In 2023, architects and engineers can construct a building even before a shovel hits the ground.
Building design and construction have come a long way from the days of paper blueprints. Computer-aided design (CAD) brought architecture into the digital age, offering an easier way to create, update, and distribute designs. Now, the field has a new technological frontier: Building Information Modeling (BIM).
Incorporating extensive and multidisciplinary data with machine learning and artificial intelligence, BIM enables architects and engineers to visualize a project in 3D and evaluate key data points across its lifecycle. Additionally, using software like cove.tool’s analysis.tool, for example, designers can assess and optimize factors like embodied carbon, energy use, and cost of materials. Suppose these metrics don’t meet specific goals. In that case, they can quickly make adjustments, rerun the analysis and repeat that process until the whole team is satisfied without incurring additional costs.
Buildings are investments, and usually sound ones. Incorporating BIM into a project only sweetens that deal for stakeholders. AEC teams can create new prototypes in minutes, identify and address issues like faulty HVAC design or excessive energy use long before construction begins, and rapidly share updates. Long story short, BIM can save firms a lot of money.
There’s more to the story, too. Embracing BIM can help AEC firms make necessary culture changes to improve transparency and appeal to tech-minded young professionals entering the field.
BETTER DATA, STRONGER TEAMS
One thing many of us in the building design and construction industry are eager to change is the lack of transparency—a culture of gatekeeping information rather than sharing it. It may be profitable for some to keep data tightly guarded, but our projects suffer when others are kept out of the loop.
As the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic proved, external factors can affect the building process in unpredictable ways, making usable data more critical than ever. Take an impacted supply chain cutting off access to an important material. When key players lack information about how that material will be used or how much it will cost, they’re forced to make decisions blindly. That isn’t cheap—one study from Autodesk and FMI estimated that inaccurate, inaccessible or untimely data cost the U.S. construction industry up to $1.8 billion in 2020.
BIM can change that. Every team member can see the same thing at the same time and easily access specific parts of the project, helping them function cohesively and reducing the potential for error due to inefficient communication.
Utilizing the latest technology is also critical for firms looking to ensure longevity and attract the next generation of AEC professionals. Younger architects and engineers are eagerly adopting BIM and welcoming the myriad benefits of a data-driven approach. BIM makes their jobs easier, allows them to better serve clients and saves time, money, and resources.
For firms that want to be on the cutting edge of building design and construction, it’s time to get down with data and embrace BIM.
About the Author:
Patricia Kusumadjaja, CEP, Assoc. AIA, is the virtual design and construction director at cove.tools, a leading provider of building design and construction software. She has more than 8 years of experience working in the AEC industry, namely in architectural cost estimating, VDC, and project delivery. She strives to make a difference in the way owners, construction and architectural professionals view high-performance design, with the hope that sustainability and environmental consciousness becomes a non-negotiable priority in all future building design and construction.
Modern Contractor Solutions, February 2023
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