Soumya, an alumnus of IIM, Calcutta is an experienced director with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology, infrastructure planning for the AEC industry
The international definition for Building Information Modeling (BIM) reads ‘digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility which creates a shared knowledge resource for information about it, forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle, from earliest concept to demolition’. The same is defined by the US National Building Information Model Standard Project Committee.
Fundamentally, it is a software driven interface which provides the project delivery team with a 3D virtual visualization of the look & feel of the building to be constructed. The traditional building design was largely reliant on two-dimensional technical drawings (plans, elevations, sections, and others). Building information modeling extends this beyond 3D, augmenting the three primary spatial dimensions (width, height, and depth), including time as the fourth dimension (4D), cost as the fifth (5D), estimation as the sixth (6D) and facility management as seventh (7D).
Large scale infrastructure projects are the need of the hour so as to meet the demand of a vast country like ours. We need large residential complexes, mega malls, multispecialty hospitals, multistoried parking, and hypermarkets. Multi-crore investments are involved in such projects, and errors here also cost in crores. Architectural Engineering Construction (AEC) companies face various challenges while executing these large projects. These projects are executed by a team of professionals – architects, structural engineers, service engineers, and various consultants & contractors who may not necessarily work out of one location. The coordination and collaboration between these teams is very important for the
success of a large complex project. Today, the industry is limited in the way teams work together and shares information i.e. via drawings. Everyone is working as per their own set of drawings, which most of the time, despite all efforts, do not match, as they might lose a link in the entire cycle. Also, these large scale projects have long gestation periods, which sometimes get executed in multiple phases. During the course, team compositions also change. Due to a lot of reworking and redesigning, there is loss of information in the transition.
Hence, a single interface is required to which all parties should have equal ownership. Any additions or alterations to the design would pass through the modeling software for acceptance and integration into the original plans. BIM works as a lifesaver in such cases. Using BIM is beneficial for both the client as well as the construction team. From the perspective of containing risk, BIM has the capacity to minimize errors, as it identifies any potential clash due to incorrect or mis-communicated information at an early stage. Since the design information is more readily accessible, there is a greater degree of quality control over the contract, as the modeling allows the project team to visualize the impact of any amendments in the design. This in-turn allows closer monitoring and cost control. Despite budget constraint, limited manpower, accelerated schedules, and limited or conflicting information, participants in the construction process are constantly challenged to deliver the project successfully. BIM aids in collision detection at the initial stage, identifying the exact location of discrepancies.
BIM has the capacity to minimize errors, as it identifies any potential clash due to incorrect or miscommunicated information at an early stage
Being a consultant in architecture, services, structure, MEP, PMC, and other fields requires different departments to work on the same project. So, coordinating on one platform, i.e. BIM prevents miscommunication and loss of information, and helps in detecting problems from design stage itself. It helps in saving on loss of working hours as well as crores of rupees for the clients. Various teams are working on BIM and successfully delivering projects. Being BIM enthusiasts, we feel that there should be prescribed BIM standards in our country just as it is followed in various countries across the globe. Each country has its own standards depending on its geography. These standards help all disciplines stay coordinated and aid in pre-fabrication and evaluating the combined performance of materials & components.
The only problem with BIM implementation in India is the unavailability of trained manpower and training centers to provide training and handholding. Taking this into account, we have started training programs and training centers to increase the adaptability of BIM. We strongly feel BIM has a great future in our industry.