Building Information Modelling (BIM) projects are increasingly being developed in the architectural, engineering, and construction industries (AEC). According to Allied Market Research, the market size for BIM was estimated to be $5.20 billion in 2019 and is projected to rise to $15.06 billion by 2027.
The main objectives of using BIM software are to improve project performance and to generate better results. It allows professionals from various disciplines to collaborate effectively for optimal performance.
Top Current Trends In BIM
There are several state-of-the-art trends that are shaping the future of BIM projects. Here are some of the most significant trends in BIM.
1. Improved 3D Printing
3D printing technology has various applications ranging from rapid prototyping in professional design companies, small-scale manufacturing by designers or engineers to first field tests in mostly single-storey buildings. There are 3 commonly used 3D Printing technologies, namely Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering or Melting (SLS/SLM) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).
All these technologies are typically based on the additive manufacturing concept. The only differences lie in the type of material or technique used to combine the material.
By using BIM and 3D printing, much less time is wasted on producing various drawings, plans and models. This is because more time is invested in the design using BIM software. BIM software also allows for more customisation and makes the process of creating more complex structures much easier.
With BIM, all geometry and structural elements are first specified and simulated in a digital 3D model. Once approved, the data is transferred directly to the 3D printer. This can help reduce the number of steps in the construction process. Thus, BIM allows you to develop highly accurate designs while minimising material waste and reducing costs.
2. Advanced 3D Laser Scanning
A 3D laser scanner allows you to record various information about a structure, such as its appearance and shape. The scanner then converts this information into data points which you can import into BIM software.
3D laser scanning offers several advantages. It saves time as it records information much faster than people can. Due to its automated data collection, it is not prone to human error (which can often cause delays in projects).
A common application of 3D laser scanning is in drone surveying. This allows you to establish the distance between points, as well as their locations, in 2D and 3D. Drones can rapidly collect data from locations that are not easily accessible to human beings. For example, STRABAG, an Austrian construction company, uses drone surveying for efficient data collection.
3. Rise In Prefabrication
Prefabrication is a process that occurs in two main steps. Components of a structure are first assembled at the manufacturing location. These components or sub-components are then transported to the construction site. Prefabrication reduces construction costs by saving on time, wages, and materials.
BIM software is an integral aspect of prefabrication. For instance, if you have a coordinated BIM model, you can easily prefabricate components that will fit together on the installation site.
BIM generates very detailed models in a fabrication-level 3D file format that can trigger Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) machines directly. These machines then create the components with high precision, accuracy, and quality.
Without BIM, you would need to produce CAM data for the manufacturer. This is an extra step where inaccuracies could occur in the data. Thus, by using BIM, you reduce the risk of prefabricating components that do not fit well during installation.
4. Energy Modelling - Reducing Carbon Footprint and Going Green
BIM projects can assist in decreasing the carbon footprint in the construction industry. BIM software is able to give energy consumption data of a building. You can use this energy data as vital information to make decisions on how to properly manage the energy cycle of the building. Thus, reducing the carbon footprint.
BIM is used in the following stages within the energy cycle:
- Planning and Design phase: You can use BIM software to accurately model buildings and estimate the energy performance. You can conduct various simulations using different design parameters. BIM helps in reducing the gap between the estimated and the actual energy performance in a proactive manner.
- Construction phase: BIM allows you to visualise the construction site. You can plan the construction before any work actually takes place. For example, you can use a 3D BIM model integrated with virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to make construction work more efficient.
- Operation phase: The data environments for digital sensors and smart meters can be linked to the BIM digital model of the building. During the operation phase, this interlinking of data helps enhance the current processes to switch towards a more sustainable approach.
- Management and Maintenance phase: BIM assists in achieving a reduction in the energy consumption during the lifetime of the building. In the near future, BIM models integrated with artificial intelligence can be used to find ways of reusing an existing building. Instead of wasting energy for demolishing a building, a few design changes can be made for refurbishment purposes with the help of BIM.
BIM projects based on energy models are also useful in providing relevant facts to justify the use of green technologies.
5. Advancement In Cloud Computing
People need access to data more than ever before. It is common to hear someone say that they store their data on the ‘cloud’. Cloud computing allows you to store and process data from remote servers on the internet. This is instead of using local servers or personal computers.
The integration of BIM software with the cloud is a very powerful combination. It offers several benefits including real-time updates and easy tracking of the progress of a project.
However, the most important benefit of combining BIM and the cloud lies in the universal access to data and productive collaboration. Unprecedented changes require us to change the way we work. Productive online collaboration is now crucial to allow an organisation to keep on functioning.
BIM projects are evolving in the AEC industries. There are several trends influencing the future of BIM. Some of the top ones to watch out for include the application of BIM in 3D printing, 3D laser scanning, prefabrication, and energy modelling for reducing the carbon footprint. Additionally, the combination of BIM and the cloud for online collaboration is important for organisations.