Philip Janssens, Manager – Construction Piping Services (CPS) department at Victaulic based in Belgium, briefs on how BIM offers considerable advantages and benefits to the manufacturers from the design and manufacturing to installation of building services.
More than just 3D drawings, BIM concepts include collaboration between trades that have previously worked independently. Utilizing software such as Revit, a 3D computer model, that represents the physical and functional characteristics of a facility can be created. This becomes a visual communication tool shared by all stakeholders that can be used to effectively manage project information for consistent, accurate and coordinated models.
In practice, each partner owns their own model. The coordination team brings together the models, integrates the information and carries out clash detection to identify any pipe collisions or interferences within the model. Once clash detection is run, trades will come together in coordination meetings to discuss and trouble-shoot issues that were found in the models. This allows for open communications and quick resolution during planning stages.
Since it forms a reliable basis for decisions regarding design details, scheduling and clash detection, BIMled projects can be planned and executed more quickly, economically and sustainably.
Advantages of modelling
Compared with traditional building contracts, BIM creates standardisation and a level playing field for all, making cost estimations more accurate and the comparison of quotes easier. The traditional bidding process starts with conceptual designs submitted by the consultant on which contractors base their quote. This often requires bidding contractors to seek more information from the engineering office, make assumptions or take on a large measure of responsibility.
Having all the information contained clearly and accurately within the model in advance means the job can be priced easily, helping owners to compare bids and removing the element of risk for clients and contractors alike. Changes can still be made at a later stage if required, but unnecessary change orders that can add significant cost to the project and delay completion are eliminated.
Similarly, BIM helps keep projects on track due to its work scheduling capability. The model can be used to map a timeline for construction that shows when and in what sequence components need to be installed. As a result, downtime is avoided, productivity boosted and owners can see how quickly the work will progress.
Although the concept of BIM got off to a slow start, it is now gaining ground globally, including in India. Regulation in many states of the USA has led to a doubling of BIM adoption over the last five years. The greatest rate of increase, however, has been in the UK where BIM-led initiatives have risen from under 5% to over 30% of building and infrastructure projects. BIM is now standard practice for many leading construction companies and, as its use gathers pace, supply chain companies are responding.