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Building Information Modelling: an introduction for house builders (NF49)

Overview

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process for managing the information produced during a construction project, from the earliest feasibility stages right through design, construction, operation and finally demolition.

Although the awareness of BIM is starting to spread through the construction industry, driven in some part by the UK Government’s mandating its use on all of their construction projects by 2016, it has yet to make an impact on the house-building sector. Many involved in the sector are not aware of it, and most of those who have engaged with it so far don’t see how it can benefit them in their daily work.

This report explains what BIM is, assesses the house-building industry’s current engagement of BIM, and looks at ways in which it might make the most of the opportunities BIM presents.

Summary of content

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a process for managing the information produced during a construction project, from the earliest feasibility stages right through design, construction, operation and finally demolition so as to make best and most efficient use of the data produced.

Although the awareness of BIM is starting to spread through the construction industry, driven in some large part by the UK Government’s mandating its use on all of their construction projects by 2016, it has yet to make an impact on the house-building sector.  Many involved in the sector are not aware of it, and most of those who have engaged with it so far don’t see how it can benefit them in their daily work.

As part of the construction process, a wide range of documents are produced such as drawings and schedules.  A suitable document management process should already be in place to control their generation and issue – this is part of the BIM process.  As well as providing this framework for the management of documents and data, BIM can also produce images or objects in 3D models with the added ability to attach related data about performance, materials, quantities, etc.

The use of these models can increase efficiency and reduce errors with designs being able to be built in virtual terms before getting to site, and clashes resolved in the design office as opposed to on site.  However, investment in time and money will be needed to enable house builders to make the most of what BIM can offer, and skill levels will also need to maximise the capabilities of the software.

If the house-building sector can find a way to get over the initial hurdles, BIM offers the prospect of improved efficiency and fewer errors, resulting in a better quality product for the home owners.