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BIM and Its Myths – Part 1

BIM is a hot topic among professionals and experts in the construction industry. Last January, we held an exploratory meeting on the use of technologies on construction sites, and naturally, the conversation shifted to BIM. We are being led to believe that the technological revolution in the construction industry goes hand in hand with BIM. While some believe that BIM is a passing trend, others firmly believe that this approach is meant to become the norm in Quebec, just like it is in Europe. Regardless, the idea of implementing a process to transfer information to all the actors involved in a project in a centralized manner certainly raises questions in the industry. Several preconceived ideas are circulating about the definition and application of BIM. Our team of BIM consultants got together and debunked certain persisting myths.

BIM is a deliverable

BIM is a series of work processes that apply to the coordination and management of a construction project. The mock-up should not be seen as a deliverable that is separate from 2D plans, but rather as a living tool that evolves throughout the project. Even though the mock-up takes the form of a fixed snapshot when the official plans are issued, the BIM process is never officially delivered and is constantly progressing.

BIM means working with Revit

The tools used can vary widely depending on the role that each person plays in the BIM process. Revit is of course a major 3D modelling tool for the design work of professionals. However, other tools can be involved in the process. For instance, architects and engineers may use specialized energy analysis or structural analysis software, while developers and general contractors generally need to use a 3D integration tool like Navisworks Manage to track project progress through an integrated mock-up. Finally, specialized contractors (ventilation, plumbing, electricity, fire protection) also need to use software systems for their specific manufacturing environment.

The BIM approach has to be initiated by a design professional

Design professionals such as architects and engineers were the first to implement BIM solutions within their businesses, often for their own needs. However, few of them will start talking about BIM unless a client requires it. Expectations are sometimes created among clients or other professionals when we mention that the team works with Revit. This trend is changing, however, since an increasing number of industry actors are now informed about the techniques and work methods made possible by BIM.

All aspects of BIM need to be implemented together

When conducting a first pilot project, a developer may not have the interest or knowledge needed to apply all BIM concepts. So we normally recommend focusing your efforts on the aspects that matter most to the client, specifically those that will yield the highest return on investment. A good return on investment usually bodes well for the future!

My clients don’t require the BIM approach, so I don’t need it

Each actor involved in a construction project has something to gain from the BIM approach. There’s no need to wait for a developer to require the use of BIM to start benefitting from it. For instance, professionals can benefit from easier multidisciplinary coordination, or general contractors may be able to estimate project costs more accurately right from the bidding step. However, a developer who has certain expectations toward BIM could certainly require their team of professionals to integrate more information than usual to mock-ups or to be more involved in coordination meetings, which changes project management dynamics.

If you would you like to see how you could start applying the BIM approach to your business context, contact us!

Consortech’s BIM team

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