Building Information Modelling Could Be Construction Sector's Key To Smart Designs
Architects and engineers across the world are increasingly using technology to make their lives simpler and work faster. One such innovation that has changed the way construction sector functions is Building Information Modelling (BIM). It has become an essential part of any project design today. It enables smarter and faster design process, intricate planning and visualisation, to simulation and construction. This software helps teams to collaborate, innovate, and connect with clients in more productive ways than ever before.
One of the most widely used BIM software is Autodesk Revit. The ease of making changes inspired the name Revit, an abbreviation of Revise-It. It allows users to design a building and structure and its components in 3D, annotate the model with 2D drafting elements, and access building statistics from the building model's database. Revit is 4D BIM equipped with tools to plan and track various phases in the building's maturation, from concept to construction and later maintenance and asset management.
India is one of the fastest growing construction markets in the world, growing at 7-8 per cent every year. Estimates suggest that India’s construction market will be the third largest in the world, with a size of $1 trillion by 2025.
A Timetric Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) survey which surveyed 100 global construction industry agents found that the majority of respondents believe BIM is the future of the industry, with 49 per cent already using BIM. Also, 50 per cent of respondents believe cost savings and operational efficiency are the major drivers that affect an organisation's resolution to implement BIM.
The Revit BIM software has a number of benefits which the company can make use of. It provides a detailed 3D visualisation of drawings, making the modelling easy which can save a lot of time. There is a better coordination between different departments before the implementation of the model, which helps in meeting the project deadlines.
Revit also provides efficient and fast documentation tools. It helps in sustainable building design which is vital in the modern world where people are much more aware of the effects of their buildings on the environment. It features several analytical tools, which can be used to measure the environmental impact of construction models. The builders can make use of this and form sustainability policy in the firm.
India’s construction sector has several challenges. There are no standards in the industry and there is a deficiency of project management expertise, which results in project delays and cost overruns. The software used are expensive and require advanced hardware. Unfortunately, despite the benefits of BIM, some mavens in the industry are clinging to the old ways of working.
Indian BIM Association has steered a widespread survey to understand the road blocks for BIM implementation in the market to realize the hurdles that the Indian Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Operation (AECO) industry stakeholders are facing for diffusing BIM technologies and workflows in AECO projects.
Sometimes, even those who want to embrace BIM-friendly processes can’t, because of company policies. Legal departments are a common hindrance when it comes to adopting innovative measures. The lack of availability of specialist consultants who are willing to use BIM has also made its implementation challenging in India.
Most of the design firms assume that productivity loss during the training period of workforces would be unrecoverable. This is part of the larger problem of shortage of trained professionals in the real estate and construction sector. As professionals, all of us are aware of the advantages of adapting a BIM centric design development. However there are too many hurdles as on today to implement it due to various commercial and practical challenges. The need of the hour is to use it effectively in a few large scaled landmark projects and make it a benchmark for BIM practice for future Projects. In this endeavour the Principal Architectural firms have a large role to play. They have to create inhouse BIM specialists which is integrated in their design deliverable SOPs. Appointing a third party BIM agency, which is the norm today, is not able to harness the maximum potential of a BIM driven preconstruction process.
As per a research report, international BIM market — with the Asia-Pacific region showing the most growth — should hit $11.7 billion by 2022, growing 21.6% between 2016 and 2022. It’s a promising future wherein buildings, design and construction will be cheaper, safer, more efficient, and more responsive to end-users.
The world’s second tallest building, Shanghai Tower in China, was possible mainly due to the application of BIM technology. The Shanghai Tower designers required the implementation of a BIM process using Autodesk BIM solutions for the design and construction of the tower, to meet the ambitious goals set for the building. BIM helped their team produce a high-quality project and evade many on-site changes, which would waste time and resources.
The present situation is not so favourable for BIM adoption in India, however, with time, things will certainly look up. The benefits of implementing BIM in construction cannot be denied with the growing trend of cloud-BIM integration, which further enhances coordination and scheduling of projects. As the technology matures and becomes more advanced, the PMCs in India need to ensure that they deliver such an intelligent piece of work.
Arnab Ghosh, director, Synergy Property Development Services
Views expressed are author's own.