Over the past few years, the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) based software has substantially increased in the Indian construction and architecture circles. This is because BIM provides a comprehensive solution to all stakeholders in all stages of a project, making collaboration far simpler. It is a powerful solution to a lot of the problems that had so far bothered professionals in the industry. So, what is BIM?
Building Information Modeling (BIM) software is a class of software designed for construction professionals, engineers, and architects. It typically uses advanced 3D modeling with computer-aided design (CAD) to effectively conceptualize, design, manage, construct and maintain all kinds of construction projects.
This type of software usually has a visually rich interface that combines all data points on materials, measurements, specifications, and functions to provide an all-encompassing view of a project, to all its participants. In addition to planning and design, BIM software can provide advanced capabilities to budget and manage the workflow of a project.
The benefits of BIM are multi-fold and it is not surprising that key stakeholders in the architecture and construction industry are increasingly realizing its value.
Here are some of the reasons why BIM software is so much in demand:
- Automatic Changes – BIM software allows for quick changes to designs and automatic update of components belonging to various teams. For example, if changes are made to an apartment’s window size, it automatically updates wall material usage.
- Reduced Costs – Instead of carrying out consolidations post-construction or at every stage, leading to higher costs; the advanced systems of BIM software allow for every single change to be reflected in 3D render as well as in all types of data so that all participants can make corrections in the planning stage itself.
- Collaboration & Review – BIM is a platform that supports collaboration between the various parties through their digital access. Instead of wasting time on physical meetings and back & forth, the different teams working on a project can implement changes quickly which can then be approved by all.
- Advanced Designing & Visualisation – As mentioned earlier, BIM provides users with smart tools and capabilities to aesthetically display projects, play with colors, place components, plan space, etc. Enhanced by its 3D capabilities and rich visuals, using this type of software is a treat to the eyes.
BIM as a tool has diverse applications and is useful in all stages of a construction project. Here’s an overview of the myriad applications of BIM.
Project Conceptualisation – Instead of simple CAD drawings, BIM allows architects to present initial concepts in a visually appealing format to clients and various teams working on the project.
Design Stage – This is the stage where the engineers and other specialists step in and along with the architect they create the entire end-to-end design for the building. BIM allows for increased collaboration and constructive use of everyone’s time.
Material Procurement – During the procurement stage, the software can be used to correctly estimate the quantity of material required and the cost for the same. This is useful in real-time monitoring of the project budget, thereby maintaining transparency.
Construction – In the construction phase, BIM software comes handy in life project monitoring, damage control, and on-the-go decision making. All stake-holders are aware on a real-time basis regarding the project progress. When used in conjunction with complementary scanning tools, BIM tools can help in a course-correction way before expensive errors are committed.
Maintenance – Even years after construction is completed, BIM can assist owners or builders in effectively maintaining the project. 3D models generated during the construction phase can provide users data on energy usage, purchase dates of equipment, layout, etc. which can help facilitate timely maintenance. Further, it helps property managers draw a plan for annual maintenance based on facts rather than a schedule.
A typical BIM software is a complex yet intuitive piece of software and thus can be picked up easily by professionals who are already using 2D and 3D designing tools. The scope of the software, as well as its advantages, are too vast to be encapsulated in one write up. However, given its exponential growth in demand over the last few years, it would bode well for architects and construction professionals to familiarise themselves with the concepts of BIM and introduce it to their upcoming projects to achieve brilliant results at a fraction of the cost.