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BIM: 3D project modeling, a plus or a must

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BIM: 3D project modeling, a plus or a must

Group

26/06/2024

Over the last few years, building information modelling (BIM) has seen a meteoric rise in the construction industry. Rapidly becoming an essential technology, BIM has revolutionised the work of architecture and construction professionals. It is now widely considered as a must-have – rather than just an option. This success is no accident: BIM delivers considerable benefits for building design and management. As well as providing a 3D model of each project, it incorporates crucial information on materials, costs, planning, sustainability and maintenance, making it easier for all stakeholders to work together throughout the building’s lifecycle. In short, BIM has become indispensable for improving the efficiency, quality and sustainability of construction projects.  

The benefits of BIM

Improved collaboration

BIM is a powerful collaboration tool for a construction project’s stakeholders. By integrating all data into a single digital model, it enables smooth and consistent interaction between architects, engineers, contractors and other players. Everyone involved in the project has access to the same digital model, making it easy to share information that is updated in real time. This centralisation of data contributes to better coordination of efforts, avoiding communication errors.

Reduced errors and inconsistencies

Thanks to 3D visualisation, stakeholders can identify and resolve potential conflicts well before construction begins. This ability to detect issues ahead of the works means that incompatibilities or design errors can be corrected early on, avoiding costly modifications once construction is underway.

Better management of costs and deadlines

BIM provides essential simulation and planning tools to accurately manage costs and deadlines. These tools enable us to estimate precisely the costs of each phase and to plan deadlines realistically. Adjustments, whether to materials, construction methods or schedules, can be made quickly, allowing unforeseen circumstances to be dealt with effectively and minimising the risk of delays and budget overruns.

Design optimisation 

BIM models make it possible to explore various design options in greater detail and more quickly. Our simulations take an eco-responsible approach, analysing each option’s environmental impacts thanks to our dedicated Green Building team and our BIM engineers. We model innovations in terms of energy performance, biodiversity and carbon footprint. Clients can visualise and choose the innovations they want, whether to obtain a certificate or label, or simply to improve their employees’ wellbeing.

Facilities management

Once the building is in operation, BIM models become invaluable tools for facility management and maintenance. They provide accurate, up-to-date information on the building’s components, making it easier to carry out maintenance, repairs and any necessary upgrades over time.

EIn fact, the wealth of information that BIM offers is virtually unlimited. For instance, the digital model can include project deadlines and the allocation of human and material resources. By clicking on a door in your 3D office, you can retrieve a multitude of details: its reference number, its dimensions, the reference of the paint to be applied, that of the handle, the date of installation and the service provider in charge, and much more. If the door needs to be replaced at a later date, BIM will give the service provider all the relevant information.

BIM should be seen first & foremost as an exceptionally rich, standardised and collaborative database. It is useful to all project stakeholders.

Le BIM, a must for many projects

Building information modelling is a growing global trend, largely driven by regulations and industry standards in many countries. It has established itself as an essential methodology, not only for improving the efficiency and quality of construction projects, but also to meet growing regulatory and compliance requirements.

Public projects

In many countries, the use of BIM is now a requirement for public projects – a measure designed to ensure transparency and efficiency. These publicly funded projects encompass a broad range of infrastructures, such as water networks, roads and public buildings. In Europe, France launched in 2015 the Digital Transition Plan for the Building Industry (PTNB), with the aim of generalising the use of BIM in construction by 2022. The Plan BIM 2022 follows in its wake, aiming to broaden BIM’s adoption.

In Germany, the government introduced initiatives such as 2015’s Planen-Bauen 4.0, aimed at promoting the use of BIM in public projects. Scandinavian countries adopted the technology early on and worked together to integrate BIM consistently into their practices. Finland took decisive action back in 2007 when it decreed that all design software had to be compatible with the IFC format. The body responsible for public real estate began promoting BIM as early as 2001, making it compulsory for all projects above €2 million from 2007 onwards.

The UK is a global leader in BIM adoption. In 2011, the government unveiled its Construction Strategy 2011, imposing BIM in all public projects. This BIM plan was gradually rolled out and, since 2016, the use of BIM Level 2 has been mandatory for all government projects.

Internationally, several standards have been developed to provide a framework for BIM, including ISO 19650, which incorporates the British PAS 1192. ISO 22057 deals with sustainable development in the context of BIM. The UK’s regulatory progress has had a strong international influence – and many global standards are aligned with the British model.

Major, complex projects

In the case of large-scale, complex projects, BIM is virtually indispensable to manage the interactions between all the disciplines involved. With a multistorey building, the complexity of the project means that a digital model is essential to define the structure, the access ramps, the lorry yard, as well as the heavy and light vehicle traffic flows. In these operations, BIM’s benefits include improved visualisation, more effective planning, better anticipation of unforeseen circumstances and – at the end of the day – projects that are more likely to be on time and on budget.

Not complusory

Although BIM is widely recognised as an essential tool for many construction projects, there are situations where its use may be considered optional rather than a necessity:

Small projects

In the case of smaller projects, with simple construction requirements and tight budgets, the upfront investment in BIM may seem excessive. However, though the returns on your BIM investment are not always evident, they can be collected indirectly. For instance, BIM can help you avoid unforeseen expenses or the overestimation of materials, as well as be more accurate and prevent common worksite contingencies.

Insufficient skills

In some regions or with some smaller players, the lack of skills and training can make it difficult to adopt BIM. Without the right expertise, integrating this technology can seem complex and costly, reducing its usefulness despite its many benefits.

For most construction projects today – and particularly the medium to large ones – BIM is essential for its many benefits in terms of collaboration, error avoidance, cost & deadline management and design optimisation. Today, 75% of our projects are designed by our team of BIM engineers. However, for small projects or in specific contexts where resources are limited, BIM can still be seen more as a plus than a must. In short, although BIM is increasingly the norm, its adoption will always depend on the specifics of the project and the players involved.