Database examples

Four examples of using BIM for construction

BIM is not just for design; it also has many uses for construction. Here are four practical examples from Product Owner Alric Fruehauf at Allplan of how to use BIM for construction

BIM is a widely accepted method for the design phase, but often overlooked as a viable methodology for construction activities. Yet, this could be a missed opportunity for the AEC industry to not only increase its efficiency and improve its competitiveness, but also to address the skills shortage by attracting young talent with cutting-edge technology.

While the potential uses of BIM may be most obvious for design activities, there are many ways to use BIM for construction activities.

  1. Develop building models more easily

Contractors must process all data provided to them for the construction phase. Sometimes there may not be a BIM model available, and it may seem like a waste of time and money to create a model from the designer’s drawings. However, with an accelerated modeling approach through intuitive features, creating a 3D building model might be easier than you think.

For example, Allplan provides such functionality with tools such as “Create walls from lines” or visual scripts. By simply importing 2D plans into Allplan using several interfaces, wall types can be created and distinguished with different colors. This allows easy filtering of walls later and helps the structure of the model. Very quickly, a 3D model of a building geometry can be created and used to visualize the structure and plan its construction.

  1. Accurately calculate quantities and costs

Creating a model can be quick and easy, but getting the most out of BIM requires information about the materials to be added. This can help create accurate bills of quantities, which can then be used to develop reliable tender prices. The model’s precise quantitative information can help eliminate uncertainty and ensure that all potential costs are identified.

Although it is easy to derive information such as concrete volumes from an imported or created model, sometimes there are unmodeled elements that also need to be costed. A good example is the formwork and reinforcement needed for cast-in-place concrete. These elements have a cost but are often not included in the model.

With Allplan, connecting unmodeled and modeled elements is simple. Simply use the estimates you’ve used in the past, save them in a fully customizable catalog, and assign them to the items in question. The result is a comprehensive report, showing all the quantities, along with the verifiable calculations behind them.

  1. Significantly improve the construction schedule

Creating a construction schedule is an important task, whether in-house or with external contractors. Construction schedules are often prepared in a program like Microsoft Project and disconnected from the model, which means many benefits are missed. With Bimplus by Allplan, you can continue to use Microsoft Project but with an important additional advantage: the visualization of the construction model at any stage of the planning.

A visual representation of construction stages throughout the build phase gives the team a solid foundation for collaboration. Site personnel can view the schedule visually and requirements can be communicated easily, such as which items need to be built in a given period. It also helps to identify spatial boundaries to prevent different trades or sub-contractors from colliding on site. The construction manager on site can even update the status of each task here, so that, for example, the billing department can get a live overview. Collaboration and planning are therefore significantly improved.

  1. Effectively plan site layouts

The most obvious use of BIM in construction is to use the model as a digital replica of the site to plan construction activities. Allplan offers content such as cranes, traffic signs, concrete pumps and vehicle path calculation tools to help you plan the perfect layout. The user simply places the objects where they are needed and gets a 3D visualization, as well as a 2D plan. You can test different variations of site layouts before you even start working on the site, which can lead to considerable savings in time and money.

The advantage of BIM here is the data-driven decision-making it enables. For example, collision checks for cranes or other construction machinery should be done quickly and easily, as should checking if temporary equipment will fit in the allocated space.

Even time-dependent site layouts can be created with minimal effort. Bills of materials can be generated quickly from the model so that the equipment needed for each job can be precisely planned. Visualization also allows for better communication of problems and solutions with all parties involved.

*Please note this is a commercial profile.