Effects or Impacts of Building Information Modeling from a Perspective

Building Information Modeling (BIM) as a tool is being used by many professionals today in different sectors. Though many people have been using BIM in their respective work environment, many have been unable to understand the effects or impacts of BIM. It is not uncommon for people to misinterpret these terms. The impact of BIM is the influence of BIM on what you are doing, that is the effect of it. On the other hand, the effect of BIM is the consequences or result gained after using BIM.

Many users of BIM are currently experiencing BIM differently therefore, I will address few of the perspectives where BIM is having influence or result.

Building Information Modeling effects on Design Culture

The transition from other Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools into BIM environment requires education and training. Due to varied level of employee expertise, experience and tenure a provision should be made to consider varied level of design form composition of the firm in order to accomplish the transition efficiently.

A noticeable effect on design culture is on the Human Resource allocation. Traditionally, highly skilled staff is more engaged in the latter process of design and production stage. In contrary to BIM, where more experienced and skilled staff who are versed with knowledge on how to put building elements together are engaged in the early stages of conceptual design with a reduced participation as the project progresses to latter stages. The effect of this approach is the initial high billing rates. In order to address and resolve any concern on the part of those client category who are used to the traditional methods of project implementation he/she needs to be educated on the changes required to redistribute cost/billing prior to implementation of BIM.

Building Information Modeling is transforming the industry and the way of doing business. As a result many new entry level employees are versed with BIM before entering into the job market. As time passes, these new talents will stimulate the design culture of the firm.

The current state of BIM acceptance across the board is relatively poor therefore, making it difficult to share models with firms that are not yet using BIM in its entirety, resulting into reduction in effectiveness of BIM. With development of new talents, design leaders and a shift in architecture, design and allied professions, a new design culture that embraces BIM will emerge.

Building Information Modeling Effects on Project Life-cycle Phase

As many people are already aware of the phases of building project, I will briefly highlight the three main phases as follows:
• Design Phase
• Construction Phase
• Operations Phase which include post occupancy and de-commissioning
Each of the above stages has a BIM stage that is associated with each phase or phases viz:
• Object Based Modelling – single disciplinary model within design, construction or operation.
• Model Based Modelling – between one or two project collaboration life-cycle.
• Network Based Integration – models are created, shared and maintained in all the phases

Building Information Modeling Effects on Project Manager

Emerging and new age Project Manager requires a good command of BIM. In recent years BIM have changed the project management work, procedures, and the way of communication with different parties.

Today’s Project Manager is encouraged to develop a different mindset from their traditional project management practices of construction project when it involves BIM.

One of the important responsibilities of the project Manager at the onset of the project is to incorporate items related to BIM on their contract, how to deal with risks arising from BIM, how to get rid of costs and how to cope with changes in team structure.

Another thing for the Project Manager is the ability to understand the difference between traditional 3D models and BIM generated models. This knowledge will enable him/her explore the function of BIM. With a clear understanding of BIM, the Project Manager can develop BIM information centre as a core delivery point where all Stakeholders and Consultants can have direct access to project information.

It cannot be over-emphasised that project management will move forward with the Project Manager’s increased knowledge in areas of theory and emerging technology.

Building Information Modeling Effects on Personnel

BIM cannot be efficient without the contribution of people supporting BIM within the organization. These people fall into the following categories:
• Consultants – independent Consultants usually are external to the firm.
• Personnel within the working group – these are people involved in the day to day use of BIM.
• Separate BIM implementation Team – a dedicated team solely responsible for BIM implementation.
As seen in most firms with in-house CAD expert or support personnel, the same should be true for firms using BIM. These firms are encouraged to dedicate a staff as a BIM expert, a person who is skilled and highly motivated to guide the organization in the improvement of their processes.

Apart from the above mentioned sources of support, the management has important role to play in creating BIM Sponsor or Committee at the management level to encourage BIM implementation with a view to promote BIM and manage BIM planning team.

Without adequate and systemic education and training of personnel, less can be achieved with BIM. Employees’ BIM education is an internal or external formal instruction and resources available to them. Training on the other hand is a process of becoming proficient in a task, usually based on categories of staff according to their need.

Building Information Modeling Effects on Construction Law

Though the construction industry have recognized BIM through proactive adaptation, construction law have not been able to respond adequately and to cope with the fast pace of technological advancement. One of the challenges facing the construction industry, insurance companies is how to handle dispute when errors occur on projects fully completed with BIM.

The American Institute of Architects incorporated, AIA E202-2008, Building Information Modeling Protocol Exhibit, into their design and construction industry form as a sign of acknowledging these challenges and provides resources to approach BIM projects from legal point of view.

Building Information Modeling Impacts on the Accuracy of Construction Estimates

The ability to predict cost of construction project is an essential construction management skill. Usually, the client will ask the Architect or Designer various questions at the project conceptual stage, among these is a question relating to the cost of the project when in fact they mean to ask about construction cost. In an effort to answer this type of question, the Architect or Designer normally employ the ballpark estimating otherwise known as Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimating technique.

This process is far less accurate and resides in the range of 50% ± from the actual construction cost at completion. With BIM, the building systems and other information about the construction of the building such as materials, methods, schedules, costs and processes can be determined early in the design process, hence BIM can generate a more accurate estimate for clients use.

A study conducted at the California State University by estimating construction management students, reveal that using BIM in estimating had a positive effect on the completion time of Quantity Take-Offs (QTO) and faster time achieving these results was experienced.

It was conferred from this study that using BIM as an estimating tool helps the students in interpreting and understanding the plan (model) accurately and better. Similarly, construction industry has witnessed an increase in accuracy that BIM brought to the bidding process. The concept of accuracy and precision are often used in estimating therefore these terms will be defined thus; Accuracy is how far the estimated value is from the actual value while precision is the degree or level of refinement of the estimate.

A precise estimate may not necessarily be accurate if the estimate is based on systematic error. A systematic error is when the data on which the model is created is faulty or erroneous. Because accuracy of estimates is very crucial to the Contractor, therefore the Designer/Architect who is not concerned with accuracy of estimates is encouraged to produce correct data in their models.

Generally, BIM made estimating more sensitive to design variations in the building or project form.

Building Information Modeling Effects on Construction site Productivity

Construction firms have indicated increased productivity as a result of using BIM in the following areas:
• Request for information (RFI) reduction.
• Amount of work reduction.
• Schedule compliance.
• Reduction in change orders.

Every construction project is associated with cost and cost effective projects are successful projects. It has been reported that BIM resulted in overall effect of cost savings to the Owner and time management savings to the Contractor. Above all, most Contractors admitted that one of the significant factors contributing to savings is a clash detection capability of BIM, which eliminates conflicts on construction site.


Olajide Ageh