I am sure all of us will raise our hand, when I ask – ‘Did you ever face trouble doing your first BIM experiment?’ – I did, and I still do.
But what matters is not my mere confession, but how I react to that confession. Do I stand firm, and resolve to get technology to work for me, or do I allow technology to work me out?
My insight is this – I must resolve to get technology to work for me, and not merely make it work languidly, I must resolve to make it to work at it’s maximum efficiency; understand it inside out, so that I can make it a loyal minister of my empire, who works very hard to make me and my empire stronger.
I am here to share with you my story, How I had it work for me yesterday, and How I continue doing it today.
It’s been some while, that BIM has been knocking at your doorstep, and it genuinely raises in you some questions – Is digitization of Infra-construction really beneficial, or is it merely pressured from above? And what about the good old ways, have they really become insufficient today to do the same work, they handsomely did yesterday?
To add to this confusion, advocates of BIM keep coming back to you saying – ‘Adapting to BIM is the best choice you have today. You will make big savings, and achieve great quality products using BIM tools.’
But I ask this – are these claims of benefits really true? and even if they are true, how do you know you have benefitted from them? How do you measure? After all, if you do not know, how you benefit from something, but blindly believe it, you have great chances of being fooled.
These questions are clearly not simple, because they do not have a straightforward answer. But I am here to tell you, and I proclaim it – that they are really not that complex, that I did measure those benefits, and I am going to let you in on those secrets.
To be sure, that BIM is really beneficial, we must measure the benefits we receive from them, and measure them at each stage. To do that, let’s take a project, and divide it into 3 separate stages – Design, the Tender-Period, and Construction. And see how we can assure ourselves a benefit at each stage.
Let’s imagine that you hired a big design company to make a 3-D BIM model for you. They bring it in on the decided date, and you are impressed by the way it looks. You look at the 3-D, see the various longitudinal sections, and check if there are correct space reservations for pipes, and so on and so forth. You find everything is well, and give the consultant a thumbs up!
The model then goes on to the construction stage, but there, surprisingly it is found that the model does not fit into the site. The triangulation is messed up, and so are many other things.
You did check the model, and found that it was ok. Then how could such a problem occur?
It turns out, that the human mind is just not equipped to catch all mistakes, and you will fail each time, you rely solely upon it. Instead, the mind needs to be assisted with tools, that help it catch mistakes.
I personally prefer using Infrakit, or Trimble Connect. Especially the Infrakit with a GNSS receiver attached to it, because in less than 30 minutes, it allows you to take pre-construction measurements, and compare the 3-D model with the real world.
This BIM kit can save you big bucks.
Ahh! This is that saggy stage, where most of us have an urge to call the BIM consultant. I struggled this stage for a long time, but eventually learnt, that we don’t really need consultants if we use the right tools.
Much of what should be done at this stage, is clearly expressed in this article – Finding the right construction model for infraconstruction projects. Kindly check it out.
But in short, the one central idea is this: Make sure that the builder points out all mistakes in the design at this stage, and you pay the designer, only after the builder confirms that the drawings are worksite suitable.
This ensures that the designer does his job well, and in turn gives no excuses to the builder, to charge extra money from you at construction stage, saying ‘the drawings were wrong, therefore we need to redo them.’
This is the most deceiving stages of all, when all papers have been done away with, and the machines have begun digging. It might tempt you to lay back, thinking there is not much in your hands now. But believe me, there is a lot you can do.
Using real time project management tools, you can be informed of where exactly measurements have been taken, what’s their quality, and what actions you could take on them.
Also, these tools can help you in assisting setting up payment models, where a contractor is paid based on the degree of completion of log-points. Also, at times if the contractor commits a mistake, like cuts extra rocks, you can demand him to pay by calculating it through design measurements.
In essence, BIM tools offer you full visibility of the worksite, and help you distinguish between real progress, and unnecessary extra billings.
These are just some ways in which BIM tools benefit you. They come with only one condition, you must know how to use them.
If you liked what you read, I would request you to give back to all infrastructure industry people:
- Share this article at social media
- Leave a comment below, and tell me what you think about this.
- Join the Infra Pioneer Group so we can together take this further.