Statement of Research Aims
Building Information Management is one of the latest technologies that have been developed in the construction industry. With this latest development, managers in the construction industry are faced with different issues that require their attention. Although BIM is advantageous in the construction industry, it also poses challenges to managers in implementing the concept. The following are the aims of carrying out this research.
- To find out the importance of BIM in the construction industry.
- To find out how BIM changes the operations in the construction industry
- To examine the challenges faced by managers who use BIM in their organizations.
- To analyze issues related to BIM implementation in the construction industry
A lot of literature has been written in the field of business information management. As a result, there are different written sources of information related to the concept. In conducting this research, the chief method used in the research is reading the existing literature related to the field. Different books and journals provide insightful information regarding the use of BIM in the construction industry.
Building information management abbreviated as BIM is the representation of the observable qualities of a facility that can be used to perform different tasks. It is therefore important in providing crucial information on facilities from the design stages throughout their life cycle. BIM encourages different stakeholders in the construction industry to come together and share ideas and their expertise during the development of different facilities.
The most important function of BIM is to ensure that the need to re-format or gather information again is eliminated. The standards set for BIM are aimed at achieving different goals but the most important one is increasing the efficiency of business operations. The operations are improved by ensuring that collecting and using information concerning facilities is made a priority for managers.
Since BIM is a new technology, its use poses some challenges to managers that must be dealt with. For instance, BIM systems require additional training for managers in order to equip them with the required skills to use them. The additional training has cost implications for business organizations. There are also various issues that managers must address in implementing the BIM concept. For example, managers must address issues of design fabrication integration and overlapping design and procurement. However, all the issues emerging from the BIM concept are worth addressing because it is beneficial in the construction industry.
Business Information Management is an area in the construction industry that is under intensive development. It is believed that in the near future, BIM will be one of the commonly used technologies in construction. It focuses on coming up with information based on models with little concern of how the information is utilized once it has been made available. BIM aims at making the process of producing documents more convenient (Wilkinson, 2005). With BIM technology, it is easy to process information at the point of reception without much involvement of human beings (Smith, 2008). This is made possible by designing and storing information in digital form. Digital storage of information eliminates some of the challenges associated with traditional methods of handling information. This research paper looks at the importance of BIM in construction and issues managers face when using BIM in their business organizations (Hardin, 2009).
Importance of BIM in the Construction Industry
Since the introduction of business information management, the concept has gained popularity and widespread use in the construction industry. It is agreeable that with the current technological trends, BIM is the most appropriate concept to embrace in the construction industry. It has the capacity of transforming the workplace by improving productivity and project management mechanisms. The concept of BIM has attained widespread use in areas of building construction and management of facilities. It is beneficial since it saves time and money, raises productivity levels, and makes it possible for the design of detailed structures. BIM reduces construction costs by detecting design errors in good time hence eliminating the need of redoing the work that had been done.
Challenges Managers face in Using BIM
Managers who use BIM in the construction industry are faced with many challenges. The first challenge that these managers face is the level of knowledge required in the use of BIM systems. As beginners, it is not easy for managers to learn the concepts applied in BIM. Learning some of the tools of BIM such as floor openings, foundations, and stairs is a complicated process that is not easily understood. When managers are supposed to use some of the parameters such as the edit assembly option, they experience problems using it since it displays detailed information that requires technical knowledge in the construction industry. BIM also poses a challenge to the managers when it comes to making decisions concerning building components in the early stages of development (Suermann, 2007).
Another challenge that managers who use BIM in their organizations face is the speed of BIM software. Research has shown that BIM software memory operates in a way that slows down the design process. The use of BIM software requires that all other programs be closed for the software to function effectively. File structures used by BIM also bring issues when it comes to its use by slowing down the progress of work. As compared to the file structures used in CAD, file structures in BIM are more important. With CAD, different firms have different structures with no fixed way of arranging files (BIM Outsourcing, n.d).
BIM also poses a challenge to managers since it is not flexible and often exhibits problems that arise from the users. The families have to be set using a specific method hence making it complicated to use. It is also attributed to bugs that add up to the delay. For instance, it is possible for the software to indicate circuit and load details but the model changes suddenly. Managers also face another problem when using BIM due to its unsuitability in designing large-scale projects. In addition, it is not suitable for small projects and this adds to the challenges managers face in its usage (Hardin, 2009).
