BIM: Beyond The Drawing Board
BIM (Building Information Modelling) has been used in architecture, engineering and construction for decades, though its use has grown considerably over the past 10 years or so, as the technology has evolved. BIM is no longer simply a tool for 3D design. It is now a valuable tool in the creation and management of project data. In the past, it was practically impossible for everybody involved in a project to get a holistic view. Thousands of unconnected documents created an administrative nightmare, whilst separate departments puzzled over what was going on where and when. The amount of time and money wasted through this inability to communicate was highly detrimental. With the advent of cloud-based software, project models and other details can now be viewed from any device. Communication between everybody involved, accurately and in real-time, is possible in a way our predecessors could barely imagine.A 3D design of the building, created using BIM software, is useful for everybody, from sales and marketing to the builders on the ground. Workers can save notes, details, and progress, track purchase orders and just generally eradicate time spent on fiddly manual tasks that hold up progress on bringing a project to completion. It is not just those working on a construction project who stand to benefit from the recent developments in BIM. The homebuyer’s experience, too, can be positively transformed by powerful and exciting BIM-based solutions that place emphasis on customer satisfaction throughout their purchase journey. One of the classic complaints of both homebuyers and the salespeople marketing off-plan property is that, seeing as the property doesn’t yet exist, it’s hard to envisage what the finished home will look like. BIM has been gradually eating away at this problem, with the availability of 3D models which are becoming ever-more photorealistic. Being able to view a 3D design of a property from every angle in detail is fantastic for giving buyers a more in-depth view of what they can expect. But what if we were able to take this further?The BIM-based software offered by GBuilder uses a web-based visual interface with models of each unit inside a design studio that the buyer can use at their leisure. Within this interface, buyers can compare different material options, seeing them in situ within the 3D model and confirm their choices at a click. They can view and interact from their computer or tablet, but there is also now the groundbreaking opportunity to do so in virtual and augmented reality. For the developer, allowing buyers to customise their property offers great upselling opportunities.Once the project is complete and the new owner has moved in, BIM continues to offer a powerful tool in managing the property. The building’s operation and maintenance can continue to be documented and updated throughout the life of the property with the help of the BIM. Information that is crucial for management and maintenance staff, such as the manufacturer and model number of a certain fixture, for example, is stored forever within the system, along with interactive 3D models, and so on, all of which can be updated throughout time as changes are made.Since its first appearance at the designer’s desk, BIM has evolved to incorporate so many more functionalities, it has certainly transcended the drawing board by far. The move from 2D drawings to 3D visualisation has revolutionised so many aspects of construction. BIM has demonstrated the power to deliver efficiency and streamlined workflows, and tangible bottom-line results and continues to do so. With new capabilities for BIM integration with sophisticated software and systems, this power is amplified.