1. BIM/VDC Software
We believe that BIM/VDC (Building Information Modelling/Virtual Design & Construction) is the most important technology that the Construction Industry MUST embrace.
In Australia, design and construction professionals operate in a very high-cost environment. Productivity and waste reduction are essential for our continued prosperity – and yet we continue to be hamstrung by errors and other compounding issues that technology should have made antiquated.
The problem with technology is that as it becomes more prevalent in the day-to-day business of our industry, the easier it is to become lost – not knowing which platform to use, or who to believe. And although the architecture and manufacturing industries are now embracing BIM/VDC, a large percentage of the construction industry (particularly the residential construction industry) are unaware of its advantages, and don’t even understand what technology is now available.
Although larger Construction Companies are beginning to embrace BIM/VDC, many Residential Builders still think that it is not applicable to them – and that it will not offer them any tangible benefits. However, this could not be further from the truth.
The benefits of BIM/VDC are many, but simply put, it will: provide the ability to virtually test a number of factors, without having to waste the time and resources to actually build the structure; decrease project delivery time; keep projects under budget; reduce errors and waste; increase the efficiency & quality of your communication; facilitate better collaboration; and raise your level of Customer satisfaction.
The Construction Industry NEEDS to embrace BIM/VDC – including Residential Builders.
The adoption of tablets/smartphones, in conjunction with BIM/VDC, will dramatically impact the Construction Industry.
Combined with BIM/VDC technology, builders will be able to access an ‘on-site’ version of the project, and they will be able to quickly add relevant notes, queries and dimensions. This will enable companies to be able to act as a cohesive team, whether they are on site, or in the office. Moreover, it will greatly improve communication between Design Professionals and the Construction Industry.
RFI’s are tedious and painstakingly slow. Surveys estimate that the Construction Industry spends at least 30 minutes for each question raised in the field. On top of this, most RFI’s are not visual in nature and require deciphering, which only exacerbates the problem.
However, with tablet/smartphone technology, combined with BIM/VDC technology, this can now be done in less than 5 minutes. Builders can simply open an ‘on-site’ 3D model and generate visual RFI’s, or open a PDF of the plans, markup the problem, and then email the RFI.
With the advent of this technology, Builders will be able to track and generate site analytics, track products (QR codes), and much more. Paper will be phased out (or at least minimized). Let’s face it, paper is expensive, hard to manage, environmentally unfriendly, and antiquated. In the near future, paperless construction sites may become the norm.
3. Augmented Reality
Although Augmented Reality is still in its infancy, it is the next evolution in the BIM/VDC process, and has the potential to revolutionize the Construction Industry. Combined with tablets/smartphones, or ‘Augmented Reality glasses’, Builders will have the potential to see the BIM/VDC model in the real-world environment. Simply put, this means that Builders and Trades will be able to be on site and overlay the virtual images and data from the BIM/VDC model directly onto the physical space. It will look as though the building has already been constructed.
Real time visualization will create better insight into the design and construction details, and completely eradicate the need for 2D drawings and paper. Imagine being able to actually see the site setbacks, or to overlay the BIM/VDC virtual model on top of the as-built construction, for comparison and error analysis.
The benefits of Augmented Reality boggle the mind. But one thing is certain: it will dramatically enhance the BIM/VDC workflow, and make it even more essential that the Construction Industry has fully embraced BIM/VDC technology.