Part 1: Technology
Improving the information you use in your projects can have a major impact on your business performance and results. A structured approach to information management can provide many benefits, combining technology, process and people into collaborative workflows that improve productivity and eliminate costly errors.
BIM provides a range of valuable tools to help manage information in your projects and throughout your business. Like all improvements, it requires some investment in time, effort, and money. However, implementing BIM and aligning your information management approach can provide you with a range of benefits to provide real ‘bottom line’ return on your investment.
You can target particular results, concentrating efforts on improving specific areas of concern in your business, in addition to compliance with the best practice requirements expected by your clients.
The effects of poor-quality information are far-reaching, and the unproductive costs of dealing with the issue are more significant than is often recognised. Recent research has provided a much more comprehensive assessment of these costs, averaging at a staggering 21% of total company revenues.
Therefore, it is important to take advantage of the tools available, and those essential to recognise the power of combining the 3 key elements of BIM: technology, process and people.
3D design is the BIM technology that tends to grab all the headlines. Understandable perhaps, as the rapidly improving features and functionality of digital design and data management systems are impressive. And of course, the visual nature of the subject matter creates good copy and imagery for journalists and social media platforms
However, BIM is not a single technology. There are a multitude of uses and options available, depending on your particular discipline, deliverables and role in the supply chain.
Nor does BIM simply mean 3D design. There are numerous tools available to model digital information in ‘intelligent’ ways. These include design analysis, time and sequence planning, costing, option assessment, to name only a few.
Graphical design information is valuable, but even greater advantage may come from users from other forms of information or data. Embedded data and linked information provide wide-ranging opportunities for you to add and extract value.
Whilst there is more to BIM than the just technology, and more to the technology than just 3D design, we should not overlook the very real benefits that these provide.
Fundamental to the purpose of BIM is the provision of information that is:
Using BIM technology allows you to improve the quality of project information, providing an opportunity to enjoy a number of ‘quick wins’. Here are just a couple of examples:
Effective Coordination and Clash Resolution
The 21% of revenue that is lost in the cost of errors represents an eye-watering 7:1 ratio when comparing this cost of errors with average profits in the sector. With poor margins a perennial problem, businesses can ill-afford to overlook the use of technology to reduce risk, avoid errors, and improve results. One of the biggest advantages of BIM technology is in providing a quick, coordinated view of design information, in turn allowing clashes to be identified at the ‘click of a button’.
The use of digital information means the vastly time-consuming and inaccurate manual approach to comparing information from various design disciplines, can now be automated. Issues are not missed, solutions can be more readily identified, and costly errors avoided.
Users consistently report:
- Fewer errors
- Fewer queries from site teams
- A significant reduction in revisions and abortive design time
- A significant reduction in rework, delays and unproductive costs
Competition in the industry remains fierce and the use of ‘out-the-box’ software to improve your ability to win work is vital. Providing right-first-time solutions builds confidence, reduces the risk of misunderstanding, and provides a significant boost to the smooth, efficient delivery of projects.
Visualisation is perhaps the best-known application of BIM technology. It is a significant feature and, when used effectively, can provide real commercial advantages, including:
- Work winning, from a clear presentation of design concepts
- Improved client understanding of design issues and solutions
- Fewer late design changes
- Better project communications
- Improved project relationships
- Enhanced reputation
Keeping up with technology and taking advantage is vital to your business success. The applications now available to assist in the design and construction process continually improve in range, diversity and quality. The key is matching the technology available to your own specific needs, ensuring it addresses important issues, and delivers real benefits.
The frameworks and best practice Standards now available for information management and BIM provides a structured approach to help you get the best from the technology available. Combine this successfully with your people and processes, and you have the basis of a winning formula.
“Businesses can ill-afford to overlook the use of technology to reduce risk, avoid errors, and improve results.”
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