If you are new to the construction engineering industry in any form, you may not have heard of all the various types of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. Many engineering veterans have also never been introduced to certain BIM software, as many new types continue to emerge.
BIM is often used to illustrate a building’s lifecycle—from inception to design. Users can factor in materials that need to be used, spaces, electrical systems, HVAC systems, timelines, and more. They can help take away the risk of something going wrong in the project (detect possible errors), which can ultimately minimize costs.
The most commonly used BIM software is Revit—this software allows users to build and manipulate three-dimensional models of building projects. However, newer software is being developed that allow for five dimensions, where the fourth dimension is time, and the fifth is cost. These allow the construction managers, engineers, and other users to better understand the complex variables that go into building a structure. Whether you’re a structural, electrical, mechanical, or plumbing engineer, your company or assigned project manager will most likely be using some form of BIM to make for a smoother project process.
Some of the most common uses of BIM are:
● Partial trade coordination
● Decision validation
● Scope clarification
● Construction sequence planning
● Collision detection
● Options analysis
● Virtual mockups
● Sight line studies
Every member of a team can benefit from using BIM because it is a collaborative process. Team members involved included the owner, construction manager, architect, engineers, consultants, and specialty contractors. Imagine this: an architect finishes the design of a building, which is made into a Building Information Model. Then, the electrical engineer can look at the model and decide if the architect’s design will align with how the electrical system will need to be installed. Then the architect and electrical engineer can work together to tweak the design to fit both their needs. This process is repeated with each member of the construction manager’s team and is what makes BIM so effective.
Additional benefits of BIM include:
● Assisting with scoping during bidding and purchasing
● Reviewing portions of the scope for analysis
● Coordinating construction sequencing
● Demonstrating project approaches during marketing presentations
BIM not only allows users to see the physical characteristics of a building, but it allows them to also understand its functional characteristics and how they will be working together once the building is complete. It is virtually changing the way we work because more collaboration is required. With the proper training and guidance, you will be able to tackle any project involving BIM.