BIM in Construction Management
Using BIM to improve construction management workflows!

In the world of construction management, BIM is becoming an increasingly popular tool. But how can BIM in construction management help you specifically?

In my post, I’ll share how BIM can be used to help with everything from designing and constructing buildings to managing subcontractors and tracking project costs.

So if you’re curious about how BIM can benefit your construction business, keep reading – and don’t miss my three bonus resources at the end too! 😃

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is pretty exciting as it allows construction managers to understand the end-to-end process of a project and accurately forecast costs, schedule, material requirements, labor availability, and other factors.

This understanding can also help construction teams avoid mistakes by providing a clearer picture of what has to be done in what order throughout the project.

There’s a lot to say about this subject, but here are ten of the most popular BIM uses that I see in today’s design and construction industry:

1) Designing Buildings

Let’s start with an easy one 😃

BIM can be used to create virtual models of conceptual buildings.

These models allow design managers to quickly test different layout options and find the optimum solution.

The 3D model can also be used to analyze structural stability 🏛 and identify potential physical clashes 💥 between different building systems.

These analyses can help to avoid potential problems during construction and reduce the need for changes.

BIM Model Example 2
Example BIM model navigation

BIM can also be used to create photorealistic images 🌆 and animations 🎥 of the proposed design.

These visualizations of the finished building give stakeholders a better understanding of what the final product will look like before any construction work has started!

This helps ensure that all of the right decisions are made early enough to avoid unnecessary changes and costs later!

2) Constructing Buildings

BIM can be used to simulate the entire construction process from start to finish!

Construction simulations allow construction managers to optimize the construction sequence and identify potential problems impacting the project schedule or budget.

The use of BIM sequencing can also help to improve safety ⛑ on construction sites as potential hazards can be identified and mitigated.

BIM can also provide 3D phase diagrams and clear instructions ℹ️ for construction workers.

This enables them to better visualize the steps in the construction process 1️⃣ 2️⃣ 3️⃣

This ensures that everyone knows what needs to be done and when to avoid potential delays.

The digital model can also be used to create a virtual walkthrough 🚶‍♂️ of the building, highlighting areas that need special attention.

Using BIM to understand the sequence and communicate steps the construction process can be completed more quickly and with fewer errors.

3) Managing Subcontractors

The use of BIM can help construction managers to better manage subcontractors.

With BIM, construction managers can create a digital project sequence showing the work to be completed by each subcontractor over time.

Project managers can see which subcontractors are working on which parts of the project and track their progress ⏳

The BIM model virtually built over time is called a 4D simulation.

4D Simulation Example GIF by C. Shah
4D Simulation Work by C. Shah

4D simulations allow for a clear understanding of who is responsible for what and when work needs to be completed.

BIM can also help to track subcontractor performance by providing data on the progress of their work.

This data can be used to identify potential problems so that they can be addressed quickly.

The tracked quantities from a BIM model can also be used to create detailed invoices for subcontractors, ensuring that everyone gets paid on time 💰 🕒

Subcontractors can also use the model to create detailed fabrication drawings and production schedules.

This helps them stay organized and on schedule, ensuring they can deliver the materials, prefabricated systems, and products required for the construction project.

4) Tracking Project Costs

BIM models can be tied to the project estimate or a Schedule of Values (SoV) and used to track the costs of a construction project 📈

Connecting the 3D model with quantities and cost is called 5D BIM.

Construction managers can use 5D BIM to see how changes to the design or scope of the project will impact the overall budget.

5D BIM model-based quantities can help with tracking project costs
Project costs over time can be tracked more accurately using model-based quantities – ref: Jon Gomes

The cash flow of a project can also be monitored as work is completed and invoiced.

The model can be used to visualize where the money is being spent and often help identify areas where cost savings can be made.

As BIM elements progress, a connected BIM model also allows construction managers to see where money is being spent – by highlighting the model elements.

Coloring and filtering BIM model elements based on progress
Highlighting and filtering BIM model elements based on status

This information helps project managers compare a project’s actual costs against the original forecasted estimate at that time.

Ultimately, construction managers can identify potential cost overruns early enough to take corrective action.

5) Analyzing Building Performance

By creating a digital model of a building, BIM provides a wealth of information that can be used to assess the performance of the structure.

This data can be used to identify potential design problems, improve the design’s energy efficiency, and optimize the layout of the space.

In addition, BIM can be used to create simulations that test how the building will respond to different conditions. 

By inputting data such as local climate and occupancy patterns, BIM can help designers to predict a building’s energy consumption, wind loads, and water usage.

Here’s an example of a solar analysis using BIM:

BIM Solar Study Animation Daylight Hours
Example Solar Analysis with BIM from WOMO Architects – Amsterdam, the Netherlands

This information can then be used to make informed decisions about the building’s design, materials, and systems. 

6) Coordinating Construction Activities

BIM allows for better coordination of construction activities by having a single digital project model that includes inputs from all project stakeholders.

