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Chapter 1: Introduction
This study focuses on the practice of strategically managing and improving valuable resources.
Building Information Modelling which is also known as Building Information Management is a new technology which involves the use of virtual and computerized building models to design and construct a building (Parson, 2016). It is basically a tool to analyze and assess the building process right from the design phase to the completion of a construction project.
More specifically it is defined by Information Model Standard Project Committee as, “BIM is a virtual or digital representation of all the functional and operational characteristics of a physical facility. It involves making decisions and solving problems throughout the lifecycle of a construction project.” Currently this technology is utilized by individuals in government and private sectors to plan, design, construct, operate and maintain any building project such as roads, schools, apartments, warehouse, prisons, water gas or electricity facilities, dams, ports and many more (Burner, 2013). This software provides an opportunity to design and analyze a construction project with efficient cost estimations and minimizing errors and risk by providing all the insights and solution to any potential problems in the process. The best part of this technology is that it involves the client throughout the designing and building process and make sure that all the risks are addressed in the initial stages. The figure given below explains that how BIM can bring sustainability and asset management across all stages of desigining and building.
Figure1: BIM model of sustainability and asset management
Figure 1 provides a brief summary of how BIM help to manage the existing knowledge with the help of enablers like modern cloud internet connections to achieve asset management and sustainability in a project. These enablers today are allowing free flow of communication not only within an organization but also between organizations around the globe (Hank, 2015). This technology is shaping workforce behavior and working practices and helps in collaborative management of knowledge at all stages of development. This simple and improved management results in facilitating the potential to achieve sustainability and asset management. The potential of BIM technology and its ability is not been fully realized as BIM is used as hybrid along with other traditional approaches. These approaches also promise to bring integration but usually they fail to achieve the desired achievements (Hergunsel, 2011). It is necessary to incorporate BIM in integrated project delivery of any project to achieve the desired goals. However the successful implementation and operation of this information modelling requires a lot of training and education (Tod, 2013). It is a high level technology and its execution depends on how the management and engineers understand this technology. Moreover there also need an adaptation and change in behavior to function with this technique. The impact of this technology could be quite strong however we cannot say that it will drastically change the way how construction industry is working currently. Computer aided or virtual designs are used to be taught in universities for over long time but 3d computer designs are relatively new and they are still converted into paper blueprints to utilize them. However it is not too long when digital designs will be used on sites for construction purposes (Davidson, 2014).
Given the growing importance of “Building Information Modelling” and its utilization in construction industry, the current research aims to critically evaluate that how this technology affects construction practices in future. In addition its impact on the engineering techniques, project operations and on the behavior of labor workforce is also studied. This research provides complete insight on how this technology works and how it is revolutionizing the designing, construction and maintaining phases.
Statement of Problem
The current study is an attempt to find out “The Impact of Building Information Modeling” on Future Construction Industry skills, Engineering Capabilities and Workforce Profile”
Significance of the Study
The current study is unique in its attempt as it explores the current trends in the construction industry. The study comprehensively explains the concept of Building Information Modelling and its utilization in designing, building, operating and maintaining phases’ .This information can be extremely useful for upcoming engineers and constructing managers in understanding how this technology work and how they can incorporate this software to identify and solve problems. In addition it will also help construction managers to understand the concept and adapt their workforce accordingly. This study will provide a complete overview on how this technology can impact the future construction industry and how it is going to affect the behavior of people involved in this field. This research will be equally beneficial for engineering students as well as engineering managers and organizers in getting better understanding of the concept.
Objectives of the Study
The following objectives are develop for this study. The present study aims:
- To study the impact of Building Information Modeling on construction practices.
- To study the utility of BIM in design, construction and maintenance phase.
- To study how BIM is shaping and revolutionizing the workforce behaviour and profile in construction industry.
Chapter 2: Review of Literature
According to Sommervile et.al the construction business is today considered as inefficient industry because of their poor and traditional means of communication. In his study in 2004 he assesses the estimation of cost that companies faced because of these inefficiencies. The study results showed that the price of constructing a new building has increased by $6.12 per square foot because of flaws within the infrastructure of this industry (Calis & Yuksel, 2015).
