcing is a great way to find new talent and can be a great investment for your business. Contact us today for your engineering and BIM services requirements.


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