Key questions general contractors ask about building information modeling (BIM)

There are numerous concerns in the hearts and minds of most general contractors. They are concerned about building information modeling (BIM). The technology itself is something that has helped the construction industry to quite an extent.

A panel of experts from various developed and emerging countries addressed similar concerns in a compelling way in numerous workshops held in both the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Among the main aims of the sessions was dispute avoidance.

Were there any cases of dispute avoidance in the usage and understanding of building information modeling (BIM) among general contractors?

In some markets and countries, there were disputes regarding contractors and building information modeling (BIM). Some contractors were concerned about the way it has been used and how information is presented to them. Luckily in some instances, architects and engineers intervened on time and saved projects.

However, there are also some projects that ended up in the incinerator because contractors’ concerns were not properly addressed. We will now have a good look at the concerns of contractors and other associated professionals when it comes to using building information modeling (BIM).

In what ways can small-size and scale contractors make the most of BIM?

Building information modeling is usually associated with large construction companies. Yet small contractors make up a sizable portion of the industry.

According to a senior engineer working for a well-known construction company in Brazil, they had worked with surveyors on numerous projects which were one-man shows in essence. At first, it took the person a lot of days of calculations and information extraction.

Using two-dimensional drawings and models on computers before importing all that on handheld portable devices was almost difficult due to the time-consuming nature of these tasks. When access was provided to digital models, the team was able to use 3D models to make real-time calculations and collaborate with ease.

Both contractors and subcontractors believe that between them and the others, there is a wall. Usually, they may not be able to ask for documents that can help them do their job in an effective manner.

However, companies in some markets have decided to remove that wall and bring contractors into the loop. Thanks to smartphones they can access building models and other drawings. This is the best way forward. When large organizations support small and medium-sized ones, they are on the path of success.

Each time a contractor or subcontractor is hired on a project, they can get access to diagrams and systems. The access level is somehow set by the company.

For adopting BIM, should the construction or contracting company be of a particular size or net worth?

Small companies do not have to rely on the support of larger ones to adopt BIM processes. It usually comes down to finding out what is best for them.

Are there any limitations and misconceptions regarding BIM?

The benefits of BIM are obvious. However, what people usually avoid talking about are the incumbent limitations.

For starters, large projects having a multitude of minor details need to be presented on powerful hardware especially if the 3D models need to be shared in front of clientele smoothly. There is an entry barrier. Apart from hardware, the internet connection needs to be stable. Even if the data is on a cloud server, people need to access it reliably.

Software challenges are present. As various stakeholders use different platforms and file formats, a lot of projects face interoperability problems.

One persistent misconception about BIM is that the data of most BIMs is limited to a single kind of format i.e. 3D models. They are a huge part of BIM (3D Models) but not what other models offer.

BIM is a methodology allowing users to take information creation, exchange, and validation to a new level whether they are 2D drawings, 3D models, and vice versa.

Another misconception regarding who benefits the most from BIM also exists. The tech has traditionally existed in a sort of silo. The benefits are mostly felt by the designers, model creators, and managers of BIM. Usually, the remainder of the project team has been left out.

A lot of projects using BIM have multiple models fed into a larger model. It helps enable quick and intuitive collaboration. If the models have differences or other issues then there can be problems.

In the past, these problems were often resolved at construction sites or during projects through construction claims consulting. Clash resolution tech has somewhat made it easier to catch issues earlier and give all people involved solutions whether or not they are present on site.

Any benefits BIM offers apart from design and maintenance?

A Dubai-based Delay expert reveals that BIM has many advantages during the design stage. A common data environment allows large teams in various geographic areas to work on the same project. Then bringing in BIM during the early stages raises the likelihood of companies and contractors avoiding future problems. This helps everyone visualize the end product nicely.

BIM helps designers and builders get their work done. A 3D model of a building keeping track of a building’s changes over time makes it easy to monitor the energy consumption and usage patterns too.

Facility managers and property owners can know which additions need addition, which ones are implemented, and which areas need proper maintenance. Moreover, areas where construction hasn’t been up to the mark are also identified.

Conclusion

Building information modeling (BIM) is different from Computer Aided Design (CAD). Both are different in nature but have the capability to work together and produce a worthwhile outcome. The construction industry benefits from both, and drawings made using both should be given to contractors to ensure everything is on the right track.