To eliminate these inefficiencies and minimize the risk errors, BIM technology was reviewed to use in this industry as it seems to have a potential to influence and revolutionize the construction industry by increasing the productivity. In brief the term BIM was defined by Demchak et al (2008) as “A software such as and Bentley Structural or Autodesk Revit that produce building models of a project through digital representation” (McNell & Allison, 2011). This model will provide all the information regarding project schedule, building drawings and visualizations that can be extracted from this model. All the information extracted from this model is consistent however the technology is not barrier free and does bring some social, technical or legal issues with it (Eastman et al., 2008). These issues did bring reluctance in the behavior of several firms to adopt this technology however the basic purpose of this research is to concentrate on how this technology is helping companies to achieve their goals through better management of resources and beforehand solutions of problems (Koo, 2015). This literature review will also address the gap between the execution of this technology and behavior of engineers.
What is Building Information Technology?
As described earlier BIM is a software that allows structures and designs to be created digitally. These digital models consist of actual representation of all the building components such as door, windows, columns, beams etc. It is basically a set of tools and procedures that produce a design that gives a representation of all the elements involve in a building project.
Eastman et al. (2008) Offers a Detailed Explanation of What BIM is Below
“A technology that features building modelling and its associated procedures that are involved in producing, communicating and analyzing building models. These models are composed of several components such as building components; they are represented with intelligent virtual representation in which all aspect and building material are demonstrated. It also includes data components like how the material and design will operate and behave when applied physically on site. It describes the work processes, energy utilization and project specifications. This data is consistent and can also be altered in the initial stages if there is any problem identified.”
This definition explains that the BIM is not the traditional 2d drafting software the concepts works on structured, coordinated and computed data that can be extracted from these digital models. This data is facilitated through parametric modelling. Bim technology is a step ahead of traditional 2d drawings because 2d design only gave the geometry of elements however in BIM building objects and every element is given parameters which allow them to interact with other components in the model and present the collaborative geometry of each element. For example if the size of a bolt increases in the design then the model will automatically indicate that the size of the beams should also be increased to accommodate them.
So basically Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the method of practicing digital designs and construction throughout a building project. It provides a platform for the engineers and managers to share and communicate knowledge between the participants of the project thus allowing better collaboration and team work (Strafaci, 2008). The models produced through Building Information Modelling are high quality three dimensional models and are usually used primarily for designing process and does not applied in built-up process. These models are called “Hollywood” BIM and contractors use them to win jobs. This does not mean that the potential of BIM is limited to just designing process (Romero, 2015). In many organizations it is utilized internally within an organization and does not share with the rest of the organization. This type of BIM is referred as ‘lonely” BIM. For Example an architect designs a Building Information Model for analyzing the energy use. With the help of internal collaboration he can provide the drawings in 2 dimensions thus restricting the access to the model. In this type of restriction the construction manager cannot make any changes or use the model unless he made another one (Vardaro & J., 2010). Another approach which can be reffered as collaborative approach is the “Social” BIM which allows a free flow of information sharing and communication between all the members in a team such as engineers, architects, contractors, managers and sub contractors. In this type of BIM process the construction manager and contractor can provide input through their construction knowledge and expertise to the designing team (Burner, 2013). In addition the managers can also use this model to generate coordination plans, schedules, feasibility reports and can estimate project cost. Once the collaboration is done between the designers, managers and contractors this Information Model can be be used by the contractor in producing prefabricated product. Another approach in BIM is the “Intimate” BIM in which the managers and contractors share the reward and loss. This was possible only because of BIM enable IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) (Post, 2008). Both intimate and social BIM promotes team work and encourage the participants to produce better designs with reduced time and cost estimation. Before implementing BIM in any project it is important to have a clear understanding of what is the purpose of using Building Information Modelling in a construction project, what type of information is required for the participants and what it need to design, build, maintain and update the BIM model. These answers should be answered according to the need of the project team. Therefore it is extremely important to know the basic functioning of BIM in construction project (McNell & Allison, 2011).
