Demands and Benefits
As with many aspects of home building, consumers are driving the demand for BIM. “Consumers are tired of having homes built and getting surprised by the finished product. Even with TV shows, they are showing 3-D images so consumers are starting to expect it,” Finck says.
The economy has also had a great influence on the use of BIM. Producing more accurate products and using fewer materials, BIM has allowed building professionals to stay competitive and be more cost-efficient.
Before purchasing a BIM solution, consider the following. “On the surface, people think that all the packages are the same, but you need to do your research on what the differences are,” Harris says.
“Three-dimensional design is now essential, but you also need it to be robust enough to produce drawings and material takeoffs,” Finck adds. “You should also consider something that [can] communicate with a material supplier and other facets of the construction industry.”
Because successful BIM relies on collaboration, make sure the programs are compatible with other software. “If I am creating my drawing with Brand X software and need to share with others, I need to ask, ‘Can they open it, read it and manipulate it?' It's also important to consider legacy drawings. Asking them to go to a different file format from what they've been using could be costly because of the legacy data they have,” Moore says.
BIM for the Win
Change isn't always easy, and changing a process that involves so many people can be even harder. But using BIM ultimately will eliminate human error, jobsite errors, material waste and streamline the entire process. “It's a tremendous change for everyone,” Moore adds. “We moved from pencil to mouse in the ‘80s. This is a new paradigm shift - a new solution that will further elevate the knowledge from CAD, create better drawings, greater accuracy and build a more sustainable structure with fewer resources.”
The amount of digital information in the design and construction process will continue to grow, and those professionals who take advantage of what BIM offers will be successful even in a depressed market. “Times are competitive. The people who aren't paying attention aren't very busy and are struggling,” Harris says. “The people who are staying in tune with the right tools are the ones who are surviving.”
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