Is the changing face of construction a kilobyte?

A 3D visual incorporating objects built in Autodisk Revit from the Wienerberger BIM lab.
By Richard Bishop, Category Marketing Manager at Wienerberger

Architects are always being encouraged to utilise new software solutions for their projects and, in doing so, the world of BIM is at their fingertips. Although it is true that, unless you have access to the relevant software packages, there are still a huge number of hurdles for practices to consider before moving into BIM.   The first thing to remember is that the mandate only applies to central government projects, so if your business operates in a sector outside of this scope then clearly rushing into BIM is not necessary. But the practice of using BIM as a project tool will help every practice, the instant paybacks are simple clash detection, the ability to deliver detailed drawings of any part of a design to a contractor without needing to redraw them, defined traceable specifications and ultimately greater support from the manufacturers.   BIM is moving forward at a serious pace with new innovations and directions being taken seemingly each week.  Technology is growing around BIM and opening doors not previously considered at the inception of the movement, digitally built Britain is becoming a reality. Who would have considered that a handheld device could scan and map a room or an object and deliver a detailed drawing to your computer? And yet that’s exactly what cloud technology delivers, offering new methods and uses for contractors seeking to obtain accurate dimensions for a refurbishment.   Imagine being able to see where a component of your model is stocked, what price it will be and who can deliver it to site the quickest. New solutions in programming are likely to allow quantity surveyors and contractors to do just that, but all of these advancements have been supported by improving cloud services, inter relationships between supply chain elements that would previously never speak and a core group of BIM enthusiasts who are seeking to change the face of construction forever.   In essence, technology is helping to break down the adoption barriers between sectors, BIM was seen as a very architectural process by the market, it won’t affect the rest of us and yet its scope of growth and information capability is growing far beyond that required by the architect for the initial phases of design.   Britain is at the very centre of this movement, the government’s decision to mandate BIM delivered unparalleled growth and advancement in a market that traditionally is extremely slow and resistant to change. Could this be as a result of the influence of fast paced technology markets interacting with the construction sector? The construction sector is certainly no longer simply controlled by the designs and choices made by the professionals that work within construction’s shadow, we have new forces at work within our market and they are seemingly able to shape our thoughts and focus our minds as to the capabilities of a fully inter-related market value chain.   With so much information being defined and collated into computer systems and cloud access databases, with technology like drones and hand held scanners becoming relevant to a traditional market more comfortable with a hammer and drill, surely the new face of construction should be represented by the kilobyte, a small piece of data that when combined delivers buildings and projects with less waste, improved scheduling and drastically improved efficiencies and outputs.   On the surface the mere mention of BIM certainly puts many people to sleep, I suspect the real question is will they wake up in time?

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