The biggest problem we currently have with fully adopting a model-based approach into the entire construction process is that it’s simply not used enough. Compared to similar industries, construction is lagging behind on digitalization. Fragmented workflows, resistance to new technology and limited knowledge about its benefits are halting the change.
At its best, BIM covers the whole construction process. Getting to that point, however, requires a new mindset where digital is the starting point, ending point and everything in between.
Adoption is hard because we work in silos
The construction industry hasn’t fully adopted new technologies because it’s fragmented and doesn’t have a standardized supply chain. While some stakeholders have successfully integrated the software into their way of working, others are still using old tools.
Not having consistent processes across a project not only prevents going digital but harms cooperation too. Using technology for your own tasks but having to jump to physical documents for information breaks the workflow and increases the chance of human error. Because there is no one ecosystem that would bring together each part of the construction process, transitioning to BIM is difficult.
The transformation needs to start with everyone
Each stakeholder throughout the workflow benefits from using BIM in their own process. For a steel detailer, for example, model-based tools are the most versatile and efficient option there is. For the engineering office, the agility and flexibility of software make iteration much easier. For casting, working with a 3D model helps avoid costly mistakes on site. However, in order to successfully adopt BIM, stakeholders need to use it not only for their own tasks, but for sharing data and cooperating with others.
The advantages are great, but their combined value becomes more than the sum of their parts when we all commit to using the software. When information flows freely and the model is always the same up-to-date version for everyone, efficiency snowballs, resulting in impressive growth in overall productivity.
Invisible BIM means we’ve made it
The best technology is invisible—it helps us do our work without us having to think about the tools. When we finally stop talking about BIM, that’s when we’ll know it’s truly been integrated into each part of the construction process. In fact, that’s when it has become the construction process.
There’s still some way to go, but the potential is there. Once the barriers have been overcome, the improvements are big enough that no one will even question why we should use model-based digital tools for the entire workflow.