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BIM: The Key to Construction Efficiency

Illustration of a crane lifting big letters of BIM

The effort to expand thin profit margins and improve sustainable return on investment (ROI) is an ongoing challenge in the construction industry. Beyond the difficulties inherent in complex, large-scale projects, construction is a highly competitive sector. Numerous firms are willing to compromise on quality to submit the lowest bid. This puts pressure on everyone to create efficiencies and increase profit wherever possible while maintaining the necessary high-quality standards for success.

In recent years, many firms have discovered that Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the key to achieving this goal. BIM not only produces highly detailed and effective 3D models for planning and executing complex construction projects but also enhances the estimation, planning, design, and detailing phases of a project, resulting in efficiencies and increased profitability.

Study reveals BIM’s powerful impact on construction project success

A study published in the Engineering News-Record focused on general contractors, construction managers, and trade contractors with $50 million or more in annual construction value. The study identified the following compelling benefits these companies have derived from integrating BIM into their processes:

  • 70 percent reported at least a 5-percent decrease in requests for information during construction.
  • 50 percent also saw at least a 5-percent reduction in material waste, schedules, and final construction costs.
  • 77 percent of GCs and 80 percent of CMs see at least a 5-percent decrease in RFIs, while 58 percent of trade contractors report that much of a reduction in RFIs.
  • 43 percent of trade contractors report at least a 5-percent reduction in reportable safety incidents from BIM use.

Interestingly, these results came from a random sample of firms, some had in-house BIM practitioners working on owned technology, while others outsourced their BIM work to subcontractors or consultants. Yet, the results were the same.

This underlines the fact that the actual BIM processes themselves — not necessarily a specific solution or individual — make the difference. But, why is this the case?

4 ways BIM improves construction efficiency:

There are at least four distinct ways that the BIM process can help make construction projects more efficient and profitable:

1. BIM produces better construction documents

Since highly accurate 3D design modeling forms the foundation of the entire BIM process, the documents generated - from the initial estimating and bidding phase straight through any necessary change orders - tend to be more detailed and accurate than similarly functional 2D drawings created traditionally.

2. BIM supports more efficient and accurate planning and execution.

The level of detail and inherent data required to develop a set of BIM construction plans automatically lends to greater accuracy in measurement, capacity, scheduling, and much more. This reduces the potential for human error, miscalculations, important details being overlooked, and other inefficiencies and issues that decrease profit.

3. BIM reduces errors and ambiguities that waste time and money across the project workflow.

For many of the same reasons noted above, BIM designs also facilitate efficient and cost-effective procurement of tools, supplies, and labor for every necessary part of the job. It also makes collaborative communication easier and more productive, especially if both parties can access the same 3D plans. Once again, this means fewer errors and less unnecessary waiting, resulting in increased profitability.

4. BIM helps designers and detailers identify and resolve potential safety hazards earlier.

While speed, quality, and efficiency are all vital aspects of a successful construction project, they will all be compromised if someone gets hurt - or worse, killed - during the job. With a more detailed and accurate plan and a highly efficient job site, everyone can prioritize safety and carry out their tasks without endangering themselves or others.

Visit our solution pages to learn more about how we can help with your next steps of the constructible process.