Building beyond BIM with the Constructible Process
Much has been mentioned about the Constructible Process. It is a best practice approach to the inevitable digital transformation that will massively transform the construction industry. The Constructible Process is to look beyond the limits of BIM, by using a robust library of detail-rich data, streamlined workflows, and real-time collaboration from the field to the office and back again. Using constructive data and real-time collaboration ensures every person, phase, and process work together seamlessly – optimizing the entire plan, concept, build, and operate lifecycle.
So why is this important for the construction industry? In 2017, the global construction industry was valued at US$10.7 trillion. This is set to rise to US$12.7 trillion by 2022. That is massive growth, one that will require the best processes and technology in order to improve productivity to meet demand, on-time completion deadlines, and stand out from the competition. And while the construction industry’s productivity has generally trailed other sectors for decades, this gap can be closed through the adoption of the Constructible Process.
In Singapore, the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) approach to the Constructible Process is known as Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD). IDD is similarly defined as the use of digital technologies to integrate work processes and connect stakeholders working on the same project throughout the project life-cycle.
IDD is one of the key thrusts in the country’s Construction Industry Transformation Map (ITM) launched in 2018, to encourage companies in the build environment sectors to go digital, and is aligned to the country's efforts in transforming the construction industry by creating a highly-skilled workforce trained in use of the latest architecture, engineering, construction and operations technologies. IDD covers four areas: Digital Design, Digital Fabrication, Digital Production and Digital Asset Delivery and Management.
To date, Trimble has taken part in several research projects led by BCA to support Singapore’s digital transformation. One such project was the precast element design project that involved coordinating and optimizing precast element structural design to meet fabrication requirements. The structural design was coupled with fabrication detailing so that when the structural design was completed, the relevant fabrication data would also be ready. This integrated design process takes downstream requirements into consideration at the early design stage. The engineering details are constructible from the beginning, which will mean fewer design alternations due to fabrication and construction issues.
Another research project was on digital construction, to automate an on-site precast element installation. A precast BIM model was built based on an actual pilot project. Each precast element was then tagged with RFID for easy tracking. Both ideal and actual hoisting paths were plotted in the BIM model in real time, allowing crane operators to have the visibility of the path deviation.
Construction projects are all about collaboration. Trimble also took up a funded research project to evaluate integrated work processes using the Trimble Connect collaboration platform. With Trimble Connect, all project stakeholders are able to access a single source of real-time information for better coordination and planning.
Last but not least, mixed reality opens up a brand new dimension on technology application for the construction industry. Trimble Connect for HoloLens utilizes mixed reality to overlay BIM models in the context of the physical environment. With mixed reality technology, 3D BIM models are brought out of 2D screens and into the actual physical spaces, allowing for accurate virtual inspection to be conducted on the actual project site, rather than in a simulated virtual enclosed environment.