Far from being a mere software, BIM is a comprehensive process for creating, managing, and using the entire data of a specific project.
We refer to the process as a Building Information Model, which includes the digital parameters for every aspect of the physical project.

With the rising costs of production today, it forces both design teams and builders to look for better, more efficient ways to build projects on time, and on budget.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) originated in the mid-1980s and has risen in popularity within the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is so much more than a technology—it’s a complex design and construction process that helps both design teams and builders create innovative buildings of the future.
But what are the benefits of BIM?
Traditional design pre-BIM was on a 2D plain. Because of this, it was easier to not “see” what was wrong before the construction team started building. According to Propeller Aero, as reported on October 10, 2021, the ten most reasons cost overruns occur on construction projects included:

Most Common Cause of Cost Overrun:

  • Inaccurate project estimates / project scope
  • Project design errors
  • Unforeseen project changes
  • Administration errors
  • Poor communication
  • Underestimating the timeline required
Most Common Cause of Cost Overrun

Ten Construction Cost Overrun Statistics:

1: Nine out of ten projects experience cost overrun

The vast majority of construction projects completed in twenty countries over the course of a 70-year period—85%, to be exact! — experienced cost overruns.
The overall average overrun was 28%.
The company that can nail the estimate process and keep a project running on budget will therefore have an enormous advantage over the competition.

2: In three years studied, only 31% of all projects came within 10% of their budget

Just 25% of projects came within 10% of their original deadlines over that same time period.

3: Large projects take 20% longer to finish than expected and are up to 80% over budget

The same McKinsey study found that construction productivity has declined in some markets since the 1990s.
Nine out of ten projects experience cost overrun

4: Construction material costs rose by 10% in 2019

The 10% rise in material costs far exceeds the overall inflation rate of 1.8% in 2019. It also means that efficiency with material quantities is more important than ever. The stakes of waste grow increasingly higher year after year.

5: Poor communication is the root cause of project failure one third of the time

A PMI study found that poor communication leads to one third of construction project failures. In this study, “failure” meant overrun of cost or timeline (or both). The same study found that communication problems had a negative impact on projects more than half the time.

6: 45% of construction professionals report spending more time than expected on non-optimal activities

What were these non-optimal activities?
The biggest culprits were fixing mistakes, looking for project data, and managing conflict resolution.

7: Wasted time accounted for 35% of construction professionals’ time on non-productive activities

This means that they wasted over 14 hours per week on unproductive activities like looking for project information, resolving conflicts, and managing mistakes and rework.
75% of construction companies provide employees with mobile devices—but only 21.7% actively use mobile apps

8: Productivity changes could save the industry $1.63 trillion per year

According to McKinsey, boosting productivity could save nearly $1.7 trillion annually. That’s a huge impact from tidying up roughly 14 hours of work each week per person!

9: 75% of construction companies provide employees with mobile devices—but only 21.7% actively use mobile apps

Speaking of productivity gaps, that’s a huge, missed opportunity.
The vast majority of companies purchase and supply their PMs and field superintendents with mobile devices, but less than a quarter use three or more mobile apps on projects.

10: 61% of respondents report that technology reduced project error

With project cost overrun abounding, what can companies do to improve performance and shore up their bottom line? The numbers don’t lie. 61% reported that technology processes reduced project error.

Brighter days ahead

Here’s a bonus stat that should leave things on a cheery note—because cost overrun doesn’t have to be part of the new normal for construction.
According to the World Economic Forum, full-scale digitization could save $1.2 trillion in the Design & Engineering and Construction phases alone.
There’s an enormous opportunity for construction companies to cast off inefficient processes for new ones by making use of technology. (Aero, 2021) [1]
Imagine it, Draw it, See It, Build it.

Imagine it, Draw it, See It, Build it.

According to the SmartMarket Report created by DODGE Data & Analytics 2020,[2] one of the major benefits of utilizing BIM for the construction process is the opportunity for prefabrication.
“We can use prefabrication of single and multi-trade assemblies in a variety of building types. Thus, saving on installation time and creating less waste.”
Prefabrication is the building of single and multi-trade assemblies off site in a closed environment sheltered for the outside elements, which creates a much easier environment to control production, material waste, and safety.
The prefabricated assemblies can then transport to the jobsite and install in hours versus days.
This also allows for a better capability to track and inventory parts otherwise lost in the field during construction.
The report also states that of companies who use pre-fabrication:
  • 89% Improved Productivity
  • 90% Improved Quality
  • 87% Increased Schedule Certainty
  • 81% Improved Cost Predictability
  • 81% Reduced Waste Generated by Construction
  • 79% Improved Safety Performance
The report also states that the Impact of BIM on Schedule and Budget Performance When Using Prefabrication (Percentage of Companies by BIM Usage Reporting Improved Performance):
  • 30% Improved Schedule Performance Not Using BIM
  • 48% Improved Schedule Performance Using BIM on Less Than 50% of Their Projects
  • 60% Improved Schedule Performance Using BIM on 50% or More of Their Projects
BIM is now being used in projects around the world by both large and small companies. As its use grows, companies will continue to gain benefits that BIM offers, all of which are vital to the success and maximizing productivity throughout a project.
The BIM process is now being used in both large and small design and construction projects worldwide and has become a “must do” method in many major construction markets.

