Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsI think the first challenge really is about change management of people not really wanting to change which has been quite hard to drive in the industry. The other ones I think are digital or BIM itself was really oversold in the early days so people who were worried about losing their jobs because digitisation would come along and people had been told we don’t need Design Managers anymore or we don’t need estimators anymore because the model can do it. There is also a lack of client drive to deliver BIM on projects. Clients need to have an understanding of what BIM is and what BIM level two for example, can offer.

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 secondsThey also need to have an understanding of the process and the complexity in order to set out requirements to the supply chain clearly and early in the process. So for SMEs the first and foremost thing is you have got to invest in it, you’ve got to have the hardware and you’ve got to have the training to get people up to speed. So getting the actual hardware, software and training in place is a cost but then that gets the benefit of having that work flowing your way once it's done. We see the biggest opportunity as being BIM as a fantastic design tool which we can use for getting a better set of drawings for us to use on site.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 secondsWe can also use it as a tool for rehearsing the build process. Building it virtually once in that virtual world, resolving all those risks in that virtual space before they come to site to become an issue later on. So we can take the model, link it to our construction programme, go through the build sequence task by task talk about all the dependencies, talk about the health and safety issues that are associated with those tasks and all the other sequencing activities that need to go on. So we can better plan the process from start to finish.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 secondsSo building information modelling you can get two flavours, one is from new build design and two is retrofit refurbishment designs which is where Seven Partnership comes in. The generic benefits of that process are collaboration, getting the whole team round working on one data set, lack of clash in building, so the structural steelwork doesn’t clash with the architectural design. You’ve then got the efficiency of building the project and then looking at around about 20% cost saving from design through to build, and then you’ve got the benefits of facilities management going forwards to take energy modelling and predictability of use through to the facilities management and absolute managing that building for its lifecycle.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 secondsKey opportunities of BIM implementation for our client is essentially the information model received at the end of a job which helps us plan our facilities and space more efficiently.

Challenges and opportunities for BIM implementation

Building Information Modelling (BIM) opportunities previously mentioned BIM dimensions starting from 3D, 4D up to 7D.

These dimensions enable the whole lifecycle project team to improve their working practice on the project. They would reduce errors, provide better visualisation, provide a platform to be used for more effective decision-making through all project phases from design conception to facility management and demolition phase.

In regard to challenges, some include:

  • Investments in new software and hardware
  • The training and learning process (including practice period)
  • Lack of interest or demand by the client
  • Accepting the collaborative nature of BIM practice and sharing the information within the wider project team
  • Involving the supply chain in the process
  • Defining and implementing data, security and ownership requirements and integrating data and different models together, due to interoperability issues.

The opportunities of BIM include:

  • Improving certainty about the construction timeline and budget
  • Better design, both structurally and more efficient in terms of energy performance
  • Managing clients’ expectations in a more efficient way
  • More efficient information management and communication
  • Better site management, health and safety and risk management of the project

While this is a general list for the UK industry, not all companies and professionals have the same opportunities and challenges.

BIM is generally an opportunity for an improved practice both for Architecture Engineering and Construction (AEC) professionals and clients. However, each party needs to determine their own strengths, opportunities, threats and weakness to decide how to use BIM for their own needs.

Your task

Share your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What challenges exist for BIM implementation in the AEC industry for a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)?

  • What opportunities exist for BIM implementation in the AEC industry for an SME?

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This video is from the free online course:

BIM Implementation within the AEC Industry

Coventry University