• Kiran Nair

BIM Services: Improving Sustainability In The Built Environment.

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Human-made surroundings like buildings, parks, cities, neighborhoods, etc. which is created for human activity is termed as a built environment. It is these physical aspects along with the social environment that makes up the design of our society and so its sustainability is of high importance. With changing climatic conditions and addressing social challenges of energy efficiency, aging population, robust infrastructure, and urbanization, the liability for bringing about a sustainable built environment lies with the developers and managers of this built surroundings; who majorly come from the AEC industry.

The dynamic current times and the future is going to call upon the way our society is planned and designed, the way construction is done, and how the overall built environment is maintained, managed, renewed, and renovated. Given that the needs of the society are reforming itself so is the methodology to cater to them are evolving. A one-stop solution that brings about efficiency in terms of a sustainable environment, saving time and resources, and making the overall project life cycle of the building efficient is Building Information Modelling (BIM). With BIM Services the AEC industry can enhance the construction project to levels of sustainability that one can only imagine until a few years back. With government mandates and the construction industry’s new focus on being environmentally friendly, BIM is being unleashed at great heights.

The data generated using BIM during the design and build over the complete lifecycle of the project brings about safer, quicker, minimal wastage in the construction process which is highly cost-effective thereby giving rise to sustainable operation, maintenance, and a gradual dismantling process. Some of the ways that BIM modeling services bring sustainability by creating coordination and collaboration among all the stakeholders are:

  1. Change by one of the stakeholders is reflected in all the other disciplines to adapt to that change or get an alternate solution to it.

  2. Design changes can be done while project definition is still flexible without having time and cost penalties

  3. Bringing together the operations, technical, manufacturing, and construction ideas empowers the design to be optimized at every phase of delivery and operation.

  4. With BIM there is an accurate estimation of material and equipment ordering, elimination of rework, and wastage due to coordination among design, production, construction, and cost planning phases.

  5. BIM allows automatic clash detection and eliminates the need for ad-hoc solutions, thereby saving time, cost, and materials of the project.

Having seen some of the ways BIM can bring about a sustainable built-environment through the technology process, let us dive deep into each of the phases of the project life cycle and understand how BIM outsourcing services enhance sustainable surrounding solutions.

How does BIM Services help in Different Stages of Construction?

Planning Phase:

The efficiency and success of any AEC project mainly depend upon the measures taken at the planning phase and the strategy formulation. About the formation of sustainable buildings, there must be consideration of heat losses, orientations, insulation, cross-ventilation, and renewable energies by the designers. Such a thing would call for many iterations of designs and bigger investments at several other stages if not planned well. While this may seem time-consuming, in the long run, it works to bring about cost efficiency and an overall reduction in wastage.

When BIM is in place it automatically looks for sustainable solutions from scratch and with BIM automation at hand, it will enable you enough time to consider more sustainable options. At just one go and few clicks, BIM enables planners and designers to generate multiple schedules and cost scenarios thereby allowing decision-makers to think more creatively about new sustainable solutions. Providing intelligent cost-estimations and obtaining base costs, BIM does not just bring about sustainable buildings it profits the overall bottom line too.

Design Phase:

For bringing about maximum sustainability to a project, the design phase is the key stage where one can optimize the construction project. Playing around MEP consumption limitation, ARC design for catering energy demand, Architectural BIM services among others are the crucial areas that are to be specially focused upon. Designing is the space where all the disciplines come together and collaborate at a designing platform that is beneficial for everyone including the environment.

BIM features that enhance the collaboration among different stakeholders is the key support at the designing stage. By this, we mean that every member of the project has a say and provides input to enhance sustainability in the best possible way. Collaboration brings about sustainability since if there is a lack of communication or failed appropriate sharing of data among team members, it will directly hamper the efficiency of the project.

For superior construction projects which involve varied intricacies and complexities, information sharing among all the parties is incredibly important and this is made possible by BIM outsourcing services. Integrating it with certain artificial intelligence capabilities one can support data like suitable temperatures, weather conditions, sunlight, etc and give logical reasoning behind your design, instead of trying different designs and samples done traditionally with 2D CAD.

Construction Phase:

Having seen how with BIM one can tap on appropriate utilization and decrement of excessive raw material and bring about reduction of overall wastage throughout the project at the initial phases, the same is continued and extended in the construction phase too. Due to BIM being used from the ideation period, the major advantage drawn at the construction phase is that there is a gradual decrease in the number of delays and reworks. With reduced delays and operating freely, the footprint kept on the environment is highly reduced or kept to a minimum. In the construction stage, BIM improves the effectiveness and overall productivity of the building project.

There is easier monitoring of overall waste throughout the construction process along with operating the entire project in a more superior manner with BIM Technology. With added BIM dimensions, 4D Construction Simulation the project can have a proper schedule and timeline of activities, while with 5D simulation services the exact cost is estimated for every element or raw material needed. With 6D and 7D BIM, the fuel consumption and noise levels can be minimized. There is better control of procurement and optimization of asset management so that we leave a positive impact on the environment even after deployment.

Building Maintenance and Lifespan:

Sustainability work is not over even after the last nail is hammered to the building, interestingly the process steps into maintenance and the entire life span of the building is delivered and for this reason, BIM is the only feasible solution that helps the construction firms the most.

When a project is BIM-based, every aspect and detail of the project is documented and shared with all the involved stakeholders. When BIM has been utilized well in the initial phases of planning and designing of the project there can be an exact prediction of the lifetime performance of the project, a concept introduced as 7D BIM Services. Having the correct information on how a building or infrastructure was ideated, designed, and constructed, one can better gauge the performance of the building throughout its lifespan until demolished.

Being able to utilize data on different aspects of the project like building volumes and heat loss analysis from floor areas there can be a proper assessment of the overall sustainability of the project. BIM having the predictive approach showcases a problem even before it arrives in real and thus saves big, not just in time and money forms but even in resource utilization.

Seeing the details in which BIM Services brings about sustainability at each stage of the construction project and collaborating with every stakeholder from the initial phase, we can rest assured that BIM will change the way the construction industry operates in times to come. BIM does not just change the fundamental thinking about our project but also impacts the environment on a greater level.

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