The UK construction sector is in a state of constant improvement. Take health and safety for example. Today it’s impossible to set foot on a construction site without certain criteria being met, such as the correct personal protective equipment being worn and training requirements being met.
The success of the industry’s health and safety practices is reflected in industry data, with workplace fatalities down 75% since 1990.
A similar transformation is taking place in construction design. BIM – or Building Information Modelling – is reinventing the way construction projects are created and managed. Anyone working in the sector will be familiar with the term, but what does it actually mean?
What is BIM?
BIM is defined by the National Building Specification (NBS) as “a process for creating and managing information on a construction project across the project lifecycle.” It is part of a wider digital transformation in construction that aims to improve the outcomes achieved by the industry.
At its core, BIM is a digital 3D building model; a virtual equivalent of the actual product being constructed. Contained within the model is a series of data that combine to simulate the operation of the product before a single shovel breaks the ground.
The most obvious advantage of BIM is the ability to create 3D visualisations of the finished product. Seeing a product before it is built can help clients make aesthetic decisions about their product and prevent unwelcome surprises about how a product looks once it is installed.
It also allows for stakeholder engagement, giving the chance for the end user or wider public to see what a visual impact a long term project is going to have on an area.
In terms of project quality management, BIM models sit at the centre of a project’s documentation meaning changes are reflected immediately and uniformly across all users. This lends itself naturally to a wider benefit in data management, with BIM models regularly used to store other critical project documentation, such as project programmes and cost data and records. This information can be stored for use long after a project is completed, meaning the benefit of BIM extends well beyond the construction phase of a project.
The industry’s uptake of BIM is moving at a impressive rate. The NBS National BIM Report 2018 found that over three quarters of businesses operating in the construction sector are actively using BIM, with the figure expect to hit 90% within the next three to five years. The benefits using of BIM are also being realised, with the majority of company’s indicating that its use reduces both construction cost and time.
MMEngineering and BIM
There is an immediate importance of BIM to the flood defence sector. Flood defence projects often involve complex design interfaces meaning the need for clear and concise communication is paramount to successful outcomes. Having all information stored centrally is a crucial step towards efficient project management that increases the chance of a project delivering against its brief.
Moreover with a significant proportion of projects taking place in conservation areas, the visual impact of defences is often a key sticking point. 3D visualisations can be easily shared and understood by all who see them – the same cannot be said for engineering drawings – and can therefore be used to ease concerns that a scheme will negatively impact the existing charm and beauty of an area.
MMEngineering looks beyond the benefit of BIM at planning and the construction phase of a project. Every product we design is created using a 3D parametric model. This not only allows for ease of modification and replication of approved designs, it provides crucial data feedback during the research and development of new products.
Innovation underpins our offering and BIM allows us to do it better. We are firmly committed to achieving accreditation to BIM Level 2 by April 2019.
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