Building Information System: The Future of AEC Industry

Building Information System
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Gone are the days when engineers and architects roam on the construction site with a pencil and paper to inspect if everything is going normally. We live in a technological world, and today everything is digital. Global trends are making infrastructural projects more complex. However, advancement in technology is helping industry professionals to pace up with growing industrial demand. The invention of the Building Information System (BIM) is one thing that has helped the AEC industry to work more efficiently and effectively.

History of Building Information Systems and Statistics

According to a survey conducted in 2019, more than 17 percent of architecture companies in Japan were using building information modeling (BMI) for their projects. While most companies were interested in its implementation, about one-quarter of responding companies expressed no interest in using this process. Study Published by L. Kettenhofen, Oct 13, 2020.

Software developers from all over the globe worked hard to find an architectural software solution that will allow AEC professionals to work effortlessly.

  • The concept of BIM was introduced in the early 1970s.
  • In 1986, Robert Ash used the term Building Modeling in the title of a paper published with GMW computers Ltd. (makers of the Legendary RUCAPS software system). Aish illustrated the concept of 3d modeling, automatic drawing extraction, intelligent parametric components, relational databases, temporal phasing of construction processes, etc.
  • The late 90s to the early 20s are known as the golden years of BIM development. In 2004, the concept of interoperability, that is multi-disciplinary collaboration appeared in the BIM process. It aids the mutual exchange of information among different stakeholders.
  • In 2008 more technological concepts like parametric modeling and laser scanning were introduced in BIM applications.
  • After that, developed countries started to utilize the process for infrastructural projects. In the year 2020, Germany made it compulsory for transportation projects to use the BIM process.

What is BIM?

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling or Building Information Management. It is a 3d model-based process that aids the designing, construction, and management of the architectural project. It allows AEC professionals to work in collaboration with a mutual exchange of project information. That is to say, one central model that stores all the building data in a digital, unique, and calculable way.

The use of BIM in architecture projects aids in the designing, planning and maintaining, and programming of the project. In other words, it allows property owners to make informed decisions even after project completion. The BIM process can be used for all types of projects irrespective of the size, function, and scale of the project.

Models made using BIM modeling software contain data associated with physical and functional characteristics. That is information about the architectural and structural elements and mechanical and electrical systems. It can also calculate material quantities, energy performance, cost estimation, etc. Software used by BIM experts is Autodesk, Navisworks, SketchUp,  ArchiCAD,  Vector-works, etc.

Stages of BIM in architecture

  • Traditional Engineering or making of Pre-BIM model This stage includes virtual explanation and documentation with 2d drafting and detailing of the project using traditional methods. It also includes basic risk shedding, cost estimation, etc. but it lacks interoperability.
  • Object-based Modeling using BIMThis includes 3d modeling, rendering, and final 2d plans using a building information system. Creation of coordinated views with elevations, sections, landscape plans, MEPF plans, the quantity of material, etc.
  • From modeling to coordination architecture BIM plan is shared between working professionals. In addition cost and time estimation, clash detection, etc.
  • Collaboration to finalizationEarly analysis of sustainability, constructability, building life cycle, and synchronic communication for the smooth construction phase. This stage has high interoperability and a perfect Architectural plan is made for future use.

BIM project management system?

Making the 3D digital model from a virtual concept is done using a standardized object library. Library stores information about every component of a design. Like a window, so the library tells you the functions, properties, and performance of a window. One can easily add new objects using this library. One language of the object library is acknowledged by everyone concerned with the project.

The data stored in the model defines all the design elements and identifies the behavior and relationship between model components. Therefore, if the element in the model is manipulated by any of the stakeholders every view is updated, and the change automatically appears in section elevation and sheet views.

