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The future is set for BIM

What exactly is BIM and what advantages does it offer for planners and architects?

As an important component in the continuing trend of digitisation, Building Information Modelling/Management, or BIM for short, is changing the planning and construction process for everyone involved. Because BIM is not a software, but rather a model-oriented planning method that makes use of already existing technological capabilities. That presents a major opportunity for more precise planning and on-schedule construction, while increasing safety and reducing costs during the construction and operation of buildings. In providing integrated intelligent BIM data for the planning process, Vaillant has assumed a pioneering role among manufacturers of heating systems in cooperation with planners and architects.

We all know that the world is becoming digital; with respect to architecture and construction this started in the 1980s and 90s with the widespread introduction of CAD and AVA systems in architecture and planning offices. As a result of further optimisation and the interdisciplinary implementation of planning and construction processes, BIM as a methodical approach now characterises numerous construction projects and construction sites at the national and international level. BIM-based planning relies on digital building models throughout the entire life cycle of a building. The model consistently visualises the physical and functional characteristics of a building with respect to information content and quality.

Cooperation is everything

There are many advantages to interdisciplinary cooperation between everyone involved in the planning: a new form of teamwork and communication makes it possible to combine planning processes that were previously viewed in isolation to achieve comprehensive success as a result of joint project responsibility. A collision check makes it possible to minimise planning errors and misunderstandings at an early stage in order to ensure smoother processes and to reduce construction costs. Ideally, this already starts with transparent information from the client, followed by interdisciplinary collaboration between the architects, engineers and technical planners, the involvement of manufacturers and contractors, as well as long-term operation and eventual recycling of construction materials at the time of demolition. The declared policy goal is to increase use of digital building models for the planning, construction and operation of buildings. In Norway, BIM has been obligatory for public buildings since 2010, in Great Britain since 2016. And in Germany? Currently, for projects starting at 5 million euros, as well as the construction, conversion or expansion of civil buildings, the use of digital means is examined during the requirements planning. Starting in 2020, regular implementation will apply for all infrastructure projects. As a result, it is also necessary to further improve the standardisation of data exchange technology (IFC interfaces) and to create additional standards and directives.

Manufacturer-specific BIM data and components

An important aspect of this new planning process is the earlier commitment to particular construction methods or products. In this respect manufacturers are also required to provide BIM-capable data that can be integrated in the respective planning status with a changeable level of detail (LoD) and then later included in the invitation for tenders – preferably with an open BIM concept that is software-independent. This means that components and products are supplemented from the very beginning with intelligent information about the characteristics that can be accessed at any time in accordance with the respective planning status and adapted as necessary. To provide this necessary information about products of the Vaillant Group, Vaillant entered into a cooperation in 2016 with the software experts from Stabiplan in order to provide BIM-capable product data for direct download in different formats.

Download ithere.

Fit for building in the future

Long-term survival on the market necessitates timely consideration of this topic. A wait-and-see attitude or unwillingness to accept responsibility is unproductive for both providers and users of BIM solutions. Everyone involved must therefore define requirements, identify problems and develop appropriate solutions – because acceptance of the new planning method and the changes in the processes will open up fascinating possibilities for building in the future.