The BIM model can be used to create realistic simulations of the construction sequence, which can help to optimize workflow, identify potential bottlenecks, and identify potential scheduling problems before they happen. 

With BIM, you can build a virtual construction site, which can be utilized for toolbox talks, onboarding new team members, site safety briefings, and ensuring that different trades and subcontractors work effectively together.

Having one central 3D model can help communicate construction activities and ensure that all building trades on site are working from the same accurate information about the project.

7) Generating Construction Documents

BIM is a powerful tool that can be used to create detailed 2D construction drawings 📑

BIM software, like Revit and Archicad, allows architects and engineers to create 3D digital models of buildings that can be “sliced” in plan, section, or elevation to generate accurate 2D plans and drawings.

Using BIM for construction documents can speed up the process since a change in the 3D model can immediately update the 2D drawings, saving time and money on revisions and rework.

Contractors can use the BIM-generated documents to provide more accurate bids and by inspectors to verify that work is being performed according to plan. 

The contractor can use these drawings to price the project, schedule construction activities, and coordinate with subcontractors.

In addition, BIM can be used to create as-built drawings, which can be used for operations and maintenance after the project is completed 🛠

As-built drawings are essential for understanding how a building is put together and can be used to troubleshoot problems, make modifications, and plan for future renovations.

8) Producing Quantity Takeoffs

BIM can be used to generate accurate quantity takeoffs (QTO) for construction projects.

BIM models can also supply a list of materials required for the project, and the good news is that BIM software can generate a precise bill of materials (BOM) from the digital model in a matter of seconds! ⚡️

This BOM can be used by the contractor to price the project and by the purchasing department to order materials.

The site team can also use the BOM to manage costs, know where to stage materials for delivery to the job site, and track inventory levels throughout the project.

9) Validating Building Models

Before construction, the BIM model can be used to run simulations and perform calculations to verify that the building will meet all the performance criteria set forth in the design.

This includes verifying things like wind loads, energy consumption, water usage, daylighting, acoustics, and thermal comfort.

BIM can also be used to validate that the actual building constructed also meets the original design intent and requirements.

As work is installed, photos, scans, and point clouds can be captured. These records can then be uploaded to the BIM model and compared against the original design to verify that everything has been installed accurately 🎯

10) Creating Virtual Reality simulations

BIM can be used to create a virtual reality (VR) model of the building that can be used for immersive walkthroughs and to verify that the finishes and materials meet the design intent.

Example BIM Model
Walking through a BIM model

The construction team can also use this VR model to virtually walk through the site and identify potential safety hazards, plan construction logistics, and better understand the sequencing of construction activities.

In addition, marketing teams can use VR models to give potential buyers or tenants a realistic experience of what it will be like to live or work in the building.

My Summary About BIM For Construction Management – and plug for using Plannerly!

So there you have it – ten ways BIM is used in construction management!

As you can see, BIM is much more than just a drawing tool – it is a robust process that can be used at every stage of the construction process, from design through to completion.

With the help of BIM technology like Plannerly, construction professionals can plan for their next BIM project with ease and accuracy!

So if you’re just starting out using BIM or are looking for new ways to improve your current projects, give Plannerly a try – it’s free to get started! 😃

Do you have other examples of how BIM is used in construction?

Three Bonus Resources 😃

Here are three additional items that I think you’ll find valuable – 1) a video 🎥 that covers the complete BIM management workflow, 2) some fun BIM conversation starters, and 3) some typical questions I get asked about using BIM in construction management workflows, as well as my best-attempted answers.

I hope they’re useful! 🙏

1) The Complete BIM Management Workflow

First, here’s a video showing The Complete BIM Management Workflow, using Plannerly:

2) Conversations Starters

🗣 Below are six conversations starters about BIM for construction management processes that you can use too:

My Top 10 Uses for BIM in Construction Management - Plus Three Bonus BIM Resources! Good questions to answer about using BIM for construction management at your company bim in construction
BIM in Construction Management
  • How does BIM fit into the construction management process? 
  • What challenges do you face when using BIM for construction management? 
  • What benefits has BIM brought to the construction management process? 
  • Is there a specific type of construction project that is better suited for BIM? 
  • Do you think that more contractors will start using BIM in the near future?

3) Questions I Often Get Asked

I have also tried to summarize some answers to the most common questions that I get asked about this subject – I hope you can use them too:

How is BIM used in construction management?

BIM can be used for a variety of tasks in construction management, such as creating accurate quantity takeoffs, validating building models, and creating virtual reality simulations.

What are some of the benefits of using BIM in construction management?

Some of the benefits of using BIM in construction management include being able to verify that the building will meet all performance criteria, validate that the actual building constructed meets the original design intent, and creating virtual reality simulations.

Is there a specific type of construction project that is better suited for BIM?

No, my advice is don’t get too picky. There’s no specific type of construction project that is better suited for BIM, as it can be used for so many tasks though