WHAT IS BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING?
Building Information Modeling, or BIM, is a way of representing buildings, roads, and utilities. Architects and engineers can use the models to show how building materials will hold up over time. Owners can create maintenance schedules with BIM models. However, BIM is more than just drawings and models. BIM as a process brings all the stakeholders together to communicate around the model. With the model as the center point of a project, BIM benefits contractors by facilitating a more collaborative building process.
The optimal use of BIM during preconstruction is for the contractor to work alongside the designer to create the model. This collaboration will lay the foundation of connecting the subject matter experts or subcontractors with the designers. Owners and the design team can align expectations directly with the subcontractors to provide more accurate cost estimates and schedules. BIM benefits for contractors include providing an accurate visual representation for the subcontractor to validate costs and manage risk. The goal of the team is to catch any design errors or omissions before construction starts to minimize rework.
During the construction phase, BIM serves as the information resource for the project team. All work completed will be updated to the model to show project progression. When the subcontractor enters labor productivity information, the team links BIM to the schedule for better coordination and transparency on project progression. When any changes are made to the model, the entire team becomes fully aware of the cost and schedule implications of design changes.
Detailed information about all the building components is within the model, such as product information, model, and part number. This documentation allows owners to control the costs over the building’s life span not just during the construction phase. Facility managers can work alongside subcontractors to proactively maintain the building before parts break down.
BIM serves as the single source of truth to bring all project stakeholders together. It is critical that subcontractors participate as early as possible in project discussions. This partnership of building owners, designers and architects, general contractors, and subcontractors delivers projects within budget and schedule. BIM provides a higher level of detail and collaboration for subcontractors to ensure that errors are caught, expectations are aligned, and cost estimates and schedules are accurate. Integrating labor delivery and the subject matter expertise from subcontractors achieves better business results for all project stakeholders.
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