Building information modelling (BIM) is helping transform construction practices in Australia and facilitating digitisation in an industry that has been using outdated methods. How can a switch to BIM in construction management help industry professionals?
In this article
The construction industry is on the up again in Australia. While many construction professionals felt the crunch of the pandemic, it will come as welcome news to know there is a 4.7% growth rate forecast for this year. Small to midsize enterprises (SMEs) will be challenged to make up for business lost amid the pandemic and keep abreast of technological changes in the industry. Going forward, this could be an opportunity to implement construction management software and the benefits of BIM to lay the foundations for the expected growth.
This article will highlight four advantages of BIM software and how making the switch can benefit SMEs.
BIM in a nutshell
Building information modelling (BIM) is a process used by architects, contractors, and other construction professionals to:
- Create and manage information throughout the life cycle of a project
- Design, manage, and construct buildings and infrastructure
- Digitally depict all aspects of the built outcome beforehand
- Provide valuable insights that can save time and money
1. Schedule and integrate construction plans
Over budget and behind schedule projects are not uncommon in the construction industry and are usually the norm rather than the exception. Project scope and deliverables can change due to unforeseen variables; yet, what if you could see the unexpected?
Anticipating setbacks is one of the critical advantages of BIM, so that construction projects run on a shorter, planned schedule with greater efficiency. BIM allows the project to run more fluidly, taking on a more natural, energy-efficient course.
During the various phases of construction project management, different professionals from different organisations need to interact and coordinate. An integrated digital construction management plan allows for greater control of information in the operations phase. BIM defines and automates the tracking of tasks while keeping in mind the shared scope and objectives of the project.
2. Improve and synchronise multi-party communication
Project delays, cost overruns, low-quality builds, and even project failure can directly result from construction conflicts. Where some practitioners may be reluctant to adopt BIM, understanding and prioritising the benefits is essential to its implementation to keep everyone on the same page.
Managing and sharing project information allows engineers, contractors, and suppliers to integrate their expertise, eliminate detrimental clashes, and assess the time and cost implications of a design change.
Construction management software with collaboration tools coordinates teams and models in one shared place. A shared timeline allows for an overall picture of the project that binds all contractors to the project goals. Sharing project information in a common data environment detects clashes and enables team members to resolve issues in real-time.
A common data environment means that one stakeholder, such as an architect, can adjust designs off-site, and contractors can immediately change the model accordingly —synchronous communications result in a more efficient project through increased collaboration.
3. Reduce waste, costs, and risk
Around the globe, there is an attempt to reduce construction waste, and particularly in Australia, there is a growing demand for construction waste management. The national waste report 2020 concluded that the construction and demolition industry accounts for the most significant waste stream, which produced 27 million tonnes (44% of all waste).
Much of this waste is associated with supply chain inefficiencies, clashes, and reworking. However, all of this becomes less likely in a collaborative BIM environment, which can reduce the need for waste management while also reducing costs.
The use of BIM in construction management optimises the use of construction material by modelling the entire project and mitigates risks such as late project delivery. BIM manages project finances from planning to completion that can be tracked and updated at every step.
Model-based cost estimates are likely to be more realistic than when working with a traditional blueprint. BIM digitises the cost estimation process and provides an accurate projection of material costs, which also aids decision making and helps keep projects within budget.
4. Monitor and track progress
The project’s outcome is determined by how well it’s managed throughout its life cycle. By having better insight into the project, BIM provides construction project management professionals with accurate timelines to achieve greater success.
Project tracking software helps businesses streamline their construction processes through real-time monitoring and tracking that can reduce labour spending and defects by providing visibility through reports.
Construction project management software facilitates project execution by serving various roles in the industry, from trade supervisors to project executives, ensuring that all aspects and personnel are considered and monitored for the project’s success.
The building blocks of integration and collaboration
BIM is a handy tool that can help construction management professionals avoid disruptions and potential project failure before breaking ground. For SMEs, the importance of BIM is its ability to effectively manage collaborations with other industry professionals and integrate project planning in handovers. Where SMEs lack the resources to cover all aspects of a project, BIM helps unify separate stakeholders on the path to successful project completion. SMEs should have a long-term plan about how they will adapt to digitisation by keeping in mind the tools available and how they could implement them to improve construction processes.