If you haven’t realized already, which I doubt due to the constant reminders, we are currently going through what the geeks would call, a “technological revolution.” Being eighteen, I am often classified by my grandmother and all her likeminded friends on Friday afternoon coffee that I’m part of the “instant generation”. The generation where everything needs to be updated and current, where my third hand (my iPhone) provides the answer to literally everything, and if my iPhone doesn’t have the answer then it simply does not exist. Technology has invaded everything I do, and I’m sure it has for you too considering you’re reading this on a blog site, on internet explorer, on a computer. So it is no surprise to me that technology and the sudden need for everything to be instant, has also invaded the construction industry. Unfortunately technology hasn’t quite invaded my grandparents lives…they’re still learning how to use photo booth.
Fawzi Soliman and Ryan Hanlen are what you would call ‘BIM’ experts, and presented Lecture 5 on “BIM Coordination Technologies”. Now don’t let the bland lecture title fool you, this duo complimented each other well and provided a fast-paced intriguing lecture on the use of BIM and how it’s transforming the construction industry.
At first when the word BIM was introduced into my vocabulary I naively thought it was ‘just’ a software. But after diving head first into the limitless ocean of BIM, I soon realized there was a lot more to BIM than meets the eye. BIM is a process, a methodology as such and it is changing things for what I believe, the better in the construction industry. Invading all aspects from design to construction, this magical creation can reduce construction time by 3-6 months, which effectively means, what every developer wants to hear, more profit.
Just like your instagram, facebook, twitter, tumblr, myspace, linked in and google plus…you get the picture, BIM is a digital realm, that is constantly updating and stays connected to all those involved. So if you’re a workaholic, unlike me, you can easily work on the project at whatever time you like whilst your colleagues sleep. The system is simultaneously updated, allowing everyone involved to come in and feed into a live model, whether they are working on it in the cubicle next to you or on the other side of the world. The process has evolved from going to the project site struggling with a notepad, site plans, maps, documents and a coffee in your hands, to now just simply taking your iPad or Smartphone, and of course your much needed coffee. All management and records are only a click away on your iPad or smartphone, along with the ability to see all services within a building through simply scanning over the site. It’s like having x-ray vision, except probably not as cool to everyone else. I’ve provided a short clip of BIM and its convenient use on the construction site, just in case my explanation with unsophisticated use of technological words didn’t quite translate (it makes sense in my head I promise).
Also, if you’re like me and my fellow ‘instant’ generation, then a huge positive of BIM is that it is as instant as it can possibly get in the construction industry. Take Tamworth Hospital for example, the client asked for a fly through of the building and a full visual representation was provided in four weeks, due to the use of BIM. The efficient process was able to cut down prices to a third, and also made employees that little bit more excited to see what is going on with their building.
Apart from the time management benefits in the short-term, the benefits of BIM continue far beyond the projects construction time. The remote sensing laser technology, which is part of the BIM process, makes future refurbishments and modifications easier down the track, so BIM is really a great investment. The Opera House has now been 90% scanned in order for accurate refurbishment plans to take place, just in time for our iconic landmarks 40th Birthday.
So it might just be my excitement talking, but personally BIM seems to have a lot of power to change the construction industry as we know it. If you’re a more traditional person, and still prefer to send letters via carrier pigeon then I suggest you sign up for a facebook account, and all other social media’s and get with the rest of us “instant” or “impatient” users. Because I guarantee you will soon see the benefits of time efficiency, and BIM will certainly show you.