Building up BIM in Construction

October 22, 2013

BIM (building information modeling) isn’t necessarily a new phrase in construction, but it is one that is evolving. Once primarily associated with sharing data related to the model, the process now incorporates more team members, additional processes, and even involves pushing the model to the jobsite.

Barton Malow Co., www.bartonmalow.com, Southfield, Mich., for example, used 2D drawings to design its projects until 2008. At that time the company began using BIM on its projects. After seeing initial benefits, the contracting company knew it wanted to take BIM to the next level.

The next level for Barton Malow was cast-in-place concrete, in order to offer more capabilities in re-steel and concrete detailing. Following a trial of the technology, the construction company decided on Tekla Structures from Tekla, www.tekla.com, a part of Trimble Building Groups, buildings.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif.

After putting the technology in place, Barton Malow discovered this particular technology resulted in an efficiency gain upwards of 15%.

Every construction company is different, as far as where BIM can help improve process efficiencies. For Barton Malow, it was cast-in-place concrete. As construction companies begin to determine how BIM can play a bigger role on construction projects, technology providers are coming to market with new solutions.

Case in point: 4Projects, www.4projects.com, a Viewpoint Construction Software Co., www.viewpointcs.com, Portland, Ore., announced last week an enhanced 4Projects release, as well as the initial launch of 4BIM.

The new release of 4Projects, a cloud-based collaboration solution for project stakeholders and construction teams, has an updated interface and enhancements for workflow and collaborative forms.

The new 4BIM release gives users the ability to view and collaborate on BIM models through an IFC (Industry Foundation Classes) viewer. With the software, contractors are also able to edit and export COBie (Construction Operations Building Information Exchange) data from IFC models.

One of the big benefits of the technology, according to the company, is the fact it only requires a browser, making it easily accessible throughout the supply chain. This technology will give project teams the ability to share modeling data throughout the construction lifecycle.

While collaboration is a big component of the BIM process, another is being able to access that data remotely on mobile devices.

Last week, GRAPHISOFT, www.graphisoft.com, a part of the Nemetschek Group, www.nemetschek.com, Munich, Germany, announced the next generation of its BIMx app, available in Apple’s App Store. The new BIMx Docs function pack allows access to BIM projects containing 2D documentation, as well as the 3D model, giving users the ability to interact with additional BIM data on mobile devices.

Additionally, last week, Nemetschek Vectorworks, www.vectorworks.net, also a wholly owned subsidiary of Nemetschek Group, announced Vectorworks Nomad 2.5, which includes integration with Dropbox, meaning contractors can access Dropbox files from within Vectorworks Nomad. With this mobile application, users can also process VWX files and generate PDFs, as well as gather precise measurement of distances, angles, perimeters, and areas.

BIM is more than just a model. Construction companies are quickly discovering the data can be used to help improve a number of processes—at the office and out in the field.