BIM Project Manager at Solar Group
New technology is empowering everyone involved in a building project to work from the same BIM model that is so smart, it can even order its own items.
By Sean Hargrave
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is not only revolutionising how construction projects are designed, it is also opening up more efficient ways of planning, designing and ordering items, such as piping, wiring, ventilation units and ducting.
At the design and planning stage, the area allocated to each routing product can be deciphered from the BIM model, so any potential conflicts – such as spacing requirements – can be identified early on. This has the obvious benefit of fixing problems around sizing and positioning of items so conflicts can be rectified via a digital platform before work even begins.
Far more efficient than hand drawing
BIM Project Manager at Solar Group, Allan Rasmussen, points out that this is far more efficient than the traditional method of working to drawings. As these are open to interpretation, redundant data and are rarely updated for an entire team to see the latest version.
“If there is a single word to describe what BIM brings, it’s insight,” he says.
“A designer can build in the requirements of the room; such as what it will be used for, by how many people and with what electrical and ventilation needs. This gives a list of requirements for each material used in that room that we, as a sourcing and service company, can then make recommendations for. Solar deliver these requirement objects to close the gap from generic to product-specific objects.”
Items are ordered and shipped to specific timelines
A designer will typically be offered a choice of products based on their requirements from which they can select the most suitable items. They can prioritise by price, appearance or delivery speed. Requirement objects can then be replaced by product-specific objects to represent the final design. When the process is complete, the items are even automatically added to a shopping list that can be ordered at the press of a button.
Due to the whole process being digital, and overlain with a project timeline, the shipment can be timed so products are on site at the right time. This means that everyone involved, including the fitters, can work to the same clear timings.
Inputting real-time changes can save time on project delivery
“Crucially, any alterations are fed into the system so everyone knows about them and the right equipment is shipped to the site on time,” adds Rasmussen. “It’s so much more efficient than having problems arise on site, which can mean new units are required and the whole project is held up.”
Rasmussen also points out how useful BIM is when a building is later refurbished or remodelled because a designer knows what each unit was designed to do and how it was picked according to the requirement data still available. This can prompt a straight replacement or an upgrade or downgrade in specification, depending on how they are to be used in the future.