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Technology in Construction: Building Information Modeling (BIM)

Technological advancements have long made a significant impact on the construction industry. Without power tools, crews would be cutting boards and drilling holes by hand. Without heavy equipment, they would be excavating sites with shovels and pickaxes. In the past 20 years, technology has made some incredible advances.

But many of the technological tools we enjoy today did not even exist 20 years ago when BL Harbert was first founded. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of technology that have impacted our work in the past 20 years.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. Essentially, BIM is the digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility.

BIM files allow for information to be extracted, exchanged or networked to support decision-making regarding a building or other built assets. Changes to the BIM model occur in real-time, therefore any changes or updates to the model are instantly communicated to all team members when they access the model. This allows all team members to work with the most up-to-date information.

Utilizing BIM is incredibly valuable for the BLHI team and our clients. Clash detection is one of the many value-added components of BIM utilized in the preconstruction phase.

Clash detection helps to determine clashes or conflicts, whether structural or MEP, through an automated and computerized approach. It is a critical process for recognizing and flagging conflicts that occur in BIM, particularly when working with several models. The running of a clash detection process not only reduces the manual time required to check the models, but it can also lower the overall construction costs of a project. Clash detection also ensures any unnecessary delays prior to fabrication and minimize price overruns.

How it works: On a given project, the assigned BIM leader acts as the coordinator between each trade’s models. They run clash detection reports, lead clash detection meetings, and guide walkthroughs of the building. Issues among all trades will be detectable and identified at the beginning stages of the project allowing resolution before construction. The final coordinated model serves as the fabrication and installation documents during the construction phase. With the successful utilization of BIM coordination, field productivity is increased, and costly impacts decreased.

BLHI provides these services in-house, and we work these efforts into the total cost of a given project.


*This is the first of an on-going series celebrating the advancements of Technology in Construction as part of our 20th Anniversary celebration. Check back next week for our next installment on Computer-Aided Design (CAD).

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