Information Modeling and Project Cost Management

Abstract

The given paper delves into the peculiarities of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and its integration with the Project Cost Management. The wide implementation of the given technique results in the emergence of new management methods that include the use of innovative technologies along with specific modeling to create an appropriate strategy and guarantee a projects successful development. At the same time, numerous concerns related to cost saving practices and procedures peculiar to the modern sphere of management stipulate the increased topicality of the issue. In this regard, the paper aims at the comprehensive investigation of the correlation between BIM and project cost management, effects BIM has on it, risks that might be associated with the integration o BIM into the project and potential areas that could be improved using this tool. At the end of the paper, conclusion summarizing all basic assumptions and information is given.

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Introduction

Today, we could see the tendency towards the increased importance of the efficient management that includes the final success of diverse projects and cost-saving practices. However, the increased complexity of processes peculiar to the modern society and sophisticated financial relations between multiple agents precondition the emergence of numerous challenges that might deteriorate final results and give rise to diverse concerns related to outcomes. For this reason, managers try to implement new tools in their functioning and integrate them with their approaches. Nevertheless, project cost management (PCM) could be determined as a method that explores technology to assess and measure cost and productivity during different stages of a particular project with the primary aim to minimize spending and use funds efficiently (Chien, Wu & Huang 2014). Besides, PCM encompasses a wide variety of potent tools that provide managers with an opportunity to evaluate peculiarities of diverse projects and how they can be improved to ensure positive outcomes. BIM also belongs to these tools.

Brief About BIM & Cost Management

The need to minimize the costs of building construction has motivated researchers to develop new ideas over the past years. Engineers, architects, and project managers strive to save resources, time, and money without compromising the quality of their work. Building Information Modeling (BIM) refers to the technology which was developed to enable construction project managers to share and use virtual and simulated information. As such, it becomes possible for the managers to estimate the costs and time that would be required to complete a specific building. In other words, BIM is a construction technique that enables various users or stakeholders to utilize a multi-dimensional parametric prototype throughout the lifecycle of projects. Modifications may be made to the simulations depending on the corrections or alterations that the constructors would desire to make. The technology has been used for several years in different regions around the globe. Construction project managers use the BIM in management because the technology promotes efficiency in the process of cost management. By the statistics, the implementation of BIM into management activities stipulates the reduction of costs and that is achieved due to the better understanding of the basic features of different projects and their interdependence (Chien, Wu & Huang 2014). In such a way, the correlation between BIM and PCM becomes apparent. In this regard, the paper is devoted to the comprehensive investigation of these two issues and how they interact to attain more efficient cost-saving practices.

Content

Effects of BIM on Cost Management

Various studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of BIM on cost management. According to Li et al. (2014), building construction is a process which consumes large volumes of resources. Therefore, BIM was introduced to help in waste minimization and reduction of the materials used. According to the study, the technology has been effective in cost management. For instance, the model leads to the reduction of wastes and optimization of designs. Also, Diaz (2016) complements the claims by asserting that BIM is advantageous to businesses and construction managers since it reduces the costs of building and maintenance. Besides, the framework saves time and improves the productivity of different workers. Therefore, it is reasonable to claim that managers who implement the technology save time and resources through minimization of wastages.

It is also important to note that BIM encourages organization and coordination when handling big and complex projects. According to Bryde, Broquetas, and Volm (2013), BIM ensures that the project partners who are involved in projects share information and work collaboratively throughout the lifecycle of the projects. As such, they optimize the available resources to minimize wastages. Furthermore, the research established that BIM, together with other project management frameworks boosts effective communication, thus promoting efficiency throughout the process. Therefore, it is reasonable to deduce that BIM reduces costs of construction by improving organization, coordination, and teamwork.

Moreover, BIM requires project managers to incorporate multidisciplinary sustainability methods in building designs. Azhar and Brown (2009) claim that the residential and commercial houses in the United States of America consume about 70% of electricity in the country. Also, the research claims that the same buildings take almost 12% of fresh and clean water, and 40% of materials. Notably, BIM may reduce the consumptions due by enabling sustainable development to take place in the construction industry (Azhar & Brown 2009). Based on the findings of the survey, implementation of BIM may improve cost management both during the construction and after completion.

Furthermore, BIM has streamlined cost management in the construction industry. According to Sunil, Pathirage, and Underwood (2015), cost management involves planning, regulation, estimations, and sharing all the information regarding costs. The authors assert that all costs must be included from the beginning to the end of the project. Noteworthy, the introduction of BIM made it possible for project managers to integrate all the processes that are involved in cost management. BIM allows various stakeholders to collaborate, while utilizing multidimensional plans and information models with the objective of managing all the costs. Therefore, the technology has modernized the procedures of cost management.

