BIM and the impact on decision-making: Exploring how BIM affects the decision-making process
Making decisions is a complex and challenging endeavor, whether in everyday life or the professional domain. This is especially true in the construction sector, where from project inception, important choices determine the fate of seemingly endless variables: site, orientation, technology, materials, vendors, subcontractors, and so on. Architects and designers need to rely on tools that can help keep track of the factors that come into play in construction—and of easily changing course when a modification is introduced.
In recent years, BIM has emerged as a powerful asset that brings architects, engineers, contractors, and vendors together over a shared model. This collaboration allows them to gain insight into project variables and receive real-time feedback on how the specified geometry, materials and construction methods impact their respective areas of expertise and, consequently, other fields as well. Such a data-driven approach allows making informed choices based on comprehensive data, enhances coordination among stakeholders, and promotes proactive problem-solving throughout the lifecycle of the project. In this article, we’ll go over some aspects of the construction process to uncover how BIM can simplify the decision-making process.
Design and construction planning
When a building is designed using BIM, project owners can be certain that everybody is in the loop: subcontractors are able to check that the location of the different elements does not interfere with the intended path of wiring, piping and ductwork, as architects and engineers ensure that structural components align with the overall design intent. This level of coordination and collaboration results in increased efficiency and minimizes errors, something essential in the early stages of the project, that will define the overall success and trajectory of the entire process. By addressing potential conflicts and optimizing design decisions upfront, stakeholders can establish a solid foundation, setting the stage for a smoother execution and improved project outcomes.
BIM provides a detailed and accurate virtual representation of the building that allows stakeholders to extract precise quantity takeoffs directly from the model. This eliminates the need for manual measurements and reduces the potential for errors. Additionally, BIM enables real-time quantity tracking and analysis throughout the lifecycle of the project. As design changes or modifications occur, the BIM model automatically updates the quantity data, providing immediate feedback on the impact of these changes. This information is crucial for making informed decisions related to budgeting, procurement, and resource allocation. Under or over-estimations can be just as costly as errors in material selection or construction methods, as inaccurate quantity estimations can lead to budget overruns, delays, and potential rework, all having an impact in the overall project timeline and profitability. Accurate quantity estimations enable better cost control, optimize resource allocation, and improve project scheduling, ultimately contributing to a more efficient and cost-effective construction process.
By utilizing BIM as a collaborative platform, all parties involved can access a shared model that integrates various building systems and components. This comprehensive representation allows for clash detection and resolution, identifying potential conflicts early in the design phase. The ability to visualize and coordinate different disciplines within the BIM model enhances communication and collaboration, leading to more informed decision-making. The designer, together with the client and other stakeholders, can analyze and evaluate design alternatives, assess their impact on different systems, and make decisions that optimize efficiency, functionality, and constructability: adjusting architectural elements, re-routing ductwork, or modifying the HVAC system layout. Through discussions and simulations within the BIM environment, the decisions made can optimize efficiency, functionality, and constructability. BIM’s coordination capabilities give a comprehensive view of the project, empowering stakeholders to make well-informed decisions based on accurate and always current information.
Communication between collaborators
The shared information platform that BIM facilitates allows stakeholders to access and contribute to a centralized model, ensuring everyone works with information that is always up-to-date. The enhanced data sharing capabilities of BIM contribute to better communication between all parties involved, and enables making informed decisions based on data that is accurate as well as comprehensive. In turn, the straightforward visual representation provided by BIM facilitates better understanding of the designers’ intent.
In addition, BIM enforces the use of standardized drawing practices, which ensures consistency and uniformity across the project. By adhering to drawing standards, collaborators ensure that their drawings are compatible and can be seamlessly integrated into the overall BIM model. This enhances interoperability and makes it easier to interpret and understand the drawings, which ultimately leads to clearer communications.
Risk mitigation and safety
The visualization of safety systems within the BIM model allows designers to optimize the placement and effectiveness of fire protection, emergency exits, and evacuation routes. Simulation and analysis tools enable the assessment of safety-related scenarios, assisting in making informed decisions to enhance safety measures and mitigate risks. BIM’s 4D sequencing capabilities and construction simulations make it easier to identify and mitigate safety hazards during the construction phase. Furthermore, integrating safety-related data into the BIM model for facility management and maintenance allows stakeholders to make proactive decisions, ensuring that safety measures and compliance extend well beyond the construction phase.
We have seen how BIM can be a powerful aid in navigating the complexities of decision-making. Partnering up with a leading specialized company like Biminglabs can ensure that you maximize the potential of this remarkable tool. Their expertise and experience in BIM implementation will provide you with the necessary guidance and support throughout your project, to harness the full benefits of BIM, streamline your decision-making process, and achieve greater efficiency, accuracy, and success in your next endeavor.