BIM excellence is found also in other parts of the world, but Finland is still in the lead overall. Yet, the top position is no longer self-evident since even English politicians talk about BIM models, according to Professor Arto Kiviniemi, who teaches at University of Liverpool.
In 2012 the English government decided to start requiring BIM in all public projects and rapid progress has been made ever since. The most convincing demonstration of the breakthrough must be the fact that the concept of BIM has become part of the language of politicians. – BIM is considered a means of increasing national competitiveness and a product with great export potential, Kiviniemi continues.
England does not threaten Finland’s leadership, yet. Despite a lot of talk, they are way behind since more than a third of English sector companies are unaware of – or at least do not use – even CAD.
Countries with the largest percentages of BIM publications in international research sources
(Source: Carneiro, Lins & Neto: Spread of BIM – A Comparative Analysis of Scientific Production in Brazil and Abroad 2012)
BIM is, however, a hot issue also in many other countries: Brazil has strong and active BIM expertise, China must increase BIM implementation radically to meet its energy efficiency requirements, and BIM is being adopted at an accelerating rate in the United States. The earlier great differences between states are narrowing, which tells that BIM is becoming mainstream. – For companies that have adopted it, it has increasingly also become the leading method, Kiviniemi notes.
Yet, there still remain many white spots on the map: in Southern Europe almost two-thirds of sector actors are blissfully ignorant of BIM, and only a small section of the remaining third uses BIM models. Thus, export opportunities exist even within our own economic region.
Even prefabrication can be customized by adopting BIM
Kiviniemi considers it a problem that there is no single optimal solution for implementing construction. Many contradictory demands exist, and many issues must be considered in order to achieve the best end result.
– In the future, many more alternatives than usually must be examined, Kiviniemi emphasizes. – Tools, i.e. algorithms, have been developed that create so many options that we can be certain that the best possible one can be found among them. Finding them will take more time than we are accustomed to, but the benefits are huge. In a case example, a few dozen additional hours of work resulted in savings of USD 27 million over the life-cycle of a building, Kiviniemi adds.
Seeking for alternatives is thus quite profitable. Yet, other modeling tools are also needed. The most important among them are those whose impacts can be demonstrated to the end user. Kiviniemi stresses that when pondering the adoption of BIM, one of the most important things is to marshal facts in support of decision making.
– As the focus moves increasingly toward prefabrication and logistics, the savings generated by BIM can be in excess of 50 percent in the case of walls. BIM enables particularly careful design which, again, allows flexible, customized construction that does not just produce standardized components, Kiviniemi notes.
Great savings in facility management
Kiviniemi has found facility management to be the biggest challenge in the adoption of BIM.
– The great benefits accruing to property owners from BIM have been touted for the last twenty years. Nearly all large property owners have introduced BIM in design and construction, but there is very little evidence of its utilization after commissioning. Measured results are hard to find.
A grand exception does, however, exist: Manchester City Council (MCC), which owns and administers the city’s buildings, introduced BIM at the end of the design and beginning of the construction stage of the renovation of its main library thereby proving that even such ad hoc cooperation in a BIM environment brings significant benefits.
Presently MCC is assessing the value of using BIM in facility management also at the grassroots level through practical examples. While the current process of replacing a motor in a ventilation system requires 14 hours of work with a delay of four weeks, BIM allows doing the job in three hours with a delay of one working day. Another example is the inexplicable accumulation of water in the system. Fixing of that problem by the traditional method takes 23 hours with a delay of 12 weeks – with BIM it takes 10 hours with a delay of one working day.
MCC made a clear decision to introduce BIM in its facility management. The greatest benefit was considered that the duration of significant disturbance from renovation work was shortened from weeks to one day. – The accuracy of the figures can be discussed, but they were measured by MCC itself, Kiviniemi reminds.