The Benefits of BIM?

So, what are the actual benefits of BIM? We cannot ignore the benefits of using the BIM processes.
While it allows design teams to design projects better and closer to the desired budget, it also benefits the construction industry by identifying potential cost overrides before they occur and also allows for shorter building schedules because of the amount of pre-planning involved.
Imagine it, Draw it, See It, Build it.
Some benefits of BIM are:
  1. Improved Budgeting
  2. Improved Schedule Performance
  3. Improved Cost Effectiveness
  4. Improved On-Site Installation Time
  5. Improved Quality Control
  6. Improved Labor Costs
  7. Improved Job-site Safety
  8. Less Impact on the Environment During Construction by Shorter Build Durations
As reported by Repulicworld.com, the China-based enterprise Broad Group developed a 10-story steel apartment building in just over a day.
Apparently, the developers used what they termed “Living Building System”.
The developer constructed a 30-story building in Changsha City, China in just 360 hours by using a bolt-together modular unit system they dubbed “Living Building Systems”.
You can see the five-minute YouTube video here: 30-Story Building Built In 15 Days (Time Lapse)
The article states that they pre-constructed the building in small building modules. They designed each module to be the same size as a standard shipping container for ease of transport. After being assembled in the Broad Groups factory, they transported them to the project site for installation.
They attributed the success of the project to the immense amount of pre-planning done before the construction actually started and the ability to follow a pre-planned schedule.
Critics will criticize the quality of the finished product, but we cannot ignore their ability to build efficiently as well as fast.
Unlike the traditional method of using computer spreadsheets, BIM helps automate construction information collected from the model.
This replaces manual work that often causes human error.
Here are some common instances of how BIM helps in daily construction:
It generates information such as types of material needed, quality, quantity, and length, all from the model.
We can generate a list of materials and other information from the model, enabling a more accurate estimate.
Using the BIM process, we can resolve major construction issues before they occur.
Using the BIM process allows us to design more efficient project and maintain the project budget for design.
Imagine it, Draw it, See It, Build it.
  • Project visualization

During the construction, sometimes we can’t imagine what the design intent is.
Using BIM allows both the design team and the construction team the ability to “see” the actual condition beforehand, which brings greater opportunity and insight into any problem or situation before potential costly delays.
  • Accurate Budgets

    One of the greatest advantages of a BIM model is the data collected during its creation. Individual Families are used to populate the model and it can collect exact quantities upon completion.
    We can use this for material cost estimates to material purchasing and being a tool to compare the project estimate versus the actual project costs.
  • Prefabrication Opportunities

    Once completed, the BIM model can create prefabrication opportunities. We can assemble multiple sections and assemblies off site, eliminating hours off of installation.
    This can also reduce the labor costs of installation, benefiting both the project schedule and the builders’ bottom line.
  • Reduction of labor required for installation and greater cost benefits

    By utilizing the BIM process and implementing prefabrication of as much as possible, we reduce labor costs because of reduced installation durations and the lack of needed journeymen personal to figure out the installation.
    We can complete more installations with apprentices to journeymen ratios being reduced.
  • Better Project Safety

    It’s simple math: the fewer people we have on-site and for shorter durations, the less likely we are to have accidents and costly mistakes.
    Add to the equation the lack of need for storing material and transporting it to the work area allows for faster completion of areas after completion of the installations.
  • Competitiveness

    By utilizing BIM during the design phase, we worked less on issues during construction and helps the overall design budget.
    By using prefabrication opportunities due to using the BIM process during construction, contractors can benefit from reduced labor costs and can be more competitive in bidding projects.
BIM as a process both during design and during construction are creating better ways for both a competitive market and better constructed buildings.
As this paper has reported, the benefits of using BIM both during design and construction are both beneficial and cost effective as well as better for the environment by reducing the duration of construction project, thus lessening the possibility and opportunity for environmental accidents.
BIM is a powerful tool that can help your business save time and money. If you want to learn more about how BIM can benefit your company, contact MEPCor today. Our team of experts will be happy to discuss how this innovative technology can streamline your workflow and improve your bottom line.

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[1] Propeller Aero/ 10 Construction Project Cost Overrun Statistics You Need to Hear/ PropellerAero.com/ 25.10.2021/ https://www.propelleraero.com/blog/10-construction-project-cost-overrun-statistics-you-need-to-hear/Accessed 05/03/22

[2] DODGE Data & Analytics/ Prefabrication and Modular Construction 2020/construction.com/2020/ https://www.construction.com/toolkit/reports/prefabrication-modular-construction-2020/Accessed 05/03/2021