What is BIM?
The UK Government describes Building Information Modelling (BIM) as a collaborative way of working, underpinned by the digital technologies which unlock more efficient methods of designing, creating and maintaining our assets. BIM embeds key product and asset data and a three-dimensional computer model that can be used for effective management of information throughout a project lifecycle, from earliest concept through to operation.
A client can unlock the potential of BIM without great expense and wholesale change. Working with an in-house expert or delivery partner, key elements and process can be identified that will support its delivery and use.
What does this actually mean?
- BIM is not 3D design or 3D models - although these are great for gaining stakeholder understanding, resulting in fewer changes later when cost of change is high.
- BIM is about building a facility twice: first, virtually and then, physically on site. The reason for creating a digital facility first is to develop the physical and functional characteristics of a facility in order to work out problems, and simulate and analyse the potential impacts before proceeding to construction where changes are very costly to make.
- It means data-enabled collaborative working, not only during design and construction phases, but also the operational phase through better information sharing throughout the supply chain.
- During the operational phase, it also means BIM data can be used to understand and improve asset performance and to define better project briefs at the end of the asset's lifecycle.
The Benefits of BIM
Aid decision making during design, construction and operation of an asset
Enhanced engagement with the supply chain during tendering and procurement to maximise their input
Reduce re-work and changes during the construction phase
Better engagement with stakeholders, statutory bodies and wider consultees
Ensure more of the client budget goes on the asset rather than paying for waste!
Delivering savings and increasing the quality of outcomes, when BIM is deployed appropriately!
Evidence shows that savings of 20% in the build phase and 25% in the operational phase can be achieved, while improving the quality of the end product and the quality of the end service delivered.
A big win from BIM is that the operational data is delivered on time, at the end of the project. So if you are operating or passing on the asset, you have the right information at the right time. How often do you have a hefty set of Health and Safety files and Operation and Maintenance manuals gathering dust in a corner of the FM office or a basement archive? Often because it has been delivered late, does not reflect the information you or your FM service provider needs, so it is surveyed again! With BIM the information requirements are defined at the outset of the project which results in consistent data delivery across a project or portfolio of projects. This allows building owners and managers, access to consistent and uniform information to make informed decisions about their estates.
University of Reading School of Construction Management and Engineering
A study on project cost and time overrun states that indecision / poor information leading to change is the biggest reason for project overruns. The study suggests that client led change represents 76% of change requirements and 24% is through design development.
How to incorporate BIM
To ensure BIM is set up correctly, clients need to define their BIM aspirations. This does not require the client to author project documents as they can be supported by their advisers. However your organisation does need to understand the BIM process to be able to set the expectations of your project consultant and contractor teams. There are a few key things you as a client need to think about and make decisions on, that will help deliver the benefits of delivering a project in a BIM environment.
Calculate the benefits of using BIM
Cost savings increase over time and projects. On average there is a 5-10% cost reduction on early projects. As a guide, see below how much you could save as your experience grows.
As your frequency of procurement increases, so do the benefits of BIM.
Let us help you
We have worked with many clients across many sectors at every level and at every stage of the asset life cycle. We have implemented corporate standards, capital delivery process and practice and supported digital approaches to operational data management and asset planning. We would like to help you.