Blog/Digitization of the construction industry: Building Information Modelling (BIM)
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Digitization of the construction industry: Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Digitization is without doubt one of the megatrends today. It has made its way into every aspect of our lives. But how far has digitization come in the construction industry? What is the impact that Building Information Modelling (BIM) will provide? In this blog, we explain exactly that.

The status of digitization within the construction industry
Digitization means development and disruption within many industries. But what is the status of digitization in the building industry? The international consultancy company McKinsey looked into this topic.

One of the results: the building industry is among the least digitized industries, compared to others, like the automotive industry. What does this mean practically? Twenty percent of all building projects are delayed, and in eighty percent of all projects, the budget is exceeded.

Basically, not being able to stick to the original plan makes the work of everyone involved much harder in every phase of a building project. It even has consequences for following projects as resources need to be rearranged due to possible delays.

Digital transformation of the construction industry: it’s high time
This analysis, and the fact that the labour productivity of the building industry has not increased in the last decades, clearly shows that the building industry is ready for a change – and that digitization can be a major driver for the building industry.

At the heart of this change is the need for information. In all phases of a building process, there is a huge need for exchanging information between different stakeholders. It starts with the design phase, is followed by the planning phase, building phase, and maintenance phase.

If the target is to run a project within the set timeframe and budget, speed and accuracy are crucial factors. Digitization in this context means delivering reliable digital information that is available to everyone at any time and place.

Technically speaking, all this is possible today: cloud solutions, apps, and software platforms are available for digitization in the building industry as well. There is a series of drivers that can enable this digitization: the use of technologies, the capturing of information in a model, digital collaboration – and making sure there is a single source of truth to guarantee the reliability of all data.

BIM as the solution 
BIM seems to be the answer to the current needs of the building industry. The basic idea of BIM is to create a chain of processes which are defined by collaboration and efficiency. A building can be fully designed digitally with BIM.

This also means that all relevant information is captured in the BIM model. Besides measurements, products, and materials, this BIM model can contain information like material specifics, also with regards to the impact on their use in the building process and consequences for next steps in the building process.

This data is shared between all stakeholders within a cloud project, which results in several advantages. First of all, everyone has immediate access to first-hand information. Changes, which are done in the BIM model, make sure that the single source of truth is maintained and that there is no discussion about the latest, correct version.

Critical aspects within the building process can be simulated digitally, saving time, money, and materials. Also, there is a lower risk of failure on the building site as possible sources for failure already are visible in the model.

Manufacturers of building products have an essential role in BIM processes: they participate in a very early stage of the process. Thus, they are asked to make their products available digitally and BIM-ready so that the other stakeholders can use the digital product as an integrated part of their building models. It also means that manufacturers can contribute a lot to further developing BIM itself. They can actively participate in standardizing and streamlining existing solutions as well as sharing information and supporting cooperation between the stakeholders.

If you want to learn more about the relevance of BIM, the relationship between BIM and CAD and the role that manufacturers play, please read our Whitepaper about digitization in the construction industry with BIM.