“BIM is the door to the future of Infra-construction.” I hear that very often these days. Those who say that, speak as if BIM is a magic wand that will convert failure into success, and magically bring home the +20% savings it promises to bring, while they sit back and relax. But I say that what they say is just half of the truth. This is how I see it: ‘BIM can bring you +20% savings, only if you know how to use it. Afterall, BIM is just a tool, and like any tool, if you don’t know how to use it. It will only lead to injury.
BIM will bring home +20% savings, provided you know how to use it. After all, BIM is just a tool, and like any tool, if you don’t know how to use it. It will only lead to injury.
Having said that, I will show you here, how you can immediately begin implementing BIM in your projects, and learn for yourself, how to measure those cost savings.
How to implement BIM in your projects?
First thing first, understand this: ‘BIM doesn’t magically make a project cost-efficient. A project becomes cost efficient when you do this: allow the flow of valuable information to all phases of infrastructure, while at the same time stop the flow of non-valuable information.’
What this means is, you must know at each phase of construction, what information a team needs to know to make that phase of construction as efficient as possible. For example, after a project has been completed, you must ask yourself this: what information will the maintenance team need from other teams, like construction, management and property management teams to do their work in the most efficient way.
Now that you know that, I strongly recommend you to sit down for a while, and do this short exercise.
Take a project and list down all the information that the maintenance team will need. Then do the same for all the phases, travelling from the last (maintenance) to the first (property management).
[In case you are not using BIM, then most of your needs will focus on accuracy of designs, quality of source information, construction solution, and log point quality control].
List everything that comes to the mind. Don’t worry if at the moment the list is short. Not every need will arise in a single meeting. When you start the next project, more information needs will arise. Then list those too.
Now think, how would you 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.
This is how we create valuable information for each phase; by understanding the relationship of one stage to another.
Having done that, the next step in implementation of BIM is to estimate the value of those information needs.
A project becomes cost efficient when you do this: allow the flow of valuable information to all phases of infrastructure, while at the same time stop the flow of non-valuable information.
To do that, set your estimated savings for each need, and have those savings share a common denominator, money. Why we need to have a common denominator of money is because, most needs have their intrinsic value in time. For example, how faster was a task done? How much extra work was avoided? How many fewer changes were made during construction?
But estimation in time will not give you an estimation of cost-saving, therefore, you will need to put a price on all the saved time.
For example, when the municipality wants realistic models for a project so that they can visualize what the end result will look like. How much time does it save compared to the costs of creating those realistic models?
As an exercise, on your next project, provide these information needs that had positive cost vs benefit ratio. And at the end of the project, re-evaluate the estimated benefits to improve your decision making in the future.
While you do that, you will find that each group will have new information needs; keep adding them to the list. Then do a cost vs benefit estimation. If the estimation is positive; remember to take that information to the next project as well. If it is negative, then don’t.
If you are new to BIM, the best way for you to adopt will be to focus only on solving your current needs.
BIM takes collective effort to take you to +20% savings, but in infrastructure it can only start at the municipality level. The more we all improve; the faster things will get better for all of us.
If you liked what you read, I would want you to give back to all infrastructure industry people by:
- Sharing this article at social media
- Leaving a comment below. And tell me what you think about this.
- Join the Infra Pioneer Group so we can take this further.