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A while back, I mentioned our desire to explore Building Information Modeling (BIM), a database which catalogs a structure throughout its life cycle in real time 3D. We felt the system would provide a value-add large enough to merit hiring someone to manage our efforts. I’m pleased to say we found the right fit.
William Byrd, a graduate of Auburn University’s Building Science program, has a long history with modeling technology. His father, the manager of a steel manufacturing company, brought home drawings of machine parts that his shop was building.
William learned the basics on their home computer, and found a passion that led him to complete his senior thesis in Construction Information Technology using BIM.
I asked him to put together a list of what BIM can do for a construction company in terms of customer benefits. Here are the areas he thinks will be most useful:
Presentation. Owners, investors and contractors can see their building taken from a 2-dimensional plane to a model. They can now “walk through” a structure that has yet to be built.
Collaboration. For architects, general contractors and owners, working together on a model gets a conversation flowing. Through BIM, all parties can begin their partnership earlier. This saves time in the long run by avoiding costly changes or mistakes.
Forecasting problems. Constructing the building virtually can aid in finding problems in the design or the constructability of a project.
Record Keeping. With a complete model, an owner can see what exactly is hidden behind a wall or a concrete slab. In renovations or repairs, this can be invaluable.
It is our belief that BIM will drive efficiency in the construction industry in the same way that AutoCAD (and equivalents) revolutionized how drawings are completed by architects and engineers. We’re confident it will give us the edge in both negotiated and hard bid work. We’re pleased to be early adopters.
I will ask William to check in occasionally, sharing thoughts on BIM upgrades and tips from along the trail. We look forward to sharing our experience.