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Top Five Need-To-Know BIM Facts From Logan Colbeck At MK Electric

BIM hardhatUnder legislation that came into force last year, the Government now requires construction suppliers tendering for centrally-procured projects to be working at BIM Level 2, to drive out waste in construction and to meet its own target to lower capital costs by 20 per cent.

Whilst this legislation currently only applies to publicly funded projects, the private sector is also increasingly adopting BIM. With this in mind, it is vital that all members of the supply chain get to grips with BIM. Below are our top five need-to-know facts:

BIM is…
Essentially, BIM is a process that removes waste and optimises construction through design and specification collaboration in a virtual environment. Instead of using separate sets of drawings during the design of a building, BIM utilises a software platform to create an accurate digital representation accessible by all relevant parties.

This means that everyone in the supply chain – from architects and M&E consultants through to electricians and facilities managers – are able to see a constantly updated, technically accurate, view of the building design. Consequently, BIM makes projects more efficient, and more likely to be delivered on budget and on time.

There’s a number of BIM platforms to choose from
Whilst the UK government states that all you need to use to comply with level 2 BIM is a COBie spreadsheet run from Excel, the reality is that customers want a visual model. At present, there are still a number of BIM platforms vying for supremacy – think Betamax versus VHS – and nobody really knows which will eventually dominate.

For companies beginning their BIM journey, choosing a platform can feel like a gamble, especially with so many to choose from. However, by looking into what competitors are using, and investigating where key manufacturers are focussing their efforts, you can get an idea of which program best suits your operation.

You’ll need to develop a ‘BIM mindset’
Communication and collaboration are crucial to successfully using BIM. In order to make the most of the technology, it’s important to speak with other members of the supply chain to establish how you’ll be using BIM and to confirm that you’ll be using one master model.

It’s also useful to consider how you can use BIM in conjunction with other tools. For example, in order to bring a sustainable strategy to life, a BIM-based scenario review undertaken in combination with building energy analysis software will allow the client to view the potential savings of green technologies over the entire life of the building.

BIM affects product selection
Once a business is familiar with BIM, it makes sense to maximise that knowledge by selecting products which are available as BIM objects.

This means researching manufacturers before embarking on a project, and choosing a brand with a wide selection of BIM Level 2 models. For example, at MK Electric, many of our catalogue of products have BIM objects available, making life quick and easy for our BIM-ready customers.

BIM is still developing
For those with one eye firmly on the future, Level 3 BIM is the next frontier. As Level 3 is still being formally defined, there is no definitive answer as to what it will bring, but current thinking suggests a single, shared, online project model with construction sequencing (4D), cost (5D) and “in use” data capture (6D), held in a central repository. Sometimes referred to as ‘iBIM’ (integrated BIM) or ‘Open BIM’, this represents the pinnacle of BIM collaboration.

The ‘in use’ data capture element of Level 3 BIM allows users to bring sustainable strategy to life. It offers conceptual and detailed energy use analysis and when used in conjunction with a BIM-based scenario, enabling a view of the potential savings of green technologies not just over the warranty period, but rather the entire life of a building.

 

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