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BIM-based object management in construction is now in full swing

BIM Design and Architecture

BIM-based object management in construction is now in full swing

The digitization of design and construction is irreversible, and the use of BIM is becoming the foundation for work. Experts are delving into the nuances of the transition.
Currently, digital transformation has affected only about 30-35% of construction companies. Furthermore, only 12% of Russian developers have adopted BIM as a standard for design or are in the process of doing so. According to the Ministry of Construction, only 5-7% of companies in Russia use BIM. In comparison, in the UK, one of the most advanced countries in this area, the level of BIM implementation reached 70% in 2019 according to the "UK National BIM Report." In 2011, this figure did not exceed 10%. According to an analysis by PwC, the share of BIM design is the highest compared to other stages of the object life cycle and is 80%, while construction is 15% and operation is only 5%. This means that even if a project is created in BIM, its construction and subsequent operation are not supported in the same way.

Design without digital instruments

Initially, the main consumers of this technology were designers who used 3D models to showcase future objects. Later, contractors started using it on construction sites, and now BIM models have become a necessary product for developers. Having a unified information base is convenient, especially since all data from the system can be used for management purposes.

In the early stages of technology development, design was carried out in unmanaged CAD, a software product that allowed for the creation of traditional 2D drawings on paper and in electronic format. They lacked precision, detail, and had no connection to reality. The percentage of project errors could reach 30-40%. Then this approach was transformed into 2D and 3D CAD. This is a more or less volumetric model and the ability to exchange electronic files, but the commercial part of the project management is carried out separately, and there is no integration of cost management packages. Therefore, a comprehensive 3D model with libraries and a well-established data exchange process appeared, including the possibility of "walking through the model," automatic collision detection, construction planning and management, visualization of work schedules, and the addition of 4D (time) and 5D (cost) measurements.

The final stage of the evolution of design should be a unified BIM environment, that is, integrated services or a single 3D environment containing all information about the object, to which all project participants have access throughout the life cycle of the object.

Many developers have been stuck in the transition from the second to the third stage, and only a few have reached the creation of a unified environment. Traditional CAD design is fraught with discrepancies between working documentation and the constructed object, which leads to redesign, high labor costs, financial losses, as well as costs in terms of deadlines and quality.
Dmitry Kuznetsov, BIM IT company KROK's expert, states that to ensure a high-quality implementation of BIM in a company, there should firstly be an owner of the process or a driver who will develop this direction from within. Secondly, the company's business processes are important. If they do not have a clear structure and sequence, the use of new tools will not produce the expected effect. Thirdly, the goals of the implementation and specific tasks that are planned to be solved based on the new technology should be clearly defined. Companies should be prepared for certain changes in the organizational structure and a new paradigm of construction project management.
The purpose of BIM implementation is not to save money but to set up processes in such a way as to avoid losses. Therefore, thinking about information modeling only from an economic point of view is not entirely correct. Based on data for comfort-class residential complexes in St. Petersburg, the company Bonava saves 30% of the time during the design stage through BIM. From the perspective of financial project optimization, the model allows working in 5D, which means more accurately accounting for the cost of resources used during construction and calculating the total project cost at the start.

New BIM Realities

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a technology for managing the lifecycle of a construction object based on its information model. Information management occurs at any stage of the object's existence: planning, design, preparation for construction, construction, commissioning, operation, reconstruction, and demolition; and over any part of it: the master plan and external engineering systems, architecture, structures, and engineering systems. Thus, the designer, builder, and developer obtain all the information about the object in one place - the information model, which allows them to accurately, qualitatively, and timely perform certain tasks. The main benefit of using BIM is full compliance of project data with technical supervision data for construction stages. This is the case when expectations and reality coincide. BIM technology helps to digitize all the parameters of future construction more accurately, including the volumes of required work and materials, reduce time and financial costs by automating routine operations, as well as quickly react and make necessary changes to the project. As a result, the workload is reduced, the design time is shortened, and the quality of documentation and construction work is improved.
PETR MANIN, Director of SIGNAX in the Middle East, Ex. Technical Director of Autodesk, Russia and CIS. The efficiency of BIM depends on the project's life cycle stage. The return on investment indicator, reduction in errors, coordination, and rework, as well as the reduction in errors in calculating volumes and their cost (material and equipment orders), are often used to assess its effectiveness. However, for each company and project, the indicators of effectiveness and implementation goals of BIM may vary. Nonetheless, one of the main advantages is the improvement in the quality of design, which significantly increases and becomes manageable.
According to the Russian Ministry of Construction, the use of BIM in capital construction project management leads to a reduction of:

  • Construction and operating costs by 30%;
  • Errors and inaccuracies in project documentation by up to 40%;
  • Implementation time of the project (from concept to completion) by up to 50%;
  • Working time of technologists and architects by a total of 20%;
  • Model checking time by 6 times;
  • Budget error planning by 4 times;
  • Coordination and approval time by up to 90%;
  • Construction time by 10%;
  • Design time by 20-50%.

Difficulties in implementing BIM

Despite all the advantages of information modeling, there are a number of limitations that are holding back the mass transition of developers to this technology. According to PwC, the cost of a single-user version of BIM software per year is from 65,000 rubles, the basic training course is estimated at 20-35 thousand rubles, and the entire implementation process takes an average of 6 to 12 months.
"The main barrier to implementing BIM in Russia is a clear understanding by the customer that they are the main interested party in the implementation and use of BIM on projects. Information modeling is effective when it covers all stages of the project life cycle. Currently, BIM is mainly growing from the side of design companies that use it locally, but they experience difficulties involving other project participants. The customer can do this by developing their requirements for the entire project. It is precisely these clear, specific requirements that are often lacking for everything to take off," says Manin.
According to Dmitry Kuznetsov, one of the main barriers to implementing BIM in Russia is financial.
"Currently, only a small portion of companies are capable of fully equipping themselves with modern workstations and the required software. The obstacle may not only be the cost of software products, but also the need to include additional specialists in the team - a BIM manager and a BIM coordinator. Another difficulty is the mindset of designers who are accustomed to using traditional tools. The transition to BIM is a ... "
According to the research in 2016, the following are the main barriers for developers and designers:

  • Difficulty in calculating the economic impact of implementation during short-term planning;
  • Lack of clear understanding of what BIM represents;
  • Lack of technical equipment among project participants;
  • High initial investment (purchase of equipment and software), lack of sufficient number of specialists, high level of specialist costs;
  • Need for improvement of the regulatory framework, formation of common standards;
  • Need for restructuring of internal processes, duration of adaptation.