Another challenge that managers face when using BIM is that it requires additional training for them to be familiar with its usage. When they have to be trained on how to use the software, this brings additional software costs as well as obtaining the license for using the systems. The BIM software also requires special upgrading for it to be used purposefully. The need to upgrade the computers makes the use of the system expensive for managers to implement effectively.
BIM systems also pose a challenge to managers in that they can cause disruption in the design procedure. The disruption in construction occurs for example when managers want to order items that take longer lead time. Managers at times may want to make orders for things that take weeks or even months for the ordering process to be complete. Such materials may take a long period of time due to the specific dimensions required in the design (Hardin, 2009).
Legal Considerations of BIM
The use of Business information management usually changes the relations that exist between managers and contractors. This might have the impact of putting the contractors at risk for failure to comply with the law. In the past, managers were not mandated to involve themselves in the design and had to comply with what designers provided. In many legal systems, managers are given the privilege of taking legal actions against the designers if there are errors in the drawings. BIM allows managers to take part in the process of design hence giving them the privilege of filing suits against designers. Since BIM has not been in use for a long period of time, it has not had many issues relating to errors done in design projects.
Issues of BIM that Managers have to Deal With
Design Fabrication Integration
The evolution of BIM in the construction industry brings about many issues that managers have to address in the course of their work. The first issue that managers who use BIM in their organizations have to address is designed fabrication integration. For the design model prepared by the architect to resemble the real construction model used in assembling, the need for repeated drawing and modeling using steel and concrete is eliminated. For this to take place, managers have to ensure that the most important aspects of the fabrication process are included in the design in good time to avoid unnecessary revision. This timely intervention is regarded as an important constituent of integration and facilitates working relations. Such relations are very important and the managers involved with BIM in construction are important in facilitating the relations (Suermann, 2007).
Another issue of BIM which is important to the managers is performance-based design. The managers are required to consult with architects in analyzing operations taking place in certain facilities to provide the owners with information concerning the financial implications involved in the operations. The managers in organizations using BIM have an obligation of ensuring that there is a constant exchange of information within departments in a firm. The managers are also supposed to ensure that the teams involved in design come up with the total costs of the design process since this is a requirement for design procedures (Azhar, 2010).
Overlapping Design and Procurement
According to Hardin (2009) managers have to deal with issues of overlapping design and procurement in BIM use. Some projects involve the use of extended lead times making it important to initiate fabrication of some parts before the design is completed. The managers are faced with the challenge of ensuring excellent coordination in such situations to guarantee success in design processes. These changes do not take place within a short period of time but require close associations with various parts of the construction industry.
Fabricators, architects, and contractors are supposed to come up with ways of addressing the new practices. It is the obligation of managers to organize all these groups for the attainment of the desired results (Hardin, 2009). The managers lead their teams in determining whether the set BIM standards are met during the development process. The standards are used to make plans on how projects should be undertaken when negotiations on contract issues are ongoing
Another issue that managers have to deal with is project repositories. With increased technology and tremendous growth in model information, there is increased need for model repositories to manage the transfer of data that supports them. It is expected that server technologies will provide a shift from server capabilities that rely on firms into capabilities that are based on the web. Implementing such capabilities is the sole responsibility of managers in the construction industry.
Business information management is a recent concept which has proved to be indispensable in the construction industry. It is beneficial in integrating information in the design processes and monitoring the life cycles of facilities from the time design starts till it is completed. Most business organizations have realized the importance of using BIM and are currently implementing it in their business organizations. However, use of BIM in business organizations poses some challenges to managers during their implementation processes. It also raises various issues that managers must deal with in order to make the processes work. Despite the issues that managers have to address, it is nevertheless important to employ BIM concept in the construction industry because of the changes it brings.
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Smith, D. (2008). Building Information Modeling. Web.
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Wilkinson, P. (2005). Construction collaboration technologies: the extranet evolution. New York: Taylor & Francis.