While BIM is still a relatively new concept in the NZ construction landscape it is important that we catch up with this important technology pretty quickly. The UK provides an interesting model for BIM adoption and it would be good to see it implemented in NZ.
For those who are a little unsure what BIM actually is; BIM stands for Building Information Modelling and it is essentially an interactive model of the project.
The benefits from BIM technology can vary depending on the level of information that is added in to the model. For example, BIM in its simplest form can be 3D modelling of all project aspects (structural, services, electrical etc.). As more information is added and the model is consolidated BIM can enable clash detection and buildability benefits. Taking it a step further the model can be used for asset maintenance (such as linking the model to energy use and notification when building elements require replacement).
These project benefits come at an upfront cost; and these costs are higher during the initial stages of adoption as technologies are set up and industry players are educated .
The UK has implemented a tiered approach to BIM with a goal to have all government funded projects operating under BIM. The UK Government has recognised that implementing BIM has significant benefits for the economy as a whole (from cost savings and energy efficiency, through to carbon reduction) and has mandated that projects will be required to comply with certain levels of BIM. The current level required in the UK is BIM level 2 – this is a basic level where each party implements its own BIM model and largely reflects the current landscape of each party operating their own model.
The biggest change is set to come under the implementation of BIM level 3. Level 3 anticipates an open process and data integration into a single web based model. This is where the largest benefits will come from BIM as the model develops in real time and issues are identified early on.
There are a number of issues with operating under an integrated model including ownership of the underlying data, authority to resolve clashes and make buildability improvements and responsibility for any time/cost impacts of changes. While these issues are complex they are not insurmountable and the earlier the industry works together to resolve them the sooner the efficiencies of BIM can be used.
If you are a principal considering a new project it would be worthwhile considering the value BIM could add to your project.
If you are keen to read more about the UK’s BIM’s Task Group click here.