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Technology – The future of construction

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Building information modeling (BIM) has changed the definition of traditional architectural designing and has introduced far more data sharing than architects and engineers are used to. The interoperability of BIM requires that drawings, building standards, regulations, product specifications, cost and procurement details, environmental conditions, (emissions data) and submittal processes all work together. Hi-Tech Outsourcing Services headquartered at Ahmedabad provides BIM services and 3D modeling on multiple platforms like: AutoCAD BIM, Revit, ArchiCAD and Bentley MicroStation for projects and clients. Ar. Bhushan Avsatthi, Senior Technical Manager at Hi Tech Outsourcing Services speaks to Buildotech about BIM advantages, potential and limitations in Indian design industry.

The untapped potential of the BIM

BIM helps construct a virtual yet accurate model of the building in the digital form before it is actually built. It supports construction, fabrication and procurement activities and, thus, can be used for feasibility studies, conceptual design, more accurate estimating, relative detailing and easier coordination by the architectural firm and also for construction planning, logistics, operation, etc. by other team members. The powerful 3D model helps visualize and create architectural documents. It helps in saving time and reducing errors as design changes are automatically coordinated throughout the entire model. The 3D objects in the model accommodate associated information about each element and all associated references.

Architects can use BIM to study the building’s performance of the building and for items like solar studies, energy usage, green building analysis, calculating and estimating the construction costs, sequencing of construction, etc. It can transform how buildings are built, how they look and how they function – adding intelligence to the buildings.

 

Limitations in adoption of BIM technology in India

Implementation of BIM in India faces the problems concerning cost of software, new hardware and training the employees. Adequate training required in the firms is one of the biggest obstacles to BIM adoption. Most of the architectural firms in India still use 2D drafting software like Autodesk AutoCAD and are not keen on investing time in training the staff or investing money in technologies involving BIM culture.

It is also observed that only a few owners are ready to pay the extra cost for digital models of their project which actually offers expanded services in the future. They fear that it might result in productivity losses during this transition phase. Another cause of worry for the architectural firms is the question about how long will it take for the designers in moving over to BIM, as they are very much comfortable with the existing tools. In reality, BIM solutions are created to specifically cater and function in accordance to the way of thinking of the designers and are easy to learn.

Achieving higher levels of BIM use – including analysis, computation, and fabrication – requires skills and a mindset that allow us to work productively and effectively in a collaborative setting. Working with BIM enables but doesn’t necessarily lead to collaboration. We have to decide whether or not to look beyond BIM as a tool and embrace it as a process. When recognized as a process, BIM can be a powerful catalyst and facilitator of team collaboration

Challenges in terms of growth faced by BIM service providers

For Indian construction market, forecasts indicate an unprecedented growth putting the country as the third-largest construction market after China and the US.Therefore, there is an immediate need for infrastructure, housing, healthcare and educational facilities, retail, and hospitality. Whether sponsored by the government bonds, public-private partnerships, or private investment, these new projects are being fast-tracked and mandates are being issued to include the very latest building technologies such as BIM.

However, the challenge faced is that India has a large and relatively inexpensive labour available which decreases the value of productivity improvements that BIM offers. Lower cost of workers discourages efforts to replace field labour with automated solutions. However, BIM offers time savings and competitive advantage; it allows help in quick turnarounds in the intense time pressure and competitive environment of India. Mentioned are two projects where BIM software was instrumental in increasing productivity in the design and construction stages.

Case Study – 1

The client was an award winning and nationally ranked construction company in USA. Their project of designing a public park included underground and above ground services of mechanical, electrical and plumbing as well as architecture and structural services including infrastructure within a short deadline of one month. The scope of work required Level of Detailing (LOD300) modelling according to AIA standards.

BIM Platforms used

• Autodesk Revit Architecture 2012

• Autodesk Revit Structure 2012

• Autodesk Revit MEP 2012

• Autodesk Naviswork 2012

The client who was the main contractor for this project wanted to find out all inter discipline clashes before starting the construction so as to help him finish construction on time as per tender deadline and also to save costs. BIM provided the constructors with a visual communication to assist all the stakeholders in the project. During the initial tendering stage of a project, it provided the contractor with a means to visually show the developer how he intended to construct the project and what considerations he had provided for, within his design and price that best suited the developer’s needs.

The preparation of the model within the tender process also enabled the contractor to understand and challenge the designers’ details, to abstract material quantities from the model and permitted accurate measuring and quantifying of the elements of the structure.

The challenge in the implementation of BIM for this project was that it was not a typical building project. Also, it needed integrating of disciplines under and above the landscape garden within a strict deadline. Once put into operation BIM advantages included:

• Design integration

• Improved tendering

• Shorter programme to planning

• Reduced number of design information requests during the concurrency of the project

• Supply chain integration

• Reduction in number of clashes within the construction process, especially M&E

• Visibility of programming to all parties

• Integration of temporary works into the design

Case Study – 2

The client was a biggest contractor company in the Middle-East and one of the largest engineering construction company executing integrated multi-disciplinary projects in oil, gas & power, civil construction, electrical, building services and facilities management. The project of new terminal building at the international airport covered a total area of approximately 350,000sqm with a total expected capacity of 12 million passengers annually. The scope of work included office buildings, an associated plaza, two multi-levelled parking garages, additional surface parking, access ramps and roads and several other associated buildings. This was the first of its kind project for the company which involved complex MEPF Installation.

Technology Platform:

• Autodesk Revit Architecture 2011

• Autodesk Revit Structure 2011

• Autodesk Revit MEP 2011

• Autodesk Naviswork 2011

The designer consultant had prepared fully co-ordinated MEPF design using conventional 2D method, but when 3D Modelling in BIM software started, the clashes between the two needed to be resolved. After completion of DD Level drawings, a complete redesign finally achieved a fully clash free MEPF details for all buildings within a period of nine to ten months.

After using BIM tool in this project with a BIM team of 25 members, the output was comparable to that which could be obtained by a team of almost 100 draftsmen working on 2D drawings and result was achieved within a time frame of few months which was earlier done in a period of two years using conventional 2D methods. The client benefited with the virtual construction that helped co-ordinate integrated disciplines to achieve targets as per project planning schedule.

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