Performance, not promises

Having already taught us that BIM is a way of handling information, rather than a catch-all term for a specific programme or legal requirement, CIBSE BIM Consultant Carl Collins is back. This time, he's exploring what the different stakeholders in construction want from BIM, and how you can use BIM to help them get it.

The world is changing and the construction industry has to change with it. We are increasingly moving from analogue to digital technologies, for reasons of efficiency and transparency. Everybody is trying to lift the lid on digital technologies in the construction sector and the relevance of BIM to our everyday lives.

Many presentations and seminars over recent years have focused on the processes and forms of information exchange, but rarely looked at how they can be applied, especially for the bulk of the sector, that work on typical construction projects. The reasons for BIM have been stated many times before, and CIBSE is launching a series of roadshows that will show you how to use the technologies and processes to increase efficiency, accuracy and quality of information and to reduce the risk on projects, by exposing data in a structured way.

Different stakeholders want different things from BIM
By sharing openly and using relatively simple technology and techniques, you can see how to use data from a single source to generate multiple outcomes. It’s all about the bottom line, working smarter and using our digital assets more extensively will allow us to compete more effectively in this ever-changing world. But in order to know what those outcomes ought to be, you have to know the needs of different kinds of stakeholders and what they want.

For clients too, it can be the difference between getting the building they actually want – or not, performing at the peak of its ability. This can generate utility savings and provide a better environment for the occupants, increasing their efficiency and output, and can simply be a matter of asking the right questions at the right time in the design process.

SME Contractors
BIM can be used to gain better understanding of how the designs can be realised in the flesh, to procure with more certainty and to reduce re-work by understanding what is to be constructed and how. Digital tools can also be used to discover alternative suppliers and products, using metrics other than pure cost, to give the client the building they actually want.

The great benefit of doing this is simply that it reduces waste and uncertainty over cost, which can be a great benefit to an SME contractor and to the client. Forewarned is forearmed, and the ability to accurately simulate as many of the potential costs and permutations as possible allows the project to remain close to specification throughout its life.

BIM can help specialist contractors and their
clients plan for their unfamiliar needs
Specialist Contractors
It’s important to understand the needs of the client, the main contractor and the actual design by using shared and trusted data. When using specialist contractors this data can be vital, because it allows the designer to anticipate the unexpected when working in an unfamiliar area of the industry.

New equipment, new processes, tight deadlines and unforeseen challenges are often per for the course when working in highly specialist areas. Digital technology can be used to identify and compare new suppliers and products and rehearse details like construction sequences, so there will be fewer surprises at site. This minimises cost by reducing the number and impact of mistakes, and by reducing the time a project takes.

SME Consultants
Consultants' lives can be made considerably easier if you learn how to leverage design data to generate designs and deliverables that are BIM Level 2 appropriate, and making your consultant's life easier can streamline your processes to make fees go further and thereby increase profits. A consultant’s time can be expensive, which makes it all the more frustrating when it’s problems in your own systems that are holding up the project and costing you money.

Even worse, a mistake caused by bad processes costs even more time and money to fix and can damage your relations with the whole supply chain, while the alternative creates greater certainty in your designs and generates trust relationships with your clients and contractors.

Manufacturers and Suppliers
Manufacturers like to understand what is required of their products more fully, which can be achieved by having exact specifications contained within a BIM model. This allows them to reduce their overhead in information requests and fabricate using trusted data from the design teams. Use digital procurement techniques to deliver the right product at the right time and keep up to date with design changes as they happen can save money, and even make the difference between success and failure in delivering on time.

BIM helps ensure manufacturers have accurate, consistent specifications
Facility Managers
As the people who will actually be running a building on delivery, and who will be held accountable for its performance decades down the line, having a full understanding of the asset they will run is important. As one of the main beneficiaries of the data contained within a BIM model for years to come, what can benefit a building's FM the most is having actual input in how the model is designed and what parameters it measures, because they know what will be most useful to them in the long term.

For that reason, it is important that FMs are fully involved in the process of designing the parameters of the building they will run, know what the design parameters are and the actual performance characteristics of the systems that are constructed and use the design and commissioning data to populate the CAFM model automatically.


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