BIM (Building Information Modeling) is the digital revolution or transformation in the architecture and construction industry. It is the tool that helps in the simulation of various factors considered in the construction of a built asset such as Climate, lighting, shadows, energy creation or utilisation, etc. In other words, it is an intelligent model that is cloud-enabled and integrates multi-disciplinary sectors in the construction industry from planning & designing to the resolution of site operations.
BIM & Sustainability
Let’s quickly understand what sustainable architecture is. Anything and everything that is used in the construction if it aims for the present-day needs of the society without compromising on its availability & need for the future generation is termed as a sustainable mode of construction.
In BIM, there are various levels that can be achieved for the projects built through BIM. Different aspects of building characters are included at each level of BIM. Level ensures the compliance of the subject matter in the project. Level zero to level three deals with the efficient preparation of concept works and drawing formation in 2D, 3D form. Level 4, 5, and 6 checks the scheduling/process steps, costing, and sustainability. Level 6 of BIM evaluates the energy consumption of the building and ensures sustainability.
As LEED is the sustainability rating of a building in terms of its environmental impacts, BIM analyses the energy consumption, material utilisation, technological insights, helps in minimizing waste with its efficient system, thus a 21st-century sustainable tool through its features of optimization.
Following are the ways of how BIM takes a sustainable approach to streamline the process from design to construction to operations:
1. Designing Phase
During the designing phase, BIM helps in organising every data and inputs required in the design process. It helps to organise & access the real-time data of all the products and materials being used in the project. The performance details of the design and installation guidelines can also be fed in the BIM for future ease at the time of construction. This allows testing different alternatives of plan and sections for the sustainability goals. These features also allow the contractors and builders to decide and structure the building of the project in advance and sort the overall construction in the design phase to avoid any wastage on rescheduling or reworking.
The major benefit of this listing is the transparency gained in terms of sustainable material used and the process adopted to build it. Everything is documented and available to access anytime at any stage of the construction.
2. Construction Phase
With BIM, 3D virtual models can be created for testing the simulation of all aspects of lighting, wind, and ventilation. These virtual prototypes can help in deciding the construction phases and sequence of the projects. In the ongoing project management, all the steps of the design process need to be reviewed for a smooth workflow in the construction. BIM makes it very easy through its integrated technology.
In prefabricated construction, BIM comes as a boon. All the construction drawings can be created in BIM in no time and its optimacy can be checked and rebuilt in the software itself. This helps in time-saving and cost-saving in the project to a greater extent and ensures almost no errors with the prior testing of the building module.
3. Operation Phase
After the construction is completed, the facility management team also requires the initial data of the designed layout and the thought process for the final outcome. 3D Models of BIM allow very intricate detailing to the level of facilitation to the client. All the operational insights and processing data can be created in detail along with the 3D model which is easily shareable with the client and their manager to understand the working and running of the building and all the facilitated designs.
BIM not only helps in achieving sustainability till the material and construction but helps in its long-term maintenance with the sustainable running guidelines. Moreover, the renovation and refurbishment guidelines can also be made available to clients and improve the overall margin of sustainability and client relationship.
The construction industry has always faced problems in storing and retrieving data, taking design thought to the operation stage used to involve a lot of trial and error, wastage of material and repetition of works. Thanks to BIM, all these processes can be streamlined in a systematic way and helps go one step ahead in the management of data and optimization of the process with a sustainable approach.