Building Information Modeling is a powerful tool for design and construction in the 21st century. Not only is there a strong case for BIM being an effective tool for sustainable design in the project planning of energy efficiency goals – particularly towards Zero Net Energy implementation in green buildings design that has identified that goal for their project – but also as a business consideration for effective cost saving, starting in the design phase.
There are many factors that could lead to the overall cost savings on a building project using BIM. The SmartMarket report on BIM for Complex Buildings states that BIM allows for project teams to maintain closer control of costs during the planning, design and construction of complex buildings.
A Case for Cost reduction
Looking at some of the statistics from the report, there is a clear indication that BIM is becoming the preferred tool for collaborative project planning and design, and that its use has the potential to result in some substantial cost savings for those responsible for managing costs in the various stages of the building’s lifecycle.
In the case of an overall reduction in the final construction costs of the projects, 45% of respondents indicated that the implementation of BIM resulted in between a 5-10% reduction of initially planned costs. When it comes to the process of improving the control of construction costs of the project, 61% of architects rated BIM’s impact between a medium and very high level in this regard. For the case of reduction of final construction cost, 47% of architects rated BIM’s impact between a medium and very high level.
The Business Impact of BIM in All Phases
While cost reduction is likely the eventual outcome of BIM’s implementation in the project, the business case for cost reduction is not limited to project cost planning and estimation. There are many aspects of the planning, design and construction phase where BIM could be impactful in eventual cost reduction, and it could be said the BIM aids in cost reduction in its use throughout all of these phases.
Some examples are:
> Documentation and constructability
> Estimating and Bidding
> Construction phasing and logistics
> Schedule and project duration
> Owner engagement and understanding
While it is worth investigating the true impacts of BIM on all of these impacts individually, there is still a broad message of positive business impacts that can be derived from some statistics on BIM’s impact here.
For example, over 70% of architects and engineers reported between a medium and very high score in having an increased ability to manage the project scope with BIM. 90% of contractors reported between a medium and very high score on having an improved ability to plan construction phasing and logistics of the project. Over 60% of architects and engineers reported BIM having between a medium and very high impact on improved ability to achieve planned milestones for the project.
With tight project deadlines, legal and construction fees and heavy fines governing much of the activity around achieving project deadlines for construction projects, it is clear that BIM is a tool that can allow architects, engineers, and designers the freedom to focus on the efficacy of their considered design elements, instead of worrying about overhanging penalties.
And, with all of the considered implications having an overall effect on the eventual business case for the building in both the design and construction phase and the building coming into its eventual state of what was planned for it as an investment, it is clear that the implementation of BIM in all of these phases presents a powerful business case for its use.