Anticipating a BIM Boom

The numbers don't lie - 2009 was a remarkably tough year for the global construction industry. Spending in construction fell by way of a seemingly improbable 12.4 percent whilst every single state along with the District of Columbia lost construction jobs. While employing approximately five percent of the country's workforce, fully 20 percent of recession-related job losses were in construction. These happenings were unprecedented and proof of the industry's tumultuous year.

The troubles aren't more likely to dissipate this year and the ones looking for a huge recovery will undoubtedly be disappointed. The Associated General Contractors of America recently conducted a survey of 700 of its members on their outlook for the in 2010 2010. The results were overwhelmingly negative with 90 percent indicating there will be no recovery this upcoming year.

Yet despite these grim facts, all hope isn't lost for all those in the construction industry. For just one, the federal stimulus has kicked in and raised the amount of publicly funded projects. Also the AGC's Chief Economist Ken Simonson reports the expenses of building materials are in an all-time low, meaning now could be a good time to build.

How does technology match the recovery? Building Information Modeling (BIM), along with other industry-specific technologies, is proving to be effective time-savers and bring a whole new meaning to collaborative effort. If any business needs a reason to smile this year 2010, look no further than BIM.


In line with the official definition given by the AGC, BIM is "the procedure of generating and managing a building information model through the use of three-dimensional, intelligent design information." Its presence is nothing new in the industry; it's been around since the late 1980s.
However, only recently has BIM begun to emerge being an industry favorite. For many in the industry BIM represents a tremendous solution to cut time by early problem identification. S3H, Inc., a pre-construction specialist in Las Vegas, NV, utilizes its expertise in BIM to deliver cost-effective HVAC and plumbing solutions, in particular used it that is why.

"We have used BIM from Day One. It we can work with the project design and construction team and identify problems early, such as for example potential clashes with other building trades. You have all the information before you start. It's a lot cheaper to recognize and fix problems on paper than it is to repair them during construction," says President Vatche Sarkoyan.

According to Sarkoyan, the procedure eliminates the need for Superintendents to trouble-shoot in the field, that may decrease productivity, be inefficient and is demoralizing.

One who agrees with Sarkoyan is CEO David Cullen of JP Cullen & Sons of Janesville, WI, who says BIM helped save a two-phase renovation of the 1917 historic Sterling Hall at the University of Wisconsin.

"We are the general contractor and you can find separate prime contractors. We got behind through the first phase also it was a significant problem. Then we came on board with BIM and caused the other contractors to bring back the construction schedule and materials movement. They've commented that bringing BIM on saved the project," says Cullen.


As much of an impact as current versions of BIM have on today's contractors and construction companies, constant improvements to its capabilities will leave a much greater mark on the industry. Like any other technology, many companies have gone through generations and generations of software to improve and refine BIM.

Recently, one software company that makes a version of BIM - various developers produce different variations of BIM software - has made recent improvements to improve efficiency. In accordance with Tekla, its latest BIM software includes a better solution for cast-in-place concrete design and detailing, better IFC data exchange, better usage of reference models and improved numbering and model publishing tools.

<img width="357" src=""> of BIM software, such as Tekla's latest, are also helping designers, engineers and architects push towards greener building. "Moving towards a greener installation is really a small step forward but nonetheless portion of the bigger sustainability benefits that implementing BIM can bring to construction," stated Risto R�ty, Tekla's Executive Vice President.

As well as newer, better versions of BIM software, the industry's acceptance of this technology have gone even more. Many companies, such as Ameri-CAD out of Allen, TX, have begun offering BIM implementation and consulting services. Ameri-CAD offers analysis, implementation, training, support, and services.

Meanwhile, the AGC is up to speed with BIM. In March the association is offering a BIM 101 Convention in Orlando. As of this convention, various BIM experts will explain what the technology is, what its benefits are and they'll help attendees implement it for their own companies.
With all this happening and many more, it's likely that 2010 will not only be the year of the Tiger, but the year of the BIM.

Pub: 29 Jun 2023 21:25 UTC
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