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building information n forms imitations design,

IT

As the world is transforming and developing at a very express pace, technologically innovative practices are increasing to achieve competitive advantages. BIM is one such innovative practice increasingly being adopted by construction industry in the world. BIM, or Building Information Modelling, is defined as digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a building creating a shared knowledge resource for information about it forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life cycle, from earliest conception to demolition. BIM is a paradigm shift of the way building information is recorded. Conventional information recording about buildings which can be in forms of drawings, descriptive texts or tables have limitations and cause significant inefficiencies during design, construction and operational phases. BIM is introduced as a solution to overcome major inefficiencies by enabling all parties in the building process (Clients, Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Builders) to collaborate through a central information model which will contain all necessary information about a building project. The structure of the central model is developed in such a way to minimize information errors and the central model assures that all parties work on most updated information. Therefore, BIM adoption is the search for perfection of information generation, sharing and consumption. BIM has already made significant cost savings in building projects making it more demanded day by day. Emerging career opportunities from advent of BIM are twofold. First are the expansions to current practices. Second is the emergence of new professions and technical positions. To work effectively in a BIM based building project, current practices will obviously have to add BIM

capabilities to their skill base. Interestingly, they will not be required to possess in-depth knowledge about BIM technology; instead, they will only need to develop skills in using BIM software tools specific to their specialization. For example, an Architect would become “BIM ready Architect” if he/she has a good command of a software such as ArchiCAD, Microstation or Revit Architecture; whereas software like Revit Structures or Tekla Structures makes a Structural Engineer “BIM ready”. All these software provides userfriendly interfaces (often with virtual 3-dimentional views of buildings and its elements) to work with, while the software communicates (read and write) with central information model from its backend. Since this eliminates the need for a user to communicate with the central model, a person can become “BIM ready” in their respective career paths without knowing much about BIM. This context will create distinct career paths within various professional domains with a “BIM ready” tag. Undoubtedly, not all practitioners will become BIM ready. This opens opportunities for new careers to emerge to bridge the gap. In the similar manner that CAD Draughtsmen bridge the gap between designers and CAD (Computer Aided Draughting) systems; a layer of BIM Modellers would bridge the gap between designers and BIM systems. However, not like CAD Draughtsmen; BIM Modellers would not be generic, but would be identified with the tag of software tool they specializein. Constructability Analyst is a new role emerging with invented power of BIM systems to easily detect clashes in building designs. In fact, a major portion of clash detection can be automated when BIM is used, and use of detection tools will be a specialization within the building discipline. In addition there are two other new professions emerging with BIM, namely BIM Managers and BIM Coordinators. While often

confused as synonyms these two are in fact dissimilar. The role of the BIM Coordinator is to coordinate the team – client, designers, builders and suppliers –to comply with agreed BIM Execution Plan. Coordinating the development of BIM Execution Plan would also be included in his role. BIM Execution Plan is needed to make sure necessary information is available for the BIM System at the right time. Being an IT solution, BIM Systems are less tolerable to missing or erroneous information. Therefore, BIM Coordinator’s primary knowledge domain will be “Building Design and Construction”, while possessing a fair knowledge about BIM Systems and tools. BIM Manager’s role is to design, setup and maintain the IT infrastructure for BIM System while assuring efficient interaction among various software tools used by parties with the central BIM. Thus, his primary knowledge domain is “Information Technology”, with a fair knowledge about building design and construction processes and practices. BIM Manager will not coordinate the project team, yet he may coordinate technological issues among parties, e.g. instructing a party to defer the processing of information until another party performs a specific task. However, this is likely to be coordinated through BIM Coordinator. Thus, it is clear that BIM Manager manages the BIM Technological Infrastructure while the BIM Coordinator manages people involved. It is clear that advent of BIM will create a shift in professional and technical career structures in construction industry. In summary, key changes are the identification of “BIM Ready” group of professions and technicians and few emerging careers primarily for effective functioning of BIM System. (The writer is Lead Researcher – BIMLab Network (www.bimlab. net), who is also a Senior Lecturer of Department of Building Economics of University of Moratuwa.)

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Edex magazine jan 2014