In a previous post, I discussed the first step in BIM implementation: BIM Modeling. The output of this step is BIM models, which contain much more building information than 2D drawings.
Sometimes, there is a misconception that BIM is all about Modeling. That's why we tend to create numerous models and add extensive details, hoping they will automatically save time and cut costs (as BIM promised!).
However, models are simply digital files on your computer, like tools in a toolbox. They don't have any value until they are served for a purpose.
That's where BIM Uses comes into play. BIM Uses refers to the various ways of utilizing BIM models for different activities throughout a building's lifecycle.
This 2nd step is sometimes called BIM applications. I call it: Return On Investment, or ROI. After all the money & effort you invested in upgrading hardware, software, and skillset, this is the time to reap your ROI.
There are more than 20 ways to utilize BIM, covering various stages from planning and design to construction and maintenance. Some of these uses are fundamental tasks that existed before BIM, such as drawing production, design review, and cost estimation.
However, many other uses, like 4D simulation and lighting analysis, have become achievable thanks to the rich information provided by BIM models. As software technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more possibilities for leveraging BIM.
BIM modelers/technicians are capable of executing certain BIM uses themselves. However, in many cases, they are the ones to configure the software and hardware to enable others to utilize BIM in their work. This includes various project stakeholders such as designers, quantity surveyors, construction teams, project managers, and operation and maintenance technicians, who can leverage information models to enhance work efficiency.
However, projects nowadays become increasingly complex and involve more stakeholders. It is no longer a matter of creating a few models for personal use. Instead, it could involve a long list of hundreds of models, that served numerous uses, using tools from different vendors, spanning a three-year duration.
This is yet to mention the collaboration between dozens of consultants and contractors, each with their own varying levels of BIM capability, to fulfill a set of clients' BIM requirements that could be partly obsolete at the end of the project.
That's why we need the third step, which has become increasingly important, to maximize the benefits of implementing BIM: BIM Management.
THE BIM FACTORY
Author: Nhut Pham
Visuals: Cuong Vo