Industry News, Products & Solutions
September 23, 2021

3 Tips for using BIM as a Database throughout the Project Lifecycle

The concept of using BIM (building information models) as a database is beginning to gain traction with large AEC firms as new technologies emerge making the sharing of information easier and expanding the use of data in the design, construction, and management phases of the project. Better data allows you to predict outcomes, optimize decision making, automate processes and analysis, and document conditions for future reference. For example, LIDAR laser scans track as-built construction at the job site with accuracy down to the eighth of an inch. Comparing these scans against BIM data helps identify construction deviations and prevent costly rework. It also helps measure earned value by tracking as-built progress for each trade. The cycle is completed when as-built data is used to update federated BIM models. Consequently, building information models have the potential to contain a vast amount of data. If managed and structured correctly, we can use of this data at all phases of the building lifecycle. BIM data can also be used to analyze design against performance criteria. This ensures that the required environmental and building code standards are met. Once a project has been completed, the BIM database also serves as a valuable reference source for building owners and their facilities maintenance teams to operate the asset. To better help you understand how this helps, we’ve created a new eBook that goes over different use cases for BIM data. Below is a sneak peak at three of the blockbuster tips for using BIM as a Database Throughout the Project Lifecycle.

1. It's crucial to choose a consistent approach to data.

The construction industry is migrating toward greater use of data to manage building projects. This requires integrating data from multiple sources. For BIM and VDC teams embracing a handful of best practices will make creating a functional BIM database easier and lead to smoother handovers.  

When planning for the project, it’s crucial to establish a Project Execution Plan and commit to a standardized approach to data. While there are many BIM and Data management standards, it is critical to think about how to align data across the project lifecycle. 

Best Practices CSI MasterFormat and UniFormat are preferred standards for organizing information. Both systems can be used to categorize design systems and manage financial data. It will also be essential to build accountability into processes for inputting and validating needed information. At every handover point in the building lifecycle, the focus should be on aligning teams with a consistent approach to data to avoid knowledge loss.

2. Using BIM as a database in design.

Building information models find their roots in the three-dimensional design of buildings. However, transitioning the BIM to a database allows project owners to forecast the performance of building control systems in real-time as aesthetic design changes are made. Furthermore, building material options can be evaluated from a performance and cost perspective before any orders are placed. This is important as commercial and civil project owners migrate toward design-build projects and require a fast turnaround on how design changes will impact construction and operating budgets. 

BIM data allows owners the opportunity to manage project operating budgets during the design phase by forecasting the energy use of completed projects. BIM is incredibly powerful in automating complex calculations that translate the impact of design changes on the performance of building control systems. For example, the same HVAC model can be used to analyze solar heat gain of the building based on location and orientation on-site. This analysis will help inform decisions about the HVAC design and ensure that future occupants are comfortable.

With the rising cost of building materials, the BIM database allows designers and project owners to weigh design options and visualize the impact on construction budgets in real-time. For example, utilizing information within the BIM database helps select building facade options based on material costs and labor related to installation. This helps keep projects within budget during the design phase.

Transitioning the BIM model to a database allows for data-driven design that contemplates the impact of design considerations on building control performance and material costs.

3. A path toward more extensive use of BIM as a database.

As a single source, the collaborative BIM database has a future; we realize the benefits through strategic adoption at each phase of the building life cycle. While the industry has yet to fully adopt BIM as a database due to several limiting factors (Permitting is a 2D Process, Contracts reference drawings, not models, etc.), many AEC firms are taking small steps at each phase of the project lifecycle to make better use of the data that does exist.

The push comes from project owners who value this information in making data-driven design/build decisions and their general contractor partners who use it to track construction progress. Using BIM as a database in the design, construction, operations, and facilities management of assets are facilitated with the growth of technologies such as LIDAR scanning and robotics. Technology is impacting the construction industry rapidly by capturing data and empowering the entire ecosystem; architects, project owners, general contractors, and specialty trades with better decision support and improving profits.

Interested in learning more? Download our new BIM data eBook today for more tips for using BIM as a database in construction to improve your project lifecycle.

Want to see how the Avvir platform harnesses the power of your reality capture data to automate progress tracking, QC, and create an as-built BIM? Contact us today for a demo so we can help you focus on solving issues, not finding them.

Tags: Automation, BIM, construction data, construction team, construction technology, reality capture analysisEdit

3 Tips for using BIM as a Database throughout the Project Lifecycle

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