BIM & Project Delivery Methods for Construction Managers
Design -Bid- Build, Integrated Project Delivery, Construction Management at Risk are the traditional project delivery methods that the construction industry used and are currently practicing. BIM can be utilized by the contractor and manager no matter what delivery approach has been selected. These construction managers and contractors actually extract quantities from these BIM models to have an idea about cost estimation (Brook, 203). In addition they can provide excellent 3d interpretations and schedule for the project. Schedule Integrated BIM which is also called 4d BIM is used to provide site logistic plans, safety analysis and creating building animations. Construction managers use BIM for coordination and collaboration with their subordinates or team. Moreover if the design has to be updated like change in schedule or cost than it can be done quite easily with BIM. The function of the construction manager started as soon as the project is being awarded. The time frame of the awarded project for the construction manager and the organizational structure is dependent on the project delivery method opted by the company (Tylor & Francis, 2014). These factors influence the involvement of managers in the process of Building Information Modelling (Autodesk, 2007). Traditionally the designing, bidding and building phases follows each other. The manager, architect and the lead designer works directly for the owner and the engineering consultants are the part of designer’s team. Firstly the engineers and the architects made the design then the manager who also act as general contractor bid for the job and once the job is awarded then the construction starts. BIM is not a fast paced delivery method and it does not involve the entire team in initial designing phase. If the designers produce a 3d parametric model then the contractor’s knowledge will not be included in this model. Usually the architects are not secure of sharing their models with others because of risks, unauthorized reuse or theft of their intellectual property and alteration in the model information (Henry L. Green, 2012).
Design and deliver approach requires a single individual to take all the responsibility for the designer and builder on the behalf of owner. Therefore such person should be appointed on the base of professional experience and qualification. The quality control assurance is difficult in this type of projects because both the designer and contractor work together. However they do not take joint responsibility of any risk or loss. For that the Integrated Project Delivery approach was opted as it combines the efforts of all the team members including builder, designer, manger, coordinates and makes them share the project risks (Asmar & Hanna, 2016). If the project completed within the desired budget then the entire members share the profit otherwise they’ll compensate the loss from their pay. The expected incentive on achieving the goal actually motivates the team members to work effectively and efficiently towards the achievement of desired goal. They all participate and share in the process of Building Information modelling, decision making and in responsibilities. Integrated Project Delivery is a collaborative joint management which results in pure teamwork without any litigation. We can say this IPD approach is made possible because of BIM (Handler, 2010). The BIM is a process of digital designing and construction of a project so traditional delivery approaches are not suitable for achieving the full potential of BIM in a project because they will limit the participation of construction manager and contractor until the whole designing phase is complete. Therefore for better collaboration Integrated Project Delivery, Build/Design and Construction Management risk approaches are better delivery methods to maximize the use of BIM and promote cooperation and team work. This allows the construction mangers to cooperate and provide input during designing phase and enable the maximum ability to influence cost and schedule (Mihici & Sertic, 2014).
Advantages of BIM
BIM models are a step ahead when compares to traditional 2d approached designs for construction. BIM allows coordination and manage communication, changes and development between different working levels and professionals involved in a construction project. In addition it provides immense resources of information that can be extracted from the model regarding project planning, cost estimation and managing and maintaining operation (Ball, 2014). The following benefits are derived from the existing literature on utilization of BIM in construction industry.
- Improved utility speed
- Improved coordination and collaboration between team members
- Better quality of data and data integration
- Visual representation of data
- Identifying and solving faults in initial stages.
- Increased project productivity
If BIM is properly implemented and executed that it can bring immense benefits to the engineers as well as for the designers. It results in increased productivity by promoting efficiency and reducing risks and errors (Parson, 2016). In addition it also helps to reduce disputes among team members and help them to have a common point of view. Despite the fact that BIM is bringing immense benefits in terms of saving time and cost and improving the work quality but still it requires an integrated delivery methodology to function to its full potential. That delivery approach enables the whole life cycle of the project to come to life. The more integration at the initial stages of designing the more benefits you can hope to get from the BIM model. BIM allows clear, accurate, and precise and up-to date information and communication through combining the segregated information. It also allows the team members to contribute their part in the establishment and population of all the data that is important for the designing, planning and operation of project asset (Mihici & Sertic, 2014).
To help project leaders and their integrated teams work more efficiently with BIM the Australian Construction Industry (ACIF) and Australian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) Created a workbook titled “Project Team Integration”. This work book explains the utility of BIM in different phases of construction project. Their utilization is explained in detail below:
1. The Utility od BIM in Designing Phase
The latest advancement in BIM technology enables the 3D building components to coexist in the form of single “database” or “Digital drawing” which include every element and component of the building. The BIM model embraces all the building asset, geographic or site information which represents visually and demonstrates precise geometric coordinates and exact geometry of elements. The models present attributes that explain the nature and relationship of different objects in a building project. BIM covers all the components of building asset and they are objectified and have different properties when engage with other elements (Hardin, 2009).
