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Buying into BIM

Apr 2017 BIM, General | Comments Off
Buying into BIM
 

As Building Information Modelling (BIM) Level 2 becomes a requirement for all appropriate Scottish public sector construction projects, it is vital companies invest in BIM education to secure future opportunities. Emma Segelov, head of marketing at Honeywell company MK Electric, explains how

The report of the Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction was published in 2013, and a key recommendation within this was the implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to Level 2 by April 2017.

Four years later and this implementation is in progress, meaning it is now imperative for companies to add BIM capability to their service offering. But this can be a daunting prospect, especially for SMEs that may struggle to find time to train their workforce.

So what exactly is BIM, and what is the best way to incorporate it into the day-to-day operations of a business? We’ve put together a short guide on the basics of BIM.

What is BIM?

Essentially, BIM is a tool designed to aid collaboration within a construction project. Instead of using separate sets of drawings during the design of a building, BIM provides a software platform with one coherent set of computer models to create an accurate digital representation accessible by all parties.

This means that everyone in the supply chain – from architects and M&E consultants through to electricians and facilities managers – are able to see a constantly updated, technically accurate, view of the building design.

The reason that the Government is supporting this technology is because it drastically reduces waste and error. Unlike working from drawings, using a BIM model as a reference point means that all of the necessary information and technical detail is in one place, so there are fewer clashes and miscalculations. Consequently, BIM makes projects more efficient, and more likely to be delivered on budget and on time.

Choosing a platform

Given that BIM has governmental support, it is safe to assume that it is only a matter of time before it develops from a public sector requirement to become a major part of private sector construction too. In fact, it is already expected within many private sector projects.

But, while the ascent of BIM seems certain, which platform will prevail is still up for debate. For companies beginning their BIM journey, choosing a platform can feel like a gamble, especially with so many to choose from.

One of the most popular platforms is Revit – but an equally good place to start is by looking into what your competitors are doing, to get a sense of what works for similar operations.

Manufacturers should supply their data using Open BIM, which allows users throughout the supply chain to access the same data, no matter which platform each prefers.

Effective use of BIM

After training has been delivered, and BIM has successfully been introduced to a business, it is important to see projects through a ‘BIM lens’. The key is communication and collaboration. It is important to speak with other members of the supply chain to establish how you’ll be using BIM and to confirm that you’ll be using one master model.

It’s also useful to consider how you can use BIM in conjunction with other tools. For example, in order to bring a sustainable strategy to life, a BIM-based scenario review undertaken in combination with building energy analysis software will allow the client to view the potential savings of green technologies over the entire life of the building.

Manufacturer support

To make the most of BIM, it is crucial to make decisions and partnerships based on optimising the technology that you’ve worked hard to adopt.

This means researching manufacturers before embarking on a project, and choosing a brand with a wide selection of BIM Level 2 models. For example, at MK Electric, many products from our catalogue have BIM objects available, simplifying things for our BIM-ready customers.

Now that BIM Level 2 is a requirement for public sector construction projects, those companies with BIM capability have a serious edge over the competition. Over the coming years, we are likely to see BIM grow in prominence, so you need to get BIM-ready to futureproof your business.