BIM is the future of infra construction. We should stop everything and implement everything that BIM holds because it will save 20% of the costs at the minimum. That’s what people say, but what is the truth?
BIM Doesn’t solve your problems.
Don’t get me wrong. BIM is future of infra construction, though only part of it. Consults and designers are all cheering for it and suggesting that we should do everything in BIM. But those who have taken this advice literally has realized that a lot of elements of BIM is not that beneficial for construction.
A lot of money got paid to build the fancy, texturized models with lights and animations. When we finally got approval from municipality to move ahead to build these beautiful models into reality the builders will throw most of them into the trash bin, take the 2D graphs and go build by them. The results end up different from the BIM designs. It also ended up costing more than it would have to make simple designs only.
We have heard a lot of talk on how BIM will revolutionize the infra projects. How the saved amount was a guaranteed fact. But how many of us have been able to get this +20% savings in Infrastructure projects?
We have been told to do this and do that and add this to adopt BIM and list goes on. They keep saying that all of these “promised” savings at the end will come. Has anyone ever really demonstrated how to implement them to get the cost-efficiency immediately?
The answer for cost-efficiency is not in BIM. The answer is in the flow of beneficial information to all phases of infrastructure lifetime and stopping the flow of nonbeneficial information.
If you have been in this position before or been thinking of moving toward BIM in infrastructure projects, you need to take a step back right now.
Took step back?
We have been told to do this and do that and add this to adopt BIM and list goes on. Has anyone ever really demonstrated how to implement them to get the cost-efficiency immediately?
How to REALLY get the benefit of BIM
We have a huge amount of things to implement if we want to use BIM in our Infrastructure projects, but how should we take those into use?
Make a full stop, study, buy tools compatible with BIM, and after all those steps resume your infrastructure projects with a new process?
Think BIM as another tool to make your work more efficient. And as all tools, they do not bring any value, if the user of that tool cannot use it properly.
Okay Jero, so we learn one part of BIM and implement it. Right?
Well not exactly, let me show you.
I have written a fully-detailed guide, but I will give you the gist of it.
The core idea is to implement BIM only when there are a need and potential for it. Also, the cost vs benefit has to have a good return rate. The third critical thing to keep in mind as municipality: if we can provide more benefit for all phases, the whole Infrastructure project will cost less in quality, speed and cost of operations in future.
First, I want you to break down Infrastructure lifecycle into different phases it goes through and asks in each phase “What does the team need to know to make this phase as efficient as possible?”
For example, what information does the maintenance team need from the property management? From the construction? From the design? What would they want to know more during their own phase?
Did you list all of the information needs from the maintenance team?
Good. Now do the same with all other phases. Continue from the last phase towards the first (property management) and break it down back to design.
If you are not using BIM at all, most of the needs probably focus on the accuracy of designs, quality of source information, construction solutions that differ from the design, and log point quality control.
List everything that comes into each group’s mind. Don’t worry if the list is short. Not every need comes up in a single meeting. When you start the next project, more information needs will arise. List those too.
The crucial point at the meetings is not to say “This information is impossible to get”. List it still. For now, gather the ideal needs of information.
Got a list of information about what more to provide for different phases?
Good. Now think about how could we provide this new information for different phases of a project. It doesn’t necessarily need to be BIM.
This new information, BIM or not, will allow other parties in infra construction to make greater use of their tools. Thus making projects in the future, cheaper to complete.
Found a way to support every phases information needs?
Now just to summarize,
– We have questioned around and created the list of information needs.
– We have found ways to provide the information.
Now comes the value estimation of these needs.
First, set estimated savings for each need. This savings has to be kept in a common denominator, money.
The challenge is that most needs can be estimated easily in time, but changing it into money is harder. How much faster did work task got done? How much extra work got avoided? How much were fewer changes made during construction? You need to be able to put a price on all the saved time.
For example, the municipality wants realistic models in a project so they can visualize and understand what the end result will look like. How much time does it save compared to the costs?
On your next project, provide these information needs that had positive cost vs benefit ratio. At the end of the project, I recommend re-evaluating the estimated benefits to improve your decision making in the future.
During your project, each group probably will discover new information needs. Add them to the list. Do the cost vs benefit estimation. If it is positive, provide for the next project. If it is negative, don’t.
For you to adopt BIM, the best way to do it is to focus only on solving your current needs. If you don’t have any new needs, then you are only looking for the obvious ones. How about needs that don’t have so clear value estimations? How about needs that are deemed as impossible to provide?
This takes a collective effort to take us all into +20% savings, but it all can fully start only at the municipality level. The more we all improve, the faster things will get better for all of us.
Now, I want you to give back to all infrastructure industry people.
- Share this article at social media
- Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on this matter.
- Join the Infra Pioneer Group so I can help you further!
See you in Infra Pioneer Group!