BIM is called a rich model because it offers a wide variety of information that is generated automatically and can be extracted from the model once it’s complete. This derived information can further be utilized to estimate cost and energy consumption, project planning and controlling the project. This planning at that stage is very beneficial in bringing sustainability and management in the operations. Today there exist updated libraries having pre built BIM information that can help and ease the early stages of designing a BIM model. Some manufacturers provide digital content about windows, doors, toilets, desks or ceilings that can be reviewed by the new designers and helping them to design them and minimize errors before they fully furnish their model. BIM information on different factory products such as manufacturing machinery or tools can help designers in making factory models as they take these readily made machines and place them in their designs thus improving their workflow (Garza, 2010). It is expected that in upcoming years the manufacturers will upload their products designs and content on their websites. This facility will enable the designers and BIM managers to view and download BIM content of their desired product and edit and change them according to their requirements and standards. In addition these websites could offer the construction managers the product specifications, data sheets, installation and warranty documents, images, videos and as well as contact information (Burner, 2013).
2. The Utility of BIM in Construction Phases
BIM models can be used in construction phase because they contain rich information and all the underlying data about each and every single component of the building and their relationship. If there is an amendment required the designers can make it easily and rapidly in that 3D model design. All the relative elements associated to that particular amended element will also change accordingly (Ergen & Seyis, 2016). Sub-contractors can also benefit from these BIM models. The detailed designs presented by models can facilitate more coordination of construction process or of computerized manufacturing. It also aids in the coordination of installing and estimating accurate off the site engineering. All of these when managed and coordinated properly results in error free production and minimize the waste of time and resources. For examples equipment such as bulldozers or excavators can be equipped with BIM and GPS system so that execution can be controlled. This machinery can also be automated to control excavation process. BIM can also be used to monitor the productivity at any stage of the construction process. It provides dynamic data that provides information of the results of every step and helps in decision making. Another fruitful benefit that BIM bring is that it allows the workers to review the design and check the required information whenever they want on mobiles, tablets or any other smart device. This technology helps them in better execution of their responsibilities (Baqerin & Shafahi, 2014).
3. The Utility of BIM in the Operations / Maintenance Phase
The process of optimizing people, assets, processes and work environment to promote better delivery of an organization’s objectives is called Facilities Management (FM). Successful utilization of BIM can help the contractor to manage and operate the facility or structure. This technology can also be applied in the phase of building asset. BIM provides all the information and specifications for built asset that can be used after the successful completion of built asset for facilities management. The facility manager can manage the asset by updating the information in the model whenever required. This is possible because he has quick and easy access to all the information during the maintenance phase (Parson, 2016). The BIM technology offers tools that can save and maintain all the updated information of the built asset. In addition if an element of a building fails then its contractor or supplier can be contacted readily to replace the damaged element. It means that the owner of an element can be reached and changed from one facility manager to other as it requires just an exchange of a BIM file. So BIM has the capability to reduce the chances of facility manager to be opportunistic for himself rather it motivates his performance through offering incentive so that he performs best as possible (Vardaro & J., 2010).
4. The Utility of BIM in the Decommissioning Phase
After the completion of built asset life like when it was decommissioned BIM can still help in providing all the construction history, material used and the progress in different phases of the project. This all information can be extracted from the model because it was constantly updated during the construction process and that information was stored in it. It will provide information about every detail such as identification of a hazardous element and its replacement. All the work history can be derived from these models. This easy accessibility and availability of data helps the contractors to decommission the project easily and safely. Generally some built assets are identified dangerous after years of construction such as asbestos (Brook, 203). However BIM provide detailed data base of all the elements and their characteristics thus helping in risk management. BIM increases the sustainability of built assets as any harmful material is identified and replaced earlier and it also indicate that which material require special handling and which materials can be re-used in the future. This information can be useful if the building has to be demolished in future, as it would be known that what built assets can be reusable despite of wasting all the material (Hardin, 2009).
