The concept of Building Information Modelling (BIM) is not new to the building construction industry. Since its inception in 1987, BIM has been welcomed by the global AEC community because of the varied value proposition it offers. From increasing design efficiency to efficient project management, BIM has proved to be extremely beneficial among all the different stakeholders associated with a construction project.
Renowned architect and urban designer, Mr. Samir Shaikh, shared his perspective on the value proposition offered by BIM platforms and how Indian building construction industry is gradually starting to yield benefits from it. Currently associated with BDP – India Studio as the Design Director, Samir has over two decades of experience in working on numerous construction projects across India and the USA. His wide and varied experience includes projects for various international design consultancies, government bodies and private developers whilst his main focus has been planning of townships, IT parks and residential developments. Being associated with an award winning UK based design firm and spending substantial time working in the USA, he has enjoyed the global perspective on BIM when it comes to how construction projects are executed all across the world.
Value proposition – Increasing design efficiency and quality improvement
Amongst all the benefits that BIM extends to a construction project, increasing design efficiency and overall quality improvement of the design deserves special mention. BIM plays the role of an unifying factor for the different stakeholders associated with the project, namely, designers/architects, structural and MEP consultants, general contractors as well as the project owner. This much needed integration keeps all the stakeholders on the same page and invariably increases efficiency of the design process by avoiding unnecessary reworks every time slight changes are made in the design.
Speaking to Geospatial World, Samir said, “In India, whenever we work on a project using any BIM platform, the architects and designers take the lead when it comes to executing the first stages of implementing BIM processes. However, the project moves toward an integrated design process very quickly where all the consultants and engineers associated with the project gets involved at an early stage”. He added, “Earlier, the process used to be quite different and linear. The architects used to take inputs from the clients and there was no involvement of other consultants until the design reached to a certain stage. Once the design gets approved by the clients the MEP and structural consultants came into picture. In case there were changes suggested by these consultants the design would again come back to the architects who would revert it back once they resolve the issues pointed out by the consultants.” As one can imagine, the entire process can be extremely time consuming and uneconomical in terms of project cost. . But, BIM changes it all. BIM ensures all stakeholders are kept in the loop from the early stages of design so that if they notice any issues with the primary design they can get it rectified instantly. In quite a few Indian construction projects even the general contractors associated with the project are able to coordinate on the designs from the early stages. This has extensively helped in increasing efficiency of the design process and the overall improvement of quality of the product. Not only the design stage, BIM has proved to be thoroughly beneficial when it comes to saving time in the subsequent stages of procurement, costing and tendering as well as construction.
“In India, whenever we work on a project using any BIM platform, the architects and designers take the lead when it comes to executing the first stages of implementing BIM processes. However, the project moves toward an integrated design process very quickly where all the consultants and engineers associated with the project gets involved at an early stage”
Role of BIM in waste reduction
In one of the previous blogs of BIM Series, Mr. Parveen Sharma, Head of the BIM Engineers emphasized that approximately 2-2.5% of construction work in India is demolished even before the completion of the project. Samir Shaikh added to Praveen’s comments, stating the reason behind this to be that majority of Indian construction projects still operate with AutoCAD wherein a many things are left to be executed in the construction stage because of lack of quality in visualization. This results in demolition and rework to satisfy design modifications done at later stages. However, by operating using BIM, stakeholders functions in an integrated environment which helps to minimize these errors and collisions because of the excellent visualisation as well as clash detection features. . Using BIM, stakeholders have been able to extensively decrease rework and demolition which has proved to be extremely advantageous in terms of waste reduction. Moreover, with newer methods of construction gradually entering the Indian building construction industry, BIM is becoming indispensable since traditional AutoCAD does not support automation and digitalization. Citing an example of one of the completed projects, Samir added, “We were working on a large public housing project and initially stuck to the traditional construction methodology since the client did not mandate BIM as the medium. However, in one of the subsequent stages of the project we decided to implement mivan-based construction and decided to shift the entire project to a BIM platform. Not only did it bring efficiency in the design stage but also contributed in reducing wastage in the construction stage and made sure that the project ran as per the scheduled timeline.”
“Not only did it bring efficiency in the design stage but also contributed in reducing wastage in the construction stage and made sure that the project ran as per the scheduled timeline.”
Current state of BIM mandate
In order to enjoy the value propositions that BIM platforms have to offer it is imperative that the organizations start mandating the use of BIM. Since India does not have a national level BIM mandate yet in terms of building construction, the onus is on the organizations to regularize the use of BIM throughout different stages of a construction project. Samir emphasized saying, “Recently I have seen some RFPs from clients for mandating BIM in construction projects. But in proportion, it is still negligible compared to the overall economy. Very few consultants are willing to move to a completely BIM-driven work environment as there is no proper demand from the client nor the market till now.” The recent pandemic, however, dictated quite a few organizations to adopt BIM to maintain workflow and ease the process of collaboration among stakeholders who are forced to work remotely. The organizations are gradually realizing the importance of BIM to stay relevant and sustainable in this dynamic industry.
“Recently I have seen some RFPs from clients for mandating BIM in construction projects. But in proportion, it is still negligible compared to the overall economy. Very few consultants are willing to move to a completely BIM-driven work environment as there is no proper demand from the client nor the market till now.”
Further, being part of an organization who has been at the forefront of BIM adoption in India, Samir suggested that unless all the associated consultants and contractors are on board with utilizing BIM platform for the entirety of the project, the full potential of BIM platform cannot be felt. The benefit of BIM can be enjoyed only if all the stakeholders harmoniously work on the same platform throughout the entire lifecycle of the project – from design to all the way to operations and maintenance.
Also read: BIM series #2 – Challenges in CAD to BIM transition in India
Indian Building Construction – BIM Series
Indian Building Construction – BIM is a series of interviews Geospatial Media undertook with leading BIM service providers, end-users and practitioners from leading designers, consultants, contractors & engineers in building construction industry across India. The series will showcase insights shared by these core stakeholders of the industry with regards to BIM transition factors, BIM workflows, & BIM value propositions to overcome the challenges faced by Indian construction industry.