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By: Kendall Jones on January 21, 2021

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Contractors Should Be Embracing BIM Adoption

Operating Insights

Is your construction company still not using Building Information Modeling (BIM)? If your firm hasn’t adopted BIM yet I’m sure there’s a valid reason. Perhaps you think it’s too expensive or you don’t have the resources to implement adoption. Maybe your estimators love spending countless hours doing manual takeoffs from plans and specs when preparing bids. It could be you enjoy doing costly rework that eats away at your profits.

Whatever your reasons may be for not using BIM, it’s high time you reconsider that decision. BIM use is not a fad that will fade off into obscurity like flagpole sitting or swallowing live goldfish. It’s more than just a software tool and it’s more than just a 3D model, although software is necessary to create and work with BIM models. It’s not going to disappear one day like the Betamax or, more recently, the HD DVD. If anything, emerging technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality will be incorporated to enhance and improve the experience of working with BIM.

The U.S. National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee states:

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its lifecycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.

Taking it a step further, BIM is a process that incorporates those digital representations and facilitates better collaboration among all stakeholders on a project. This can lead to better design and construction of buildings.

If you are a general contractor or trade contractor, here are the top reasons your company should be using BIM:

Better Visualization

Having a digital representation of a project creates better visualization and provides greater insight into the details and design of a project to all stakeholders. BIM helps contractors better understand the scope of a project and clearly interpret the design intent in ways that just aren’t possible with 2D drawings.

Submitting Better Bids

Because BIM models are created with objects, which consist of detailed information and the geometry representing its physical appearance, it is possible to generate accurate quantities of all building components. This also makes it easier to verify quantities and quotes provided by subcontractors.

Avoiding Costly Rework

BIM can automate clash detection by comparing the different models and alerting you when objects are occupying the same space, like an electrical conduit running through a pipe. When schedules are added to the BIM model it can also determine if work is scheduled out of sequence. Addressing and correcting all clashes during the design phase or before construction begins can lead to a huge reduction, and possibly even elimination, of change orders.

Improved Collaboration & Communication

Good collaboration and communication are key to any successful construction project. Changes to the BIM model occur in real time so any changes or updates to the model are instantly communicated to all team members when they access the model. Everyone is working with the most up-to-date information at all times. Because the schedule can be simulated, a visual representation of the construction process allows team members to plan out each phase of construction.

BIM has been proven to decrease project delivery time and keep projects under budget. Other benefits include being able to easily identify potential hazards to create more effective safety plans and enhance lean construction practices.

BIM is here to stay and the sooner the AEC industry as a whole adopts its use, the better.

About Kendall Jones

Kendall Jones is the Editor in Chief at ConstructConnect. He has been writing about the construction industry for years, covering a wide range of topics from safety and technology to industry news and operating insights.