Prefabrication of BIM Models
When BIM models are prefabricated the cost of labor and time consumed are reduced significantly. In addition it increases more precision and accuracy in implementing the design thus resulting in better and good quality construction. It offers tools that allow more specification and precision in a controlled working environment resulting in better performance in less time. Prefabrication is unique because it requires field and design accuracy. BIM models support this prefabrication by providing accurate data and subject specifications of all the elements in the form of refined 3D drawings (Mihici & Sertic, 2014). However it should be important that construction mangers make sure that BIM can be operated on their software they use for their project for fabrication. Only then the contract manager will able to manage and update data on the BIM model. Once all the detailed are accepted by the contractor the model can be implemented on construction through computer machines that have numeric control. The prefabricated products should reach the jobsite in time. Before actual construction of the building the difficult steel connections generated by the BIM model can be welded and completed offsite. This will save both money and time and most of the work will be done in advance. In addition the BIM models also help to modify designs in time to reduce any errors like beam penetrations that may cause from MEP conflicts. Some beam problem cannot be avoided as they can affect the overall production of a complex project. BIM models can indicate these beam penetration locations and help to identify and solve these problems before actual on-site working starts. These prefabricated beam penetration that are done offsite could save time, money and effort significantly as compare to if they are done on-site (Hardin, 2009).
In short BIM can enhance the exchange of information about the construction elements and products within an organization or team. It helps in coordinating the products routing and location virtually. These products can be detailed and fabricated more through fabrication software. After all the materials and components are fabricated completely they are then transported to the site where the general superintendent coordinates with the foreman to convert these virtual 3D designs into reality.
Enablers for BIM
In the past ten years a number of enablers have been developed and improved for the successful implementation of BIM technology. Firstly advancement in the infrastructure of IT has opened up new eras of sharing capacity and capability (Tylor & Francis, 2014). They include cloud based data storage and computing networks that allow sharing of information and 3D models on large databases. Anyone with an internet connection can share and receive information related to BIM and construction process. Secondly the International Alliance Procurement and Construction Council (APCC) create the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) that also acts as an enabler. In Australia the construction industry forum have teamed up with other construction councils and develop an electronic hub having a lot of resources associated with BIM technology. The third enabler is the support that the BIM technology is getting from the world such as government agencies, official mandates and promoting this technology to be used on government level projects (Ergen & Seyis, 2016). These enablers are discussed in detail below:
1. Major Advances in Computer Technology and IT Infrastructure
The internet is playing a major role in bringing globalization in the world. Practically this broadband system is allowing the exchange and sharing of information across countries which were not possible before. There is no limit of data that can be shared through this system. It allows sharing large file and heavy data base. This means that even the firms are operating separately in n different geographic area these networks helps them to function at the same time with the same database thus increasing more collaboration among organizations. This continuous innovations and development in the field of Information Technology have helped in increasing the performance of BIM. Computing systems have been enhanced in a way that they can support complex software that can manage and operate heavy files with better logarithms, calculations and better storage capacity. These high capacity and complex software act as an important enabler for the performance of BIM technology as they will yield more accurate and precise results. This enabler is the most important one for the success of BIM because the major challenge faced by this technology is the file size, storage issues and timely access to the desired files. Modern IT system support complex BIM design, its precise calculation and heavy files. Cloud based networks allows to access the central storage of BIM files from anywhere like from on site of construction. This result in global demand of BIM projects regardless of organization’s geographical location. The team working on BIM project can access to the most recent and update documents if they all are storing their information on one location. This in result helps in quick transfer of complete file to the owner or construction manager. Cloud based networks allows BIM software to operate on remote servers. The user operating device such as laptop, mobile or tablet can access to this cloud based software through internet networks. The software of BIM utilizes the power of remote servers for executing a program and does not put burden on the operating device. Thus these operating devices require less hardware such as power and storage capacity to run the programs. Software can be upgraded as per required to run on the servers.