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Notably, implementation of BIM approach reduces the amount of time taken to complete projects. As such, the cost of construction is cut considerably. Tomek and Matějka (2014) claim that the time management is the biggest benefit that companies may enjoy if they implement the BIM technology. Effective communication and collaboration of personnel ensure that time is saved, thus facilitating cost management. Even though BIM may have a few disadvantages, the available literature reveals that the technology has influenced cost management positively. It is for this particular reason the policymakers in the United Kingdom have been advocating for the adoption of the program by every construction company. The government argues that the use of such technology will promote sustainable development, characterized by conservation of energy and natural resources (Eadie et al. 2013).

Effect of Risk on BIM and Cost Management

Construction projects are increasingly becoming complex and bigger than before, thus boosting the risks. According to Chien, Wu, and Huang (2014), BIM approach has been used in some of the biggest projects in the past. However, the high risks that are involved in the management of mega projects may compel managers to integrate other models. Notably, a risk may affect the entire process of cost management, thus making it difficult or project managers to use their simulations. It is for this reason that researchers are still striving to develop solutions for cost management despite the fact that BIM has been effective over the years. Different risk factors affect both BIM and cost management due to difficulties in predicting the outcome of some complex projects. Therefore, it is important for project managers and other stakeholders to use appropriate and effective risk management tools to identify all the probable threats before embarking on the process of construction (Chien, Wu & Huang 2014).

Additionally, risk management experts may fail to detect all the possible threats before the implementation of plans by project managers. The use of 2D simulations and drawings cannot help the risk managers to project and identify certain risks. Therefore, they may need to rely on the 3D models that BIM use. In this case, the BIM is more effective than the traditional methods (Ding et al. 2016). Besides, BIM was designed to identify risks. After identification of risks, construction project managers may be required to make significant changes in order to eliminate the threats, and to ensure safety. Therefore, risks may determine the decisions that the construction managers make during cost management. Also, the threats may lead to increment in the costs of constructions as a result of modifications (Ding et al. 2016). Succinctly, risks may affect both cost management and the BIM model negatively.

While designing and developing new projects, construction project managers always prioritize safety. It is, therefore, essential for them to have prior knowledge regarding the consequences that might confront them during and after completion of the work. BIM is one of the technologies that enable the builders to predict various occurrence. As such, the program may be used to assess risk and make appropriate alterations to enhance safety measures. The need for safety may force those using BIM for risk and safety management to incur additional charges due to modifications (Ding et al. 2016).

Notably, there is a strong link between risk and costs as a far as construction is concerned. Projects which involve high risks are usually more expensive to design, construct, and to maintain. Also, complex buildings may require additional and advanced technologies. In this particular case, the BIM programs may become ineffective in cost estimation and management. Ding et al. (2016) acknowledge that there is need for construction project managers to use additional applications and models in risk analysis and management, since BIM may fail due to high risks. Succinctly, risk factors may complicate the processes of cost management.

How BIM Can Improve Efficiency and Cost Savings in Project

One of the primary causes for the massive use of BIM in diverse projects is its contribution to the enhanced efficiency of projects and better cost-saving practices. Thus, one of the ways in which the improved performance is achieved is the transformation of visualization into reality (Chien, Wu & Huang 2014). Using BIM and technologies, managers can convert visuals into real objects and efficiently correlate diverse aspects within a particular project (Bryde, Broquetas & Volm 2013). In such a way, adhering to this methodology, all members of a team working regarding the same project, can communicate constructability and design of all elements and incorporate them into one single structure (Mesároš & Mandičák 2017). This method helps to avoid poor mistakes because of the use of unfeasible approaches to design and increase the efficiency of all processes because of the better understanding of their nature and final goal.

Additionally, BMI turns out to be a fundamental aspect of the improvement of cost savings in different projects. First, it provides managers with an opportunity to engage in the efficient cooperation and create more efficient strategies. Considering multiple stages of projects and their basic peculiarities, specialists improve their planning activities by using enhanced forecasting and collaboration. It is one of the central components of the efficient PCM as it means that terms of the project will also be reduced with no delays or other problematic issues (Bryde, Broquetas & Volm 2013). The fact is that BMI offers a wide array of forecasting opportunities for project managers as they can determine the way different elements of the structure will interact with each other and what alterations might be observed (Diaz 2016). At the same time, the ability to consider these aspects result in better quality management and control. Innovative technologies and mobile technologies used in terms of BIM minimize the probability of mistake and unpredicted complications.

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In such a way, these aspects of BMI should be considered central in establishing the innovative environment characterized by better cost-saving practices. First, elimination of unexpected problems results in the reduction of costs needed to mitigate their negative impact. Second, the improved forecasting ability provides managers with an opportunity to distribute funds more efficiently and attain better control over diverse processes within the project (Diaz 2016). Third, better planning and strategy mean faster project delivery and achievement of all basic goals which has the positive impact on costs and provides managers with an opportunity to attain reduction of unnecessary spending. In such a way, the use of BMI within diverse projects becomes critical as it helps to improve efficiency and cost savings significantly.

