The construction industry is one of the world’s most critical and significant industries. It employs millions of people and is responsible for building some of the most iconic structures on earth. However, the construction industry is also known to be one of the most wasteful and inefficient in terms of how it uses resources.
BIM is always touted to save time and money – the more general ways are through better communication and fewer misunderstandings however in this blog post, we will discuss some of the not-so-obvious ways that BIM can help reduce the cost of construction and make our industry more sustainable! 🍃 ♻️
It is no secret that the construction industry is notoriously wasteful.
Every year, billions of euro-dollar-pound-yen worth of materials are wasted due to inefficient construction practices.
This not only drives up the cost of construction, but it also has a negative impact on the environment.
Thankfully, there is a growing movement within the industry to embrace sustainable building practices.
BIM is a digital tool that helps architects, engineers, and contractors to plan, design, and construct buildings more efficiently.
In its essence, BIM allows more effective use of resources during design, construction and operations, ultimately reducing costs.
BIM also has the ability to minimize material waste and, as a result, assist to lower the cost of building while also protecting the environment.
In a world where sustainability is increasingly important, BIM is an essential tool for the construction industry.
Let’s dig into some specific ways in which BIM can help reduce the cost of construction!
1. BIM-based Thermal Building Simulation 🌡
Thermal building simulation uses computer software to predict how a building will perform regarding energy consumption and indoor comfort.
The simulation considers building volumes, shape, size, orientation, insulation levels, window sizes, and airtightness factors.
By running a thermal simulation, construction managers can identify potential building design problems that will impact life-cycle costs and adjust accordingly.
Additionally, BIM-based thermal simulations can be used to compare the performance of different building materials and systems.
This information can be used to select the most cost-effective option for the project showing that a BIM-based thermal building simulation is a valuable tool for reducing the overall cost of a project.
2. Space Optimization 📦
BIM can be used to help with space optimization in several ways.
Here are a few examples:
- BIM can be used to simulate the movement of people through spaces (above) and present ideas about how to better use the space by rearranging furniture, walls, or other features – much of this was done through COVID
- BIM models provide a photo-realistic 3D model of the proposed building before construction starts
- Using BIM can allow for virtual walk-throughs of a building which can help with the decision-making process of how to best use the space
- BIM provides automated clash detection which helps to optimize the use of space between building services (like plumbing and electrical) and avoid errors during construction
Through the use of a 3D model, BIM has become an essential tool for optimizing the use of space and reducing the cost of construction.
3. Optimization of Construction Site Logistics
A construction site is a chaotic place with a lot of activities going on at the same time – there is a constant flow of materials and workers in and out of the site.
Properly managing the construction site logistics is essential to ensure a smooth workflow and avoid delays or accidents.
The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) can help in reducing the cost of construction by optimizing the logistics at the construction site.
BIM can be used to generate 4D simulations that show how the building will be constructed over time.
This allows for a better understanding of the construction phasing and helps to identify potential problems that could cause delays or increase costs
BIM can also be used to help determine where materials should be placed to minimize the amount of movement and optimize the use of resources
By using BIM to help optimize the construction site logistics, the project can save on labor costs, material costs, and even the cost of renting more equipment than required.
4. BIM-based Cost Management and Reduction of Material Waste Through Need-based Purchasing
BIM can help to reduce the cost of construction through need-based purchasing.
In the past, construction companies sometimes over-order materials in trying to stay on schedule however this often leads to waste and then cost overruns.
Lean methods like Just in Time (JIT) ordering are now helping teams to become more efficient and combined with BIM this can supercharge the savings.
With BIM, construction managers can use model-based quantities to more accurately predict the material needed for a project.
This leads to significant savings on construction costs it also helps to reduce material waste of materials that would otherwise be discarded.
5. Avoidance of Profit Loss Due to Timely Completion
The use of BIM has been shown to reduce the cost of construction projects by up to 20%.
One of the main ways that BIM reduces the cost of construction projects is by helping to avoid project delays.
BIM-based project management tools can help construction professionals track the progress of a project in real-time and make necessary adjustments to the schedule.
This allows for more efficient use of resources and prevents costly delays affecting a project’s profit margin.
In addition to avoiding profit loss, BIM can also help reduce the cost of construction projects by improving coordination between different teams involved in the project.
The use of 3D models makes it easier for architects, engineers, and other professionals to spot potential problems and find solutions that would minimize disruptions during construction.
The result is a smoother construction process that can save time and money.
6. BIM for Owners – Optimization of Facilities Maintenance Work
80% of building costs are during the life of the building so this is where most money could be saved!
The Owner can use BIM for various purposes related to running the facility after the completion of construction.
The role of facility managers is to make sure that buildings are safe, comfortable, and attractive places to work in. They are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of buildings, and they must often find ways to do so without exceeding the budget.
Building Information Modeling can help by providing a virtual model of the building that can be used to track and schedule maintenance tasks, as well as plan for future renovations or expansion.
BIM can help facility managers to:
- Understand the building’s layout and systems
- Schedule and track maintenance tasks
- Plan for future renovations or expansion
- Reduce the need for manual inspections
- Automate work order generation
- Improve communication between departments
This allows for more efficient use of resources and better long-term planning for things like operations and maintenance.
While BIM effectively reduces construction costs, it is essential to note that it is not a silver bullet.
The success of BIM depends on various factors, such as the commitment of all stakeholders, the availability of skilled labor, the right mix of technology and processes and a strategic BIM plan!
So if you’re looking to create a BIM plan and simplify your BIM management, Plannerly is the perfect tool for you!
Plannerly has an easy-to-use interface that will help you get the most out of your BIM planning. Plus, it’s free to get started!
So why not give it a try? 😃
Other Interesting Reads
2 Bonus Resources 😃
Here are two additional items that I think you’ll find valuable – 1) a video 🎥 that covers the complete BIM management workflow and 2) some typical questions I get asked about BIM, as well as my best-attempted answers.
I hope they’re useful! 🙏
1) The Complete BIM Management Workflow
First, here’s a video showing The Complete BIM Management Workflow:
2) Questions I Often Get Asked
I have also tried to summarize some answers to the most common questions that I get asked about using BIM to save money – I hope you can use them too:
What are 5 ways that BIM can help reduce the cost of construction?
In addition to the above –
BIM can help reduce the cost of construction by facilitating better communication and coordination among project stakeholders.
BIM can help reduce the cost of construction by streamlining the design process.
BIM can help reduce the cost of construction by helping to identify potential conflicts and errors early in the design process.
BIM can help reduce the cost of construction by allowing for more accurate material estimates and ordering.
BIM can help reduce the cost of construction through improved quality control measures.
How does BIM help in cost control?
BIM can help in cost control by facilitating better communication and collaboration between project team members, which can help to avoid costly mistakes and delays. BIM also allows for more accurate estimating and forecasting of project costs, which can help to ensure that budgets are not exceeded. And finally, BIM can be used to track construction progress and identify potential problems or areas where costs could be saved, thus helping to ensure that projects stay on track and on budget.
How can BIM technology help cost estimating?
Building information modeling (BIM) technology can help cost estimating in a number of ways. First, BIM-based estimates can be more accurate than traditional estimating methods because they account for a greater level of detail. Additionally, BIM can help to streamline the estimating process by providing a central repository for all project data that is automatically updated with each version of the model, making it easier to track costs and revise estimates as required. Finally, BIM-based cost estimation can help improve communication between project stakeholders by providing a clear and visual representation of the project budget.
I blog for the Five BIM Bloggers series.
Every week we share different perspectives on important BIM topics!