The true benefits of BIM reach far beyond clash detection.

The increased adoption rate of building information modeling (BIM) has led many to realize that the advantages of BIM reach beyond the office. While the preconstruction model originates in an architect's or an engineer's office, it should eventually find its way to the jobsite. Clash detection, a process of discovering the building system conflicts and issues by collaborating in a 3-D project model, was previously seen as the biggest benefit of BIM, but the most compelling benefits of BIM can be seen in the field.

Enhanced Collaboration

Communication and collaboration is crucial for project success. And when used correctly, BIM forces enhanced communication among team members. 

Visualize a meeting without BIM. All team members take notes with their own agenda in mind and make many assumptions during the meeting. Once the team members are back at their workplaces, they make their own adjustments and additions.

With BIM, everyone works in one model. Changes occur directly in the model, and the model is then shared with the group. All participants in the construction process benefit, including the owner, developer, project managers, consultants, contractors and subcontractors. They all have access to up-to-date design, cost and scheduling information in real-time.

Improved Field Processes

After everyone works in the same BIM model identifying fabrication status and change orders, this information must move to the jobsite. Continuing to transfer information the old way-printing on paper, hauling it to the site and pulling tape-introduces too many variables. Working this way also increases the risk of delay and waste.

A better way to move the BIM model into the field is with a site layout tool. This turns the BIM model from an office-based design tool to a true construction tool.

With this tool, the BIM data for the field is already coordinated in the model-it is like a virtual building. Since the BIM model has already been built once, the project can be built again with accuracy when it is moved to the field (confirmed by the model). More focus can then be directed toward safety and quality.

Intelligent Analysis

A typical request from the field might sound like this: "Show me what I'm working on next week, and then highlight what items will stand in my way, such as an outstanding RFI or an unapproved submittal." With BIM, progress is clearly visible to all involved and easily communicated to those off the jobsite. BIM becomes a visual platform to analyze information in the field.

Real-time daily field updates in the 3-D BIM model allow crews to see the current status of each component and what needs to be completed next. This not only saves time, but it also calculates accurate progress reports and resource statistics.

Like most jobsite material management processes today, traditional workflows involve tedious paperwork and challenging coordination. Using BIM software to implement a visual, automated and connected solution brings efficiency and accountability to the process.


Construction Business Owner, July 2011