The construction industry, unlike most other industries, has not improved its efficiency over the past 60 years (CII studies in US showed 57% wastage and 40-50% projects delivered late, and European studies have shown 30-40% wastage).
There are several reasons for this, including:
- There are more speciality areas involved in projects than there were 50 years ago – a project then consisted of Client, Architect, Structural Engineer and MEP Engineer – and so co-ordination was much easier.
- Design/construction teams used to all be local, whereas today they can be spread across the world
- Systems were less complex
- Few options were available for construction materials
- Fewer forms of communication resulted in more personal interface
- Less career options, so the construction industry could attract a higher quality of personnel
- The construction industry revolves around managing two areas: data and people.
The more data required or provided, the more difficult it becomes to manage. Similarly for people. Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a collaborative way of working, underpinned by digital technologies, which allows for more efficient methods of designing, delivering and maintaining the Physical Built Assets through their entire lifecycle.
Some of the areas this currently exists include:
- Better understanding of the design due to visual presentation – VR and walk through video
- Energy and system modelling
- Reduction in drawing issues
- Construction sequencing for cost/programme management
- Optimising design for pre-fabrication
Some of the areas that are likely to develop over the coming years include:
- Optimisation of pipe and duct sizes as a balance of capital/operating cost
- Virtual commissioning to pick up design errors and minimise site time for commissioning
- Code compliance checks direct from a BIM model – building codes, green accreditation codes or internal design checks
- Providing handover documents linked to the BIM model for traceability from concept to handover, and housing all data related to any item throughout its life cycle in one location