Designing and constructing buildings has become increasingly challenging in recent years. There are so many products to choose from and there is always the latest and greatest offering, but will they work long term? There are many examples of products that initially saved time and money, only to wreak havoc later on through failures and costly replacements. Also, what you design and specify today may not be used on the project due to future budget cuts and economic downturns. Cheaper alternatives can often cost more ultimately than tried-and-tested products due to damages and failures caused by using inferior products. Maintenance is also a consideration – what product is located where, and how it is serviced and maintained are important factors when choosing what to specify.
What is BIM?
One initiative gaining traction globally, that addresses some of these issues, is Building Information Modelling or BIM. BIM-MEP AUS is a global industry-leading initiative that strives to address many of the barriers holding back the adoption of BIM in the Australian building and construction sector. It provides a platform for the 3D modelling of building elements and their component products as a single system, then tracks and maintains the building for its life.
The BIM-MEP website has this to say about itself “BIM-MEP AUS was conceived by and is currently managed through the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA). BIM-MEP AUS aims to provide the Australian construction industry with a best-of-breed national BIM practice that supports designers, constructors and ultimately facility managers to leverage BIM and IPD [Integrated Project Delivery].”
In simple terms, BIM allows developers and builders to design and document a building in 3D within a single system. Such a system can be used to review and adjust the design, ensure the building gets built as per the specification and allows for efficient, cost effective future maintenance. Many large construction companies have moved onto this system and are using BIM in all their major projects.
Benefits of BIM
- Improvements in productivity;
- Improved workplace practices and reduced onsite conflict;
- Reduction in re-works and material wastes;
- Better health and safety in design and performance;
- Reduced costs;
- Environmentally sustainable design and operations;
- Reduction in schedule overruns;
- Improved building operability and energy efficiency;
- Cost reductions and improvements in competitiveness; and
- Improved business to business relationships.
The single biggest benefit of BIM is the reduced risk of major failures. The reason for this is that the design is more easily reviewed and scrutinised throughout the 3D modelling process as the building elements come together and various construction issues are solved on the computer screen rather than on site. Following the BIM process from design through to construction and final sign off ensures all contractors and product manufacturers are accountable and traceable throughout the process.
In recent years, many product failures could have been avoided by using this robust design and documentation process. Zetco Valves has a comprehensive range of 3D models available on the BIM-MEP AUS website which are being downloaded and incorporated into major projects around Australia. For more information visit the BIM-MEP AUS website or contact us for more information.