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The future of construction is building information modeling (BIM)

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The Future of Construction is Building Information Modeling (BIM) - ©iStockphoto.com/-Vladimir-

BIM is a process that enables architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals to create, collaborate and manage information on building and infrastructure projects using 3D models. The process involves the creation and simulation of prototypes throughout a project’s lifecycle, resulting in the cost-effective, sustainable and timely completion of projects. Government institutions and the AEC industry around the world are turning to BIM to address the challenges posed by the increasing number of people moving into cities.

Building construction manufacturers and BIM

According to Autodesk, the AEC industry needs to build 13,000 buildings a day from 2018 to 2050 to accommodate the mass exodus of populations into cities. The AEC industry expects to address this demand by leveraging BIM, which means they have started to require building construction manufacturers to supply them with BIM objects for chosen projects. But what are BIM objects?

BIM objects – at a glance

BIM objects are the digital representation of a construction object or product. They contain detailed information about a product such as geometry, function and visual description. These objects are then used in simulations to visualize what a project would look like in reality, discover design errors and detect discrepancies early on.

BIM objects must be in formats suitable to be used with BIM software, such as Revit Architecture, Bentley AECOsim, Nemetschek Vectorworks or Graphisoft ArchiCAD. They must also work with open standards such as the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) to enable interoperability between platforms. Also, for countries like the United Kingdom, all government projects must meet Level 2 of the National Building Specification (NBS) standard for BIM objects.

Building construction manufacturers and PIM

Since BIM is product information-centric, building product manufacturers need a solution that will help them to easily store, access, manage, update, enrich and distribute volumes of complex data across multiple channels — whether that is to 3rd party BIM object creators or directly to AEC partners.

Product Information Management (PIM) systems, which have been pivotal in the digitalization of the manufacturing industry, can solve a multitude of information management challenges related to the creation of BIM objects. PIM can facilitate the creation and management of BIM objects by:

  • Centralizing data and consolidating BIM object data
  • Modeling complex and detailed metadata
  • Eliminating inaccuracies by improving data quality
  • Linking key assets to BIM object data (such as 2D or 3D images)
  • Enhancing localization to cater to global projects and partners
  • Streamlining the publishing of data across multiple channels

BIM is going to be the standard, not the exception for the AEC industry. Therefore, building product manufacturers that want to get ahead must also think about what tools will facilitate the creation of accurate, complete and compliant BIM objects.