5 BIM Pros and Cons for Improving Team Collaboration
When BIM (Building Information Modelling) is implemented into our industry’s processes correctly and utilised, it can be a brilliant tool to help us visualise construction projects.
However, despite this, many companies are failing to use BIM to its full potential because it is not being used as a tool to improve the entire construction planning process through team collaboration. We explore this in depth in our e-book, (Finally) Unleashing the Potential of 4D & 5D BIM.
There’s no doubting the benefits but let’s look at both the pros and cons of BIM. Specifically, how it can help you and what you might have to consider when using it for your projects.
BIM is a collaboration system. This means that any benefit to come out of the software stems from an increase in collaboration, leading to better communication.
When we’re able to communicate better with other teams, the entire construction process is streamlined and made more efficient. But, what does this mean in reality? Let’s find out...
1. BIM Means Fewer Reworks
When working on a project, it’s hard to envisage a scenario where changes and alterations don’t stifle the process.
For any given project, there are a number of interested parties who have a say in the final designs. Be they architects, engineers or project managers, they want to ensure that the project is correct and follows their own specifications as closely as possible. This reality means changes and alterations are an inevitable part of the construction process and something we used to have to deal with and, ultimately, pay the price for.
When we had no system for collaboration in the design stage, these teams were left to discover unwanted issues too late and too far into the project’s development.
By enabling commentary on the digital design, BIM allows us to see potential problems we might normally find in the construction stage, and eradicate them together in CAD from the start. This functionality improves communication and allows all stakeholders to share their thoughts as early as possible. This doesn’t mean that zero problems will arise on site but what it does mean is that we are given every opportunity to weed out any issues beforehand.
Now that we have BIM to spot these potential pitfalls early and minimise disruptions, the industry saves on time and costs that were previously unimagined.
2. BIM Improves Collaboration
Of course, we have been able to predict costs and allocate times to tasks in the past, but the introduction of BIM allows us to do all of this with more accuracy than ever before.
With BIM, we are able to assign materials and resources to surfaces and other elements of the design. This means we are able to more accurately predict how much of each resource to order and, yet again, you save on costs.
Being able to predict better isn’t simply a cost-saving benefit, however. BIM allows for each department to be able to work to a timescale that is agreed to by all parties before the project even begins. One of the biggest problems in the industry today is the time spent on site that could be better spent elsewhere. The reason for this is usually down to poor time allocation and incorrect predictions made in the planning process.
Being able to predict better and, as a result, more efficiently allocate time and resources, is music to our industry’s ears. Better predictions means for a smoother process overall.
3. You Can Run Real Life Scenarios
With some BIM products, we are actually able to run predictions that adapt to changing circumstances. This is useful because you’re able to reduce the time it takes to make an assumption about a project and consider how that decision might affect each and every department and team.
Kreo offers this in our What-If feature. With this tool, you are able to create a whole range of scenarios for your project in terms of schedule and cost. The side-by-side scenario comparison is a powerful tool for cost planning, risk analysis, value engineering and pre-tender estimating.
The benefit of this is that you are able to adjust any part of your project and consult other teams to see if the scenario would work for everyone. If you think that you need to reduce the cost of your project by cutting down on a certain resource, the feature will estimate for you the time that your project be extended by.
This smart technology offers the chance to test your assumptions in a matter of minutes to see if they’re feasible within the scope of your project.
BIM gives its users more ways to work together and ensure that the construction process is as efficient and problem-free as possible. So, why is there any pushback on a system that allows us to work better together? Let’s discuss...
4. Lack of Knowledge in the Industry
One of the reasons that BIM is so misunderstood is down to the lack of knowledge in our industry about the system and how beneficial it can be.
While BIM has existed since the 1970s, in many ways, it’s a mostly recent introduction to our industry. Because of this, many heads of industry or organisation leaders are wary about the investment that surrounds the implementation of BIM.
The main reason for how slowly our industry has adopted BIM is because of the potential time and cost to train staff on BIM before we can start to see the benefits. This is the case for any new system in our industry and it means that, because some project collaborators are not trained in BIM, the rest are unable to fully collaborate.
The danger for construction companies averse to BIM is that the industry is coming around to the benefits. Those construction companies not implementing BIM risk being left behind. It’s an unfortunate reality that the industry doesn’t move in unison.
There needs to be a better, more vocal conversation surrounding BIM and its benefit to our industry. This extends to the conversation surrounding BIM’s classification systems.
5. No Universal Classification Systems
One of the biggest factors that hinders the success and implementation of BIM is the lack of a unified classifications system.
Apart from reducing time and costs, the use of BIM technology is supposed to improve communication between the parties involved. And this lack of communication is where the real problem lies.
When collaborating with BIM, it’s crucial for a classification system to be capable of identifying and accurately describing any model element. The elements in a BIM model can be described by a number of parameters, such as function, location, material, structure, etc.
Our industry is not aligned when it comes to the use of these systems and, because of that, we fail to truly collaborate. We aren’t able to assign an activity to each element to compose a work breakdown structure (WBS).
In addition, we have to group elements differently for cost estimates and then still align with an actual cost database.
Now we know what we can benefit from and what we need to work on when using BIM, hopefully our industry can move forward together and embrace the need for the system.
The construction process can be fraught with misunderstanding and riddled with entirely preventable problems. It doesn’t have to be that way. We need to move forward together to fully get the most out of what BIM has to offer.
If you’re ready to learn more about the value BIM can provide to your construction projects, download our free eBook, (Finally) Unleashing the Potential of 4D & 5D BIM.