In the last years and decades, the complexity of construction and construction sites has risen a lot. Many different parties are involved: Architects, Project managers, investors, … That is due to the technical development, globalization as well as urban concepts you have to stick to.
A good tool to keep up with this all this and to bring all involved parties together is BIM – Building Information Modeling. It is a method of optimized planning, generating and management of buildings and construction sites by creating a virtual, three-dimensional model. The main feature of BIM is that all data is managed digitally, that means the modelling, combination and collection of all relevant building data happens digitally. It comprises the whole lifecycle of a building or construction object, for example a highway, virtually. All parameters and values are included and all changes and further developments can be implemented.
It is possible to work with BIM with any CAD program that can create such a data model. Only the IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) interfaces for the data interchange have to be certified.
BIM not only works with the three dimensions, length width and height, but also with time (4D), when all elements are integrated into a timetable, so that the construction progress can be visualized and a better time planning is possible. 5D enables the user to see the development of the whole cost and amounts as the single elements are linked to prices, so that a model based cost calculation and quantity determination is possible. BIM 6D includes further information from the realization, that means from the transformation of a virtual into a real part. BIM 7D includes the whole building object in operation, so the model elements are supplemented by information about their use and maintenance.
Compared to the conventional construction process, BIM changes the whole organization and handling of job sites. And while BIM requires higher expenses in the planning phase, especially for the design (in comparison to the conventional process), later the expenses sink, while in the conventional process the expenses during the implementation are the highest.
There are yet some preconceptions against BIM: Many are afraid of the additional time and work it needs to create and maintain a BIM Model (which means they fear additional cost). Another concern is that the accustomed way of working has to be changed and new working standards have to be defined.
Of course BIM really changes the work routine, but negative effects are fewer then feared and much fewer than the advantages. If there is a willingness to engage and learn new things, BIM can offer a lot of advantages like a higher planning security, faster building processes and the direct availability of all data. Complex projects can be handled much more easy with BIM. Everyone involved can access the actual data from anywhere. This way communication and cooperation in the project is getting much more transparent. The actual and available data base also prevents a lot of errors and misinterpretations.