The Importance of Integrating Cost Management with Building Information Modeling (BIM)

As it has already been stated, BIM is considered a potent approach that uses the most innovative information technologies and provides managers and other specialists engaged in the project with an opportunity to become involved in a collaboration characterized by the use of visualization and other specific components (Diaz 2016). In such a way, numerous researchers admit the enhanced necessity to integrate the cost management with BIM with the primary aim to attain better results and contribute to the enhanced performance (Sunil, Pathirage & Underwood 2015). Thus, the importance of this integration is justified by several factors and benefits that could be observed regarding BIM. First, it offers specific technological support to managers that include 3D models, information about the interaction between different elements, etc. It becomes significant for the improved data processing and transfer within the project. Second, BMI-based cost-reducing practices can help to attain a decrease in spending and improve cost reliability (Sunil, Pathirage & Underwood 2015). It means that the integration of the approach into the real-life conditions will result in much better outcomes regarding the planned spending and results. Additionally, using BIM models in their planning and other activities, managers will be able to engage in more efficient risk management because of the decreased time needed to generate an alternative strategy and shift priorities (Sunil, Pathirage & Underwood 2015).

In other words, managers become more flexible in their decisions and can use diverse approaches to ensure positive results. Another benefit preconditioned by the use of BIM is the enhanced knowledge about basic aspects of a project and its possible duration (Sunil, Pathirage & Underwood 2015). Possessing this sort of data, managers will be able to distribute costs more efficiently and guarantee positive outcomes. Therefore, the latest research in the area of cost management indicates that there is a particular lack of coordination between all individuals involved in the project and isolation that come from the absence of a specific platform needed for the enhanced cooperation (Sunil, Pathirage & Underwood 2015). Thus, BIM offers a solution to these issues by impacting cost management decisions and stimulating collaborative behaviors by coordinating 3d design and visual models (Sunil, Pathirage & Underwood 2015). In such a way, the integration of cost management with BIM acquires the top priority as it guarantees the emergence of diverse benefits that come from the enhanced data, information sharing, and collaboration. The modern cost management should be associated with BIM because of numerous opportunities for practical use and outstanding final results.

Conclusion

Altogether, BIM is one of the most potent and promising tools used by managers to attain improved outcomes. Being a technology that was created to provide construction project managers with an opportunity to share and use virtual and simulated information it has numerous benefits that precondition the further use of the given tool within the sphere. BIM improves a financial aspect of management by suggesting more accurate data about projects and their basic features. Additionally, the need for the integration of BIM with the cost management is evidenced by numerous research papers that reveal advantages of this process. The benefits include better knowledge, improved cooperation, reduction in terms, enhanced risk strategies, etc. For this reason, managers should be ready to implement BIM into their functioning with the primary aim to attain better results, reduce spending and create the working environment characterized by better cooperation and communication practices. It could be achieved only using BIM and its further integration with different activities.

Reference List

Azhar, S & Brown, J 2009, ‘BIM for sustainability analyses’, International Journal of Construction Education and Research, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 276-292.

Bryde, D, Broquetas, M & Volm, J 2013, ‘The project benefits of building information modelling (BIM)’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 31, no. 7, pp. 971-980.

Chien, K, Wu, Z & Huang, S 2014, ‘Identifying and assessing critical risk factors for BIM projects: empirical study’, Automation in Construction, vol. 45, pp. 1-15.

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Diaz, P 2016, ‘Analysis of benefits, advantages and challenges of building information modelling in construction industry’, Journal of Advances in Civil Engineering, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 1-11.

Ding, L, Zhong, B, Wu, S & Luo, H 2016, ‘Construction risk knowledge management in BIM using ontology and semantic web technology’, Safety Science, vol. 87, pp. 202-213.

Eadie, R, Browne, M, Odeyinka, H, McKeown, C & McNiff, S 2013, ‘BIM implementation throughout the UK construction project lifecycle: an analysis’, Automation in Construction, vol. 36, pp. 145-151.

Li, J, Hou, L, Wang, X, Wang, J, Guo, J, Zhang, S & Jiao, Y 2014, ‘A project-based quantification of BIM benefits’, International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems, vol. 11, no. 8, p. 123.

Mesároš, P & Mandičák, T 2017, ‘Exploitation and benefits of BIM in construction project management’, IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering, vol. 245, no. 6, Web.

Sunil, K, Pathirage, C & Underwood, J 2015, The importance of integrating cost management with building information modeling (BIM), Web.

Tomek, A & Matějka, P 2014, ‘The impact of BIM on risk management as an argument for its implementation in a construction company’, Procedia Engineering, vol. 85, pp. 501-509.

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