BIM – the game changer of construction

In recent years, the main buzz word in the construction industry has been BIM. This new way of working has already had a major impact on the industry, and there is more to come.

BIM put into practice at Citec

Visual selling with 3D

Grasping all the functions of a future power plant may be challenging for someone not used to looking at 2D models. This was the starting point when Citec developed Citec3D Live, a tool that helps customers show the full potential of their solutions in the offering phase.

The tool is based on 3D models that Citec had earlier made for the same customer in previous projects. Hence the tool is a perfect example of BIM, as existing information in 3D format is reused for new purposes.

As all content remains in 3D format, the tool allows for rotation, zooming, fly-through, as well as other visually intelligible ways of presentation.

Originally the idea for the tool came from a Citec customer, who wanted an enhanced insight into their offering in tendering situations. So far, the solution has been developed for two different customers in the energy sector.

Reducing errors and costs with CitecDot 

CitecDot is a user-friendly on-line platform that puts together all the information and interaction of an EPC or EPCM project. As a result, human errors, delays and extra costs are virtually eliminated.

This solution is a great showcase of BIM, as better information sharing is used to save money and ensure that projects are delivered on time.

CitecDot connects all the stakeholders in a project, from customers to subcontractors, during the whole life cycle of the project. The stakeholders gain access to the information regarding the project, including document management as well as progress follow-up and material tracking.

Why has productivity within the manufacturing industry improved a great deal since the 1960s, while there has literally been no productivity improvement at all within the construction industry?

This question serves as an eye-opener for anyone questioning the relevance of BIM. BIM refers to Building Information Modelling, a concept where information is used in a more intelligent way in the construction industry. One of the key outputs of this way of working is the Building Information Model, a digital description of every aspect of the built asset.

“If you have the right information at the right time, you can work smarter and save a lot of time and money”

“Simply described, BIM is all about sharing and using information. If you have the right information at the right time, you can work smarter and save a lot of time and money”, explains Fredric Jacobson, Business Development Manager in Civil at Citec Sweden.

Jacobson has put a lot of effort into spreading the word about BIM. He believes that one reason for the stagnant productivity in the construction industry is the fact that there is a resistance to change. Moreover, engineers are often very interested in the technologies used, while tending to forget about the importance of information flow. BIM offers a chance to change things for the better.

“With the right processes to help share the information, we can be much more efficient. As an example, certain models can be reused instead of doing the same thing from scratch several times.”

Better use of information also means fewer mistakes. One of the main features regarding BIM is the strive towards informative 3D models in all stages – from the early planning phase to operation and maintenance, and finally demolition.

“Today, there are still a lot of 2D drawings and paper used at construction sites all over the world, even in countries like Finland and Sweden that have come a long way in the BIM process. Whenever you make a drawing out of a 3D model, you lose a lot of valuable information, which in turn slows down the processes and potentially leads to different problems”, says Kennet Kurman, Manager, Civil Engineering at Citec.

“We enrich 3D models with information that can later be used for maintenance purposes, renovations and other measures regarding the facility.”

Citec has been using 3D models for a long time, and is thus well positioned to implement the principles of BIM in its way of working. One step on the way is to enrich 3D models with information that can later be used for maintenance purposes, renovations and other measures regarding the facility.

“One of the key thoughts with BIM is to view facilities from a life cycle perspective. Digitalization enables smarter management in the construction industry”, explains Niclas Öster, Director, Information Services at Citec. “Traditionally, we have made 3D models mainly to facilitate design and construction. In the near future, our models can also be used for other purposes. A lot of valuable information on how the building should be maintained and operated can be attached to the models, which makes them useful throughout the life cycle of the facility.”

Once BIM is put into action, it has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry. In addition to making construction and facility management smoother and more efficient, BIM also creates totally new opportunities. BIM requires new ways of thinking in the construction industry, which explains why the full implementation of the concept will take some time. It is not always easy to start using 3D models, if you have been using 2D models for decades. Another aspect that differs from the traditional way of working is that a great deal of the efforts must be made in the beginning of a project, and not later on as is the norm in the construction industry.

One of Citec’s aims in the near future is to be able to offer customers not only enriched 3D models, but the possibility to put on virtual reality glasses and step into the 3D model. Compared to looking at drawings on a screen, this will give customers a superior experience of how a building will work once it has been constructed.

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