By now, no one is foreign to the fact that Building Information Modeling (BIM) has become an essential asset in the AEC industry. As we have seen in one of our previous articles, it has the ability to minimize and control costs as it improves the quality of the final product. In addition, it has changed the way designers, engineers and contractors engage and collaborate, helping firms increase their return on investment. It has also led clients to better understand the scope of their project and detect any problem points early on in the process, giving ample time to resolve them before the first stages of construction have even begun. But as with every new technology, it needs to overcome a few hurdles along the way. We’ll go over some of the most common misconceptions potential clients have regarding the methodology, and try to dispel the myths that may be keeping it from being more widely implemented.
1. BIM is just another 3D modeling software
If you’re not familiar with the tools of the trade, you might think that BIM is simply a more sophisticated version of CAD. You’re probably aware that it helps incorporate more information into whatever you wish to create—but it actually does so much more than that. BIM is a methodology all of its own, as the rationale behind it is to allow designers, builders, architects, manufacturers, installers, and other parties to create and manage a construction project from start to finish, over a single federated 3D model, using agreed upon standards. Unlike CAD, objects are not simply drawn, but virtually “built” with associated technical data, and interact with each other in the same way that they would in real life.
2. BIM is expensive
Some might argue that the methodology is easy to learn but hard to master, and in this respect, the truth of the matter is that—yes—, you might want to turn to the experts for BIM use to be financially feasible. What does this mean? If you’re a precast concrete manufacturer, for example, BIM provides the right framework to manage costs, timeframes and material quantities. But its somewhat steep learning curve implies that you might be better off outsourcing services to an experienced company capable of delivering the manufacturing files you need, with no further work required. You’ll want to leverage their experience with BIM to create time and cost benefits that stem from increased efficiency, a clearer communication, rallied efforts, and accurate design estimates.
3. BIM not only benefits architects and engineers, but especially the client
Aside from the many advantages of BIM in terms of overall efficiency and facilitating quantity takeoff, BIM can also be used for user-friendly visual communication and better user outcomes. During the design phase, the client can be made part of the decision-making process through the use of 3D views or walkthroughs of the future building. BIM can also help by offering evacuation simulations of occupants in case of an emergency, or assist with performing daylight analysis of interior spaces. This visual support contributes to ease of communication with the client, all the while improving collective understanding of the design intent and offering reassurance that there will be no surprises in terms of visual appearance and the effect the building will have on its surroundings.
4. BIM is only for major companies or government projects
In infrastructure or building projects of any size, the analysis, proposal, and documentation of the design undergo many modifications made by the client, the architect, the structural engineer and other specialists. While it is true that the demand for BIM from the public sector was the first to encourage fast adoption rates among design and construction companies, for years now, private endeavors have become equally attracted to the optimization of resources, flexibility and adaptability that the methodology has to offer. The potential of BIM to unlock improved outcomes throughout the lifecycle of the building or asset is just as appealing to developers and manufacturers as it is to government-funded projects.
5. BIM is a passing trend
Given the technological advancements in construction systems, building materials and machinery, especially with the fast-paced rise of computer-aided manufacturing, CAD has rapidly become outmoded. And while BIM has been quite the buzzword for many years, it is only now beginning to be recognized for all its worth. In a time when AR, VR, and especially AI are proving to be taking over everything we know, our humanity is doing its best to try to catch up with automation and enhanced realities. In other words, new construction methods call for new ways of thinking and creating, and BIM is extremely well-positioned to fill the gap that still exists between the virtual and the physical.