2. Industry Foundation Classes and Open BIM
Despite the fact that BIM is considered as an independent concept however practically it requires and dependent on the utilization and value added creation of integrated data model among different firms. Therefore there was a need for global standardization for built asset part. One of the main reasons behind that is the money that is cost to the organizations because of coordination errors. To access this model data an international information protocol was required so that dealers will have their own registered database formats. Open BIM is the major global standard that was published by building SMART. This open BIM system helps the contractors or the owners to have their own neutral or non-proprietary methods for sharing and exchanging data information during a project. In 2011 the Australian Institute of Architects and Consult Australia forms a group comprising of BIM and Integrated Project Delivery documents that can be helpful for the practitioners who wanted to work BIM and who are inspired by the IPD to implement it into their projects. However analyst believed that the full potential of BIM can only be achieved when every person in the team is involved in planning, designing and construction phases. This will help in better asset management and maintenance and ensure that the client will get a complete error free design brief. The international official standard set by building SMART which is the registered IFC format is the standard ISO/IS 16739. The real value of the Building SMART is the “Open” key. This IFC key can be used to share and exchange data among different software owners without involving in managing and supporting different native formats.
3. Increasing Global Support for BIM
Globally the support for BIM has increased for its use practically in the construction business. One mandate to support and use BIM in public is the tendering process that has been enforced by UK which was then followed by European Parliament Directive which forces the 28 European to adopt it. This adoption was enforced by the government and officially called the European Union Public Procurement Directive (EUPPD). They implement the law that all the 28 states of Europe should encourage, mandate and specify the use of BIM in publically funded building and construction projects by the year 2016. Countries like Denmark, UK0423, Norway and Finland already condition the use of BIM for publically funded construction projects. This trend is also getting quite common in Asian countries especially India which is the fastest expanding networks for BIM technology known as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). India has grown in resources that support BIM such as well-trained and qualified BIM professionals established IT system and government support. Indian professionals are also collaborating with UK, USA, Australia and Middle East firms in BIM projects. Countries like Singapore and South Korea are also promoting BIM. In America architects, contractors and developers are equally interested in BIM and its associated processes. A study conducted by McGraw in 2013 named Global Building Information Study revealed that in USA alone 291 firms and organizations revealed that they were using BIM technology in their projects. This study was an online survey and 727 contractors and business managers participated in this survey. Out of these almost 60% reported that they were engaged to BIM to some extent in their construction projects. In short you can say that BIM is a collection of technologies like computing systems, IT infrastructure, and hardware devices, helps them to develop and excel through continuous improvements and allow free and easy sharing of information among the firms.
4. Challenges for BIM
Despite the number of benefits this technology is bringing to the construction industry it still faces some challenges in its implementation and advancement. The Construction Industry Business Environment published a report in 2008 indicating different challenges faced by BIM. They include added burden to the designer, single model, size and complexity of BIM models, interoperability and legal consideration of using single model in multiple organizations (Kiviniemi, 2014). Many of these challenges are addressed by the industry and the world through continuous investment and innovation in the field of information technology because all the complexity and designing depends on the BIM software. The more sustainable software is the better results it will yield. In addition organizations also play their part through their efforts like Building SMART which was known as the International Alliance for Interoperability. This collaboration and alliance promote IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) that act as neutral product and support the construction lifecycle and solve the interoperability problems. However the extra work in the initial stages has significantly reduced the extra work in the post production and construction phase (HUB, 2013). The legal implications and issues are addressed differently in different organizations and countries according to their laws and requirements. The current most important challenge faced by BIM is it’s in ability to prove its worth and effectiveness quantitatively. Recently a surveyed carried out by McGraw in 2014. He did a market survey and reported that many contractors who invest in BIM say that they receive positive Return on Investment (ROI) (Hardin, 2009). This survey was carried out in US, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. From all the contractors who were involved in the research, three quarters indicate that they get positive Return on Investment. However the results of that were not enough to provide universal hard evidence that support the use of BIM is always beneficial to the organizations (El-Arab, 2015). BIM projects are not found quite often and occur occasionally so it would be difficult to compare and analyze their results regarding ROI. Another most important challenge in successful implementation of BIM is that it requires constant training and investment on construction staff so that they can be updated by every single development in this field. If the manager, designer or the other working staff is not fully aware of different dimensions of this technology than organizations can never fully receive the benefits BIM is capable of producing. Also the BIM generates immense amount of information and data about every single element crucial to the construction of a project. Organizations usually find it difficult to manage this huge database. There this mismanagement results in damage, leakage and inappropriate interpretation of data. Therefore companies have to choose right IT infrastructure to manage all these data things. Hiring skillful and experienced staff is crucial for organization in successfully carrying out this technology (Ball, 2014). However there are evidences that organizations who invest in BIM do achieve higher return of investment which is a positive sentiment. Some most prominent benefits such as reduced error, lesser utilization of time and energy, reduced construction costs and greater sustainability are quite enough to help contractors in opting BIM for their Project (Mason, 2014).
