BIM is no longer just for the A/E portion of the A/E/C industry: A recent Timetric survey of 100 global construction participants, including contractors, found that 49% of respondents are currently using or piloting BIM.1 And, BIM usage among contractors is expanding. In the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America’s 2017 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook, 34% of respondents expect that in this year alone, the number of projects with BIM will increase.2
Primarily used by contractors, BIM provides constructability input into the design process, which leads to greater efficiency during construction and, therefore, better financials and reduced risks. Many contractors are highlighting the use of BIM, along with their preconstruction processes, in order to stand out to project owners and attract more business.
Knowing the basics of BIM will help you effectively communicate with your customers, executive team, and operations management. And, you’ll have the baseline knowledge for determining how to make BIM your ally.
What Is BIM?
A building information model is a digital representation of a building or infrastructure made up of objects – electronic versions of building components, such as walls, doors, and windows – that can contain dimensions and product information. An object can also be a resource or process, such as a laborer, a piece of equipment, a temporary structure, or pouring concrete.
With BIM, objects can act intelligently in relationship to other objects. Consider, for example, the rules that construction superintendents take for granted when deciding on the positioning of a door and a light switch. BIM can incorporate these same rules so that, for example, when a door in the model is moved along a wall, the swing of the door and the location of the light switch move in relationship to each other.
More than just the digital model or software used to create it, BIM is an entire model-based process in which building team members share information and collaborate to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.
For contractors, BIM is a way to work out the kinks in a project’s design and construction before crews even set foot onto the jobsite. It also allows a company to collect and later share as-built information with customers that can be used in future facility management and maintenance.