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BIM technology can reduce cost and schedule impacts

Technology continues to advance the construction industry. One recent industry buzz term is “BIM” and many requests for proposal are requiring it.

According to the National Institute of Building Sciences in the United States, BIM is “a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility… and a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing from earliest conception to demolition.”

BIM - Hoosier Energy SkeletonUnlike two-dimensional computer aided design drawings and blueprints, BIM produces three-dimensional (3-D) computer models using data sets to create objects virtually and simulate how those objects would be handled physically in the real world.  It allows information provided by all specialists involved in a construction project to be integrated in one holistic model.

With BIM, Wilhelm is able to work effectively with all project stakeholders to streamline the construction process, reduce waste and save the owner time and money. It is implemented before, during and after the construction process beginning with the construction drawings to establish a model in Autodesk Revit.

Thomas Jacoby, Wilhelm virtual construction engineer, uses BIM technology during the preconstruction and construction phases of a project.

“Building Information Modeling compiles all the pieces of design to fit together before it is given to the construction team,” said Jacoby. “It provides a 3-D model to illustrate how pieces of a structure are supposed to be installed. Overall, it integrates design and construction to better understand how a design will translate into actually building the structure.”

BIM provides coordinated design and opens the lines of communication to all involved in a project creating more effective collaborations. The data provided by different project stakeholders can be entered to create the model.

Common issues found and corrected through BIM are beam elevations that are too low, piping conflicts with structural members, and ductwork intersecting other components.

Wilhelm Estimator Tyler Blank uses BIM to accurately determine supply quantities and the type of work needed for a construction project. He creates a model to establish quantities and provide the project team with a better understanding of the scope of work for a project.

“When building a model, I start out with the basic floor plan and then I can add on,” said Blank. “The floors are layered, and I add the respective schedules and elevations for each. Schedules are all the values for that property such as the floor’s height and width or the systems located on that level. I can easily draw on each level and switch to another level to see its properties.”

Clients continue to receive the highest quality of construction services through accurate estimations of both time and budgets for a project. And after utilizing it for nearly ten years, this technology can translate into real cost-savings for Wilhelm’s clients.

“BIM has the potential to save the client a lot of money,” said Jacoby. “For example, I am working on a project with Hoosier Energy. When we are looking for pipes throughout their existing structure, we do not have to do a lot of exploratory work. We know within an inch of less where a pipe is supposed to be. Overall, it will help keep the project on target and on budget since there are minimal unexpected issues.”

Within the modeling software, takeoffs are created providing quantities needed to accurately estimate the project. Changes to any aspect of the project are updated in the model and simultaneously reflected throughout the estimate and schedule output as well.

Additionally, the owner is able to use the model to maintain the building for years to come. For example, if the owner were want to renovate at some point, the model can be used to see how all of the systems would be affected.

“Overall, BIM saves clients in schedule and cost because we can resolve conflicts before they happen during installation which reduces costly change orders and rework,” said Blank. “It is a really valuable tool.”

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