Chapter 3: Methodology
The goal of this study was to examine the impact of BIM technology in the field of construction and how it will help construction managers in achieving their goals. The study also aims to find that how this technology affects the workforce and their behavior while working as a team in BIM project. Firstly a literature review was presented in Chapter 2 to give a comprehensive overview about this technology and how this technology can be deployed in the planning, designing and construction phase. The literature also highlighted how BIM bring together the team members and model in their attitude in asset management. In addition case studies are also examined to further discuss the benefits of BIM 3d modeling and the use of BIM tools in construction. The first case study is “Max Bögl Group” that shows that how this company utilizes the BIM intelligence to save their time and enhance their project quality.
Case 1: Max Bogl Group
Max Bogl Group is the Germany’s largest private construction company who is committed to add value for their clients on every step of a construction process. This company opt the Building Information Modelling more than ten years ago. The company advances in its construction technology as the BIM models develops over time. It is the first construction group in Germany that have deployed BIM in the field in collaboration with Autodesk® BIM 360™ Field cloud- based service. The company was quite excited about using the BIM 360Field in a shopping mall construction project. The software actually empowers sits people and increases the design visibility. The BIM manager of Max Bόgl Group, Maximilian Schütz, believed that the company is always committed to try new things and wanted to take a step further with this BIM 360 Field.
The challenge faced by the company was that the shopping mall which they were constructing and wish to own and manage it. The BIM manager, Schütz finds this project as an opportunity to pilot BIM 360 Field in this project. The company wanted to test whether BIM can improve the two crucial processes of their project that were: Quality control (QC)/Quality Assurance (QA) and Safety Inspections. These traditional processes actually rely on paper work and coordination with subordinates to solve issues. According to the manger the people assigned on these quality and inspection department spend a lot of their time in documenting and communicating these issues. Mostly they have to travel back and forth form the head office to the construction site with the papers which of course waste a lot of their time. If the simple BIM model is being used then there is a difficulty of allowing access to everyone. That was the reason company decided to use BIM 360 Field model to see whether it can be helpful in reducing these inefficiencies.
The Max Bogl Group working team then starts linking the BIM 360 Field to their collective project model. This model was maintained in Autodesk® Naviswork® software that act as an managing software. The model then manage and bring together all the files including Autodesk®, Revit®, Tekla® and Siemens NX™ files. After this file management this model is then updated on the cloud with the help of Autodesk® BIM™ Glue® and then connected with BIM 360 Field. Using Apples IPad® QR codes to link the model with the construction site make the BIM manager realize that this practice of linking BIM model with the construction site actually saves a lot of time of inspectors and supervisors.
QR Codes Link Models to the Site
To make this process of communication even more efficient the team had installed almost 350 Quick Responses (QR) codes on the site. According to Schutz, “The process of scanning code with the IPad takes the user from the BIM 360 Field into the 3D model.” All the data was then linked with the 3D model and the team can access to all the checklists, CAD attributes, issues, images and drawings related to the element you want to inspect and update.
Faster Inspections and Better Visibility
The management of QA/QC in the BIM 360 Field process allows the Max Bögl Group to maintain the pace of their construction process. The BIM 360 Field provides the checklists to the inspectors which can review and amend to maintain the firm’s standard of high quality. They can even take photographs from within BIM 360 Field and then send their subordinated to notify them about any issue. These subordinates can see the issue notification solve them and then marked them as “solved” with the BIM 360 Field. The inspection officer can review these detected and solved issues without moving out from the field and continue the construction process. This BIM model allows the inspectors to have checklist, drawings and other notification on their fingertips. This turn saves a lot of time in terms of solving issues off the site and then come back to continue. According to Schutz, this technology has also improved the safety inspection process. Previously the documentation of this process which is quite lengthy was done in the head office. Now it can be done remotely by using BIM 360 Field which saves almost 20% of the officers time assigned to that task.
