BIM Processes Are Impossible to Ignore
What began as traditional CAD software and design models has evolved into a highly advanced technology that connects design, construction and operations, from office, site and field for efficient project coordination. Advances in BIM technology now facilitate BIM methodologies throughout all stages of an asset’s lifecycle.
“BIM technology is evolving into a tip-to-tail vision that enables organizations to create a digital engineering model that spans an asset lifecycle from design, to build, to operations,” says Harry Vitelli, senior vice president, project delivery, Bentley Systems, Exton, Pa.
As users become more accustomed to advanced BIM technologies, some of the biggest demands are for applications that allow for easier walkthroughs and constructability reviews. “As a result,” Vitelli adds, “we have concentrated our R&D on developing applications that popularized the use of visualization and clash resolution capabilities for identifying constructability and compliance issues, offering our users 3D model review and office-site-field collaboration, to better control project outcomes.”
Benefit of BIM Reviews
Projects of all sizes can realize the benefits of BIM advancements. From a technology perspective, employing a BIM review strategy enables the integration of data-rich models and project information databases to build a virtual representation of a project and all assets. All stakeholders can access reliable information, making collaboration easier, reducing risks and improving ROI.
BIM is a practice that allows companies to see a project from start to finish with the greatest efficiency possible. When implementing a BIM review process, a company can test constructability and sustainability models before the first shovel hits the ground to build the most durable and green asset possible. These processes are designed to eliminate design errors and costly construction re-work, and even reduce environmental impacts by improving energy performance.
BIM advancements are enhancing project collaboration and improving construction productivity, fostering a robust construction economy. Employing BIM review methodologies leads to faster client approval cycles, which can have a dramatic impact on reducing overall project delivery costs. This BIM ROI gives constructors more flexibility, for example, to confidently select the best team for the job, rather than accepting the lowest bidder.
As construction codes and environmental requirements become more complex and demanding, technology for designing and bringing together all aspects of a project must increase in flexibility and facilitate communication and collaboration among all parties involved. But, from design models on computers in the office to the earth-moving machines in the field, it can be difficult to learn and maintain expertise in multiple applications or technologies.
Often the biggest time sink on a project is the time lost in searching for information. Still, many reports are done on spreadsheets — which provide necessary data — but the information is difficult to digest and it can be difficult to spot problems or trace relationships.
Today’s technology is redefining the way we collaborate on design reviews, document approvals, field issues and inspection punch lists. Data visualization takes design and construction information and creates a visual report, making it easier to see potential problems, such as welding being done above another crew or the wrong materials installed on site. A spreadsheet cannot show these types of visual relationships.
Information mobility is key to any project, and the ability to access and comprehend data enables sound decisions. Successful BIM review involves mobile workflows utilizing PCs, large touchscreens, tablets, and mobile devices, allowing users to access project information and collaborate naturally on a device of their choice.
Closed Loop Collaboration
Because time constraints drive all projects, industry workflows such as issue resolution becomes paramount. Issues must be detected early and resolved immediately. If workers from different disciplines and environments of the project are not on the same page, issues will inevitably slip by and become problems that could set the entire process back with costly rebuilds or redesigns.
Traditional paper workflows that have been the default technology for transmitting information across project environments is inefficient and filled with risks.
Advanced BIM review methodologies enable issues to be captured digitally and in real time. In this digital pool of information, all information associated with an issue is collected and stays together throughout the lifecycle of the project. As well, issues can be stored centrally so information is accessible to everyone involved.
Commenting on Bentley’s BIM Review solution, Vitelli says, “During design, it facilitates the coordination of trades to approve designs. In construction, it enables teams to collaborate between the office, site and field to gain insight into the project planning and execution while expediting the resolution of issues found in the field. Through operations, teams benefit from model-based visibility into asset information within a 3D context to improve safety and speed of inspection and maintenance.”
Single Source of Truth
With constructors competing to deliver better projects, a common data environment is essential for project collaboration. BIM technology prevents the broken workflows, conflicting data and lack of visibility that can delay a project and wreak havoc on efficiency and profitability.
The goal in such an environment is to create a single source of truth for project information. So regardless of the project type, each project shares a loop of common data among office, site and field. A common, connected environment ensures corporate governance and information integrity, while providing project agility to unify multi-discipline project teams for improved project performance.
“Bentley’s ProjectWise CONNECT Edition provides a comprehensive work-sharing solution that virtually connects every project partner and remote team member to project information and processes throughout the project lifecycle,” adds Vitelli, “including initial planning, design, construction, and handover to operations.”
Many organizations are adopting advanced BIM processes to achieve more sustainable assets. These organizations are reaping so many benefits that it is becoming impossible for other infrastructure professionals to ignore if they want to remain competitive.