Interoperability and Data exchange in the BIM process

Interoperability is the ability of an IT system to aid the transmission of project information amongst software users. BIM interoperability aids the easy exchange of information amongst different stakeholders. Results of the survey conducted on the Canadian construction IT industry show the common issue while working on the architectural project was related to collaboration. This includes communications, document management, and interoperability in software. The use of BIM in architecture projects aids web-based collaboration, project management, and integration of software tools across the project lifecycle. It also helps AEC professionals to meet tight deadlines by decreasing the overall time and cost of a project. Data management in Building Information System interconnects the entire contract document that is drawings, procurement, tender documents, and all the construction details.

BIM clash detection and cost estimation

The use of BIM in the early stages of designing helps in the representation of ideas to investors. BIM pre-project clash detection resolves clashes and reduces rework. In addition, it helps to optimize the resources and prevents waste of material, manpower, and schedule overrun.

Different stakeholders (Architects, Structural Engineers, MEP engineers, and Environmental engineers) work on different aspects of the construction project to prepare independent models. Models are then integrated into the BIM process to be rechecked automatically and, clashes are detected. For instance, clash detection in BIM automatically checks all the major systems for interferences. For example, it automatically verifies that the piping does not intersect with steel beams, ducts, or walls. Once the clash is detected then it is automatically resolved. The best thing here is if one element of the design is manipulated then every view is updated, and the change automatically appears in section elevation and sheet views.

Cost estimation using traditional methods is a time-consuming process. It is susceptible to human error as one needs to enter the information manually. BIM has specific functions to calculate the amount and type of material used. It also specifies the installation method for every element of the project. Based on this material list total cost of the project is obtained. Clash detection and cost estimation is done at the design stage itself to prevent multi-level design changes, budget overshoot, and time overrun.

Uses of BIM in architecture

Today a growing number of Architects, Engineers, and Contractors are using BIM in architecture because it helps them work efficiently and results in positive business outcomes. Considerable numbers of BIM users have reported its positive impact on their company’s productivity. It is noted that architects prefer to use the BIM process for making designs from imaginative concepts and pre-project planning. Examples of BIM projects are Leids University Medical Centre, the National Library of Sejong City, and St. Louis Aquarium Design.

The benefits of using BIM in architecture are enlisted below.

  • BIM connects architects, engineers, and a contractor that is one central model that contains all the project information, which ultimately gives everyone better insight into the overall project.
  • Building Information System allows AEC professionals to experience designs even before it is truly built and manipulate them to increase the success rate of the project.
  • 3D modeling, Rendering, Drafting, Generation of shop drawings, Cost estimation, Clash detection everything handled using a single process BIM.
  • Implementing the BIM process increases project precision and accuracy. In other words, fewer errors and mistakes lead to positive outcomes.
  • BIM designs can be implemented for the entire lifecycle of a building project, from construction to maintenance and re-development.
  • All the stakeholders, the architect, the contractor, the builder, the consultant, the installer, and the glazier make their contribution to a virtual structure.
  • BIM design not only improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the construction phase but also offers a better understanding of future operations and maintenance of projects.
  • The use of BIM in architecture shows a positive impact on all stages of the project. In addition, it reduces material waste, and resource waste, and control additional project cost during the construction phase because everything is pre-planned.
  • The use of the BIM process fills up the communication gap between stakeholders, which ultimately leads to fewer requests for information (RFIs) and decreased field coordination problems.
  • Implementing BIM for designing resolves issues like incompatible IT system errors around file sharing and different file formats, low data securing, mislaying revision documents, limited project records, etc.
  • The inbuilt cost estimating feature calculates material quantities and updates them when changes are made in the model.
  • Digital product data can be used for the manufacturing and assembly of structural systems.
  • The use of BIM in architecture led to increased productivity, better engagement of project staff, and fewer contingencies.

In conclusion, Building Information System is one of the most promising inventions in the field of the AEC industry. It is a process that guides you throughout the building lifecycle, from design to recycling. All it demands is BIM expertise and a one-time substantial investment in buying BIM software.

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