Building better with Building Information Modelling (BIM)
Our whole world was turned upside down last year. Many people are seeing we need to do better – Covid-19 has instilled a sense of urgency. We’ve learned a very important lesson during this absurd year; even though the negative impact of the human race has taken a huge toll on our environment, we can take actions to positively impact the future of this planet. Our actions have immediate impact. In many cities we saw a decrease in air pollution. Clean skies in big cities in China. The water in Venice cleared up right before our eyes. Who would want to go back to business as usual when we know we can do better? It’s time to put sustainable growth in the front and prioritize the future, rather than the present. Throughout the years, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has allowed us at Wavin to take leaps when it comes to clean, efficient and sustainable building performance. Here’s how.
All for one and one for all
Building Information Modelling is a process in which the entire lifecycle of a project is designed and documented using BIM software. With BIM you can design a 100% as-built digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a building project before it is built. Don’t be mistaken, BIM is much more than 3D modeling software. Sure, it allows you to experiment with different designs, but once the building is finished it also offers possibilities for data analysis and maintenance. On top of that, it provides the tools to facilitate every party involved in all phases of a building project. From the electrician to the plumber and the architect, with mutual respect for each other’s know-how, they all work in this one shared environment, each adding their expertise. By working with BIM, you create a solid basis for decision making throughout a project’s life cycle.
The perfect bouquet
Today, there are many types of BIM software available, Wavin created a bouquet of the most common BIM tools and programs out there. We call this package ‘Revit’ and it’s suitable both for buildings and for infrastructure such as roads and bridges etc. Using BIM for infrastructure is more necessary than ever before because as citizens become more environmentally aware, they want a say in their living space. Equipment and maintenance is increasingly a part of the total procurement contract. Infrastructure requires a software solution that connects all parties in this process.
No paper policy
So what makes BIM more sustainable? Actually, in every phase of a building’s life cycle, the use of BIM enables cost-efficient, waste conscious and more environmentally friendly practices. Let’s break it down.
- Design: a 3D BIM design model allows one to visualise a design that all stakeholders can then interact with. This makes the designer’s intentions clear in early stages of the design phase and it enables stakeholders to propose modifications that could improve the outcome of the project and possibly prevent the need for modifications along the way. BIM allows us to think even more steps ahead, by digital design and visualization we can predict what will impact a building. For example, environmental and visual factors that can impact a project. By doing this, concerns of the public and special interest groups can be addressed in an early stage.
- Building: BIM has us rapidly moving towards 100% paperless construction sites. 80% of Nordic countries have already consolidated BIM practices, working towards smarter information sharing and making the building sector more sustainable as a whole. Because design is 100% accurate, the possibility of prefabrication eliminates a lot of site hazards and environmental impact. As a result of implementing BIM, a construction site can produce less waste and further minimize impact on the environment. This is realized by needing fewer deliveries to the site, less waste removal from the site. The need for less transportation results in less fuel consumption, which can run up to 50% less emissions.
- Maintenance: BIM offers all kinds of detailed information that is helpful for the maintenance of a building throughout its lifecycle. Bigger repair and replacement efforts are optimized by the updated information available through BIM. The lifespan of all assets is always visible and efforts can be planned ahead. Which can minimize cost and inconvenience. BIM allows constant monitoring and recording of asset performance, making the process more time efficient.And knowing exactly where all the pumps and pipes are located, makes knocking down a wall to check the foundation a thing of the past. BIM is there from construction, to operation to demolition.
BIM in action
Right at this moment, our team is completing the construction of Palmerola International, a brand new airport located in Comayagua valley in the centre of Honduras.
The airport is nested in the capital city surrounded by mountains, and is affected by the pass of hurricanes and tropical storms flooding the runway and terminal buildings. To prevent this from happening we installed an efficient rainwater system called Heavy duty channel drainage. A solution very well suited for large surface areas such as airport runways.
The project was a truly collaborative effort supported by BIM that allowed a team of global product managers, technical engineers and the commercial team of Wavin Honduras to all work together.
Technical architect Joel Guzman: ‘The progress of this project has been smooth and on time thanks to BIM. Having the different product systems using the same building modeling methodology is superb.’
Palmerola’s general contractor has seen a 30% saving in installation time, accurate bill of materials and effective interaction between specialties thanks to BIM adoption. Palmerola will become the number one airport for international traffic in Honduras.
The future of BIM
ooking ahead, BIM is bound to become increasingly efficient. New opportunities lie in scripting and using low level artificial intelligence to ‘code’ the designs. While one would still need a human to do the programming, this is already a much more time efficient method than traditional designing. Higher level AI could even have the computer creating the design all by itself and although interesting, this is harder for us to fix and change along the way. It will probably take a couple of years for AI to reach the level needed, creating new challenges along the way. We’re working towards better building performance here. Work in progress.
Want to know more about Wavin BIM Revit packages? Click here.