By Lynn Pearcey, MBA, Copywriter, AIA Contract Documents
January 31, 2024
If you’ve been around the construction industry for any length of time, chances are you’ve either heard about or been exposed to the exciting world of Business Information Modeling, or BIM, as it’s more commonly referred to. By definition, BIM is the holistic process of creating and managing information for a built asset. Using an intelligent model coupled with cloud computing platforms, BIM allows users to integrate structured, multi-disciplinary data to develop a digital representation of an asset across the entire lifecycle. This helps with planning, design, operations, and construction.
A new year has awakened, and more and more contractors are beginning to awaken to the possibilities of BIM and the benefits it can have on their operations and business, including the following.
Seeing The Bigger Picture
In years past, paper renderings governed the construction design process. The obvious flaw in that model was that it assumed that everything would go as planned without any hitches, delays, or confusion. This perfect world scenario hardly ever happens, and even the most seasoned contractor has no way of knowing what obstacles lie ahead of them. Even with sound contingency planning and budgeting, the element of the unknown was always present. With BIM, contractors are able to operate with a clear view of their project needs and eliminate the types of costly risks that negatively impact their profits.
Contractors are the proverbial feet on the ground, left to carry out the orders and ultimately, deliver the finished product that the original vision was based upon. Logistics is what drives their efforts and with BIM in the mix, contractors can get on top of this crucial function. BIM allows contractors to plan better from a resource perspective including people, materials, and equipment. All of these areas are prone to waste, but BIM removes the threat of waste using simulation tools that reveal different pathways to operational success.
Improved Planning Capabilities
No matter how well a contractor plans, there’s always something standing around the corner, waiting to disrupt a timeline, a process, and ultimately, a project. While BIM doesn’t allow contractors to see into the future, it does prepare them for every possible scenario, especially the ones that could potentially derail their efforts. With this information, contractors and the subcontractors reporting to them can position themselves and their projects for success. Using BIM also allows contractors to deliver value to key stakeholders and build a more robust brand profile that puts them in line for other projects.
Everyone has a role in a construction project. Architects are called upon to create imaginative, functional designs. Engineers review designs to ensure feasibility while developing a roadmap that adheres to the prescribed specifications and plans. Contractors are where the proverbial rubber meets the road, and everything that’s been floating in minds, mapped out on paper, and displayed on screens comes to life. When the ball falls into the hands of a contractor, it’s a tall task, but having BIM technology on their side makes it easy. In short, BIM gives contractors the freedom to do what they do best without the hassle or worry about things that are beyond their role.
In the coming years, BIM will play a critical role in the construction industry and the lives of contractors. BIM’s transparency will help all project parties, especially the contractors tasked with bringing visions to life. The key insights the technology offers will continue to be invaluable in terms of efficiency and cost, two areas that tremendously impact contractors. Planning and focus are two other areas where the influence of BIM will increase as contractors continue to embrace and see the immense value of this powerful tool.
Want to learn more about AIA Contract Documents Digital Practice Documents? Read Introducing AIA Contract Documents’ BIM Documents.
AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors. Any language quoting from AIA Contract Documents that have not yet been released is subject to change before final publication.