Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
BIM for the construction industry
September 25th, 2013 by Susan Smith
1. National Infrastructure Discussions Evolve Into Global Discussions
Discussions on national infrastructure will evolve into global conversations on interconnected transportation and financial systems. For example, completion of the Panama Canal will force the U.S. East Coast to upgrade their ports to accommodate a massive increase in traffic and ship size.
2. Infrastructure Priorities: Developing vs. Developed Regions
Today, there is a marked divide between the infrastructure priorities of developed and developing countries. Developing countries are creating, funding and building brand new infrastructure systems while developed countries are trying to fix their crumbling systems in order to address the needs of tomorrow.
3. Innovative Funding Models
No matter the end goal, funding is a critical concern across the world. We’re beginning to see alternative funding models such as PPPs emerge, and with that project teams, processes and priorities are beginning to change. A significant portion of funding will likely come from foreign investors looking for low risk projects across geographies, forcing project owners to compete on a global scale and learn to work with the increased transparency demanded by private investors.
4. Construction Green Lights Mobile Productivity
While some may consider this industry to be slow to adopt new technology, in actuality it has simply maintained a strong commitment to business objectives. They do not buy into technology for the hype or mystical promise of “cutting-edge.” In order for technology to be successful in the construction market, it must be tied to the overall business goals and processes. Most recently, the industry has been rapidly adopting mobile technology because of the time and cost benefits of using mobile devices.
5. New “Big Picture” Skill Set Required
Today, the shop floor and the construction job site are closer than they’ve ever been. For example, pre-fab construction is becoming an increasingly important conversation not only in the home building market but also in the commercial market. The use of pre-fab components requires a deeper technological understanding across all disciplines. From the get go, designers, manufacturers and builders need to ensure that the design is flawless, as one mistake could cost thousands of dollars.
Now several months into 2013, BIM is used by many construction contractors to provide information to crews before they begin their work on the project. Mobile computing has advanced as well in the past year with several useful apps to provide not only real-time field data but also geolocated field data. Even though BIM has notable 3D capabilities, for the construction industry the BIM model is generally converted to a 2D drawing with less of the available data shown to the user.
Keeping the model in 3D for a longer part of the construction process allows all professionals on the job to access a greater level of accuracy at the jobsite. With the help of laser scanners, total stations and multi-stations to gather real-world data in the field, users can merge this data with the model data already in the office for a bigger picture. This would help with scheduling dilemmas later on in the process and ensure valid information at every stage in the lifecycle of the project.