Like many industries, architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) has evolved over the years to keep pace with technological advances. In the last several years, people working in AEC have gradually let go of working with computer aided design (CAD) and embraced everything that building information modeling (BIM) offers.
BIM already allows AEC workers to design, build, and construct a large array of projects. However, the future of building is even more exciting, as BIM will enable the use of generative design. Algorithms in BIM software enable project planners to create designs based on specific constraints of the projects such as structural integrity of the building, its thermal performance, and the number of daylight hours available.
Residential Construction Contractors Slow to Adopt BIM
While architects and engineers have embraced BIM, those in the construction industry have not shown as much enthusiasm about using it. This is especially true of contractors in residential construction. Until now, this hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing. After all, architects and engineers were the ones to create foundations and three-dimensional models that contractors would eventually use.
BIM has dramatically cut project costs and completion times across the board. As exciting as that it, the program’s greatest potential lies in its use during the building phase of a project. For builders to realize its benefits, they must be willing to do the following:
- Embrace the principal of collaboration, starting with the core of project management and continuing to relationship management of subcontractors and clients.
- Fully integrate the 3D model into construction program plans as well as the practices of project management. This will enable 4D planning in the future.
BIM Helps to Avoid Duplication and Errors
AEC industry workers who plan to use BIM for a project should do so from the start. This forces resolution of design issues much earlier in the process, which prevents contractors from having to resolve these same issues at the site. Introducing BIM in the mid to late stages of a project creates a wasteful duplication of effort. It’s also important to follow the standard industry procedure to avoid confusion that leads to delays, disputes, and higher costs.
Marketing and Visualization Benefits of BIM for the Residential Construction Trade
It’s hard for a prospective homeowner to visualize what his or her home might look like before it’s built. BIM gives contractors a huge marketing advantage because it allows them to create several forms of realistic visuals. The most common ones include animated walk-through, isometric view, simple elevation, and a complete virtual reality experience.
BIM also makes it possible for contractors to show where the future home will reside and how it will appear next to neighboring houses. This is an important benefit for residential contractors working in an existing neighborhood because clients naturally want to know how their home will fit into those that already exist. When contractors consider these benefits along with the time and cost savings, they should feel more open to replacing CAD with BIM for good.