After piloting BIM 360 Field in the shopping mall project the Max Bogl Group has expanded its use in different projects. According to the BIM manager Schutz, “This technology has helped us a lot. Now we can detect and solve issues by using BIM 360 Field and saves our time and improve the work quality. This technology also helps us to identify any issue that might happen in the future and then we research on it to avoid any incident. The model links all the issues with their locations making it even easier for us.” He continues, “The BIM 360 Field saves tremendous amount of time of construction mangers and inspectors every day. Despite of reducing time it also adds quality to management and construction processes. (Autodesk, 2015)
Case Study 2: The Clayco:
Clayco is the largest private construction and development organization in the United States. This Chicago-based provides excellent service in the field of designing and solutions for diverse and complex construction projects. These projects include industrial facilities, sports arenas and corporate infrastructures. This company has a reputation of integrating latest technologies to their project like Building Information Modelling and provides innovative solution to their client’s issues. This BIM and 3D technology allows the whole team to broader their perspective and to understand the building construction process before it starts. The director of virtual design and construction Tomislav Zigo stated that “Our vision is to provide our customers best products at a competitive price and best schedules that is why we integrate latest technology in our projects. We set high standards for sharing and exchanging information, collaborative approach for project team and for the owners of the project since the project has been conceived. We maintained this standard till the final handover.”
The company faced a challenge of losing momentum of this model based process because workers have to work with the paper blueprints and other documents. This practice could result in the presence outdated documents on the field which in turn results in the delay of construction processes. According to Zigo, the company wanted to excel in speed, quantity and accuracy of data captured. “The drawings presented by the field officers are not sure to be updated by the engineers or designing team and we are not sure that we are sending the accurate information to the architects and engineers. We want to make sure that our field officers receive the accurate and up to date information.
The company then decided to use BIM at the construction site with the help of Autodesk® BIM 360™. This Autodesk BIM 360 totally changed the way the construction data was received, visualized, controlled or managed. It included cloud-based BIM management and coordination software named “Autodesk® BIM 360™ Glue®” that allows the collaboration and reporting services at the constructing field through mobile technologies. Right from the beginning The Autodesk BIM 360 Field started to have its impact both in the head office and construction site .The project team used the Apple® iPad® mobile devices to access the different workflows like job tracking, quality control(QC)/quality assurance(QA), safety procedures, issue creation, commissioning and project based documentation. Instead of going through different drawing pages or model papers the team just turn their iPads on and get access to complete checklist , digital photos and mark up observation right on the field. They can even share their data or updated information within the entire team. According to Zigo, “These updated lists actually gave greater opportunity for everyone to have more visualization of the current issues and tasks. They can mark, respond and able to keep track of any changes that have been made. We have eliminated separate storage of data, all the information is now stored and can be tracked from single data base.” To involve all the stakeholders in the coordination and collaboration processes of BIM, the company uses BIM 360 Glue to enable them to access all the data information from the model at any time or anywhere they want. In addition Zigo says, “The Autodesk BIM 360 encourages a transparent process that helps to foster efficiency and collaboration thus increasing the production quality of overall project.
The Autodesk BIM 360 was quickly accepted by the field personnel and become the supporting wall for the company’s field operations. The streamlined workflow brings more visibility into all the progress done in the project resulting in reduced errors and risks to the quality and safety processes and increased project delivery. “We have structured our business model around the Apple iPads and link them with our Autodesk BIM 360 Field. This app is available on every phone on the site”, says Zigo. “It involves the subcontractors. The accountability of the process has been increased significantly because of the issue-generating features. Everyone has to follow checklists and guidelines that been created by subcontractors. We are not accepting any lethargic approach now.”
Proactive Safety and Quality
The Clayco Company was able to produce safety programs and proactive quality with the help of Autodesk BIM 360 Field. These allow the company to detect and identify the trends at an early stage and reduce the chances of risk on the field as well as on the company. Zigo explains, “Autodesk BIM 360 Field helps us to capture the necessary data and let them have an impact on our bottom line”. “The safety of our programs has been increased by tracking our misses or possible incidents on the job site and then utilizes this information to set up new systems that can solve these issues. We are also enhancing our QA processes within our company by evaluating and monitoring our undergoing inspections.”
In the future the Zigo is expecting that the company will continue to enhance its projects through the use of Autodesk BIM 360. “Our clients expect us to serve them with efficient data management processes. We are now exploring the extent this Autodesk BIM can help. We are now exploring the extent this Autodesk BIM can help us in our projects”. He further added, “It is always worthy to modify your workflow to better your service. There is always a chance of improvement (Autodesk, 2015).