Building Information System: The Future of AEC Industry

cropped image of african american architect sitting near architecture model on table in office

Gone are the days when engineers and architects roam on the construction site with a pencil and paper to inspect if everything is going normal. 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 System 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.

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 designing, planning and maintenance, 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, mechanical and electrical systems. It can also calculate material quantities, energy performance, cost estimation, etc. Software used by BIM experts is Autodesk, Navisworks, SketchUp,  ArchiCADVector-works, etc.

Stages of BIM in architecture

BIM project management system?

Making of 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 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.

working of Building information system
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 Building Information System has changed the way the designing and construction of an architectural project is perceived. Clash detection and cost estimation play crucial role during the construction phase. Early clash detection and cost estimation avoids the delay of the construction phase and helps in the investment of finance.

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, reduces rework. In addition, it helps to optimize the resources, prevents waste of material, manpower, and schedule overrun.

Different stakeholders (Architects, Structural Engineers, MEP engineers, 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, National Library of Sejong City, St. Louis Aquarium Design.

 The benefits of using BIM in architecture are enlisted below.

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 for buying BIM software.

Humera Hallari

Humera is an experienced CAM CAD designer. Her passion for digitalization and technology has helped her to attain success in the woodworking industry.

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