Nick Milestone, managing director of B & K Structures, discusses the benefits of BIM in today’s construction industry.
The digital era is changing. We are constantly modifying technology in order to improve all aspects of modern life. We have changed the way we socialise, travel, and work in order to incorporate cutting-edge technology into our daily lives.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is at the forefront of today’s digital technology in the built environment. Early adopters in the construction industry and government have successfully promoted this ground-breaking building technology.
BIM is now almost universally recognised in the construction industry, and there is widespread private sector investment in BIM implementation.
So, why is BIM so critical to the industry’s transformation?
In terms of procurement, BIM is a powerful tool that enables construction companies to quantify project requirements. This allows for greater control over spending and time management, resulting in less waste in these areas.
It is critical that BIM is used in the early stages of a project to ensure that there is capacity to not only clearly identify the elements of the project, but also to anticipate when companies will need to procure any given material or element.
Without the use of BIM, it is extremely difficult to transport the appropriate knowledge across all construction partners at the same time; this can result in the teams procuring the wrong materials at the wrong time, in different volumes.
The government pledged in 2011 to use ‘Level 2’ collaborative 3D BIM on all centrally procured government projects by 2016.
This is planned strategically as part of a larger overall strategy to combine the use of BIM with the most recent modern technology, resulting in the collaboration of the government and construction industry working to improve skills and reduce infrastructure costs.
It has already been determined that BIM contributed to £804 million in construction cost savings in 2013/14. The ultimate goal of this strategy is to establish digitally enhanced construction as a requirement across the UK construction industry.
However, there has been some industry scepticism about the government’s BIM strategy. According to recent research conducted by UK Construction Week in collaboration with BRE, three-quarters of construction professionals do not believe the industry is prepared to meet the government’s targets.
There appears to be a strong theme of companies claiming that there is a critical lack of training in this area and that it is too expensive and time consuming to invest in, especially for SMEs.
Despite these claims, the overall acceptance of BIM appears to be particularly prominent. According to my experience, the general consensus in our industry indicates that the increasing integration of BIM will have a positive impact, with only a small percentage of construction companies stating that they will not use the technology.
More money is now being invested in BIM, with large projects beginning this year that will use BIM in more sophisticated ways than ever before.
I believe that the government’s implementation of BIM Level 2 will benefit our industry by bringing about gradual changes in the way we work.
It is expected that the implementation of this strategy will result in numerous job opportunities, particularly for niche software developers and offsite manufacturers, as well as the upskilling of current employees in our industry.
Businesses should be confident in investing in the development of BIM within their organisations because they have created critical mass and certainty of demand.
BIM is a critical enabler for incorporating offsite technology into construction practises, resulting in low-cost, low-carbon assets.
This is critical in government projects because there is an urgent need for time-efficient construction, as well as a critical responsibility for our industry and government to reduce our carbon footprint through the use of low-energy buildings, resulting in lower costs for the end user.
Our industry is crying out for cross-team collaboration. BIM provides a platform for teams to integrate and collaborate, as well as valuable information to confirm that the finished project will meet performance expectations.
It is the ideal tool for connecting a project’s entire life cycle analysis – embracing new technology and a new working culture. This is something I believe the industry would greatly benefit from, as it would aid in the delivery of higher-quality projects through improved communication and planning and design accuracy. I am excited to see the industry take this advanced construction method to the next level.
The BSkyB Believe in Better Building (BiBB) Development by B & K Structure was recently named ‘BIM Project of the Year’ at this year’s Celebrating Construction Awards.
BIM was used extensively in the project’s execution, with BIM being implemented across all teams. Only by maximising the benefits of BIM could the project be completed within the client’s challenging time frame.
All teams collaborated in a shared office to make real-time decisions without hiccups. It was estimated that if a shared model had not been used, the project build time would have been extended by several months.
B & K Structures was able to gain information from conceptual ideas and building design in order to cost control and manage construction by using BIM beyond the planning, design, and construction phases to the entire life cycle analysis of the project.
The design process was simplified and repetitive to ensure that the strict time constraints were met while also meeting the high performance requirements for the building’s operational use. This was a thrilling project for B & K Structures.
The project team has gone on to work on other projects together, such as BSkyB 2 and BSkyB Health and Fitness, demonstrating their pride in the project and utilising the relationships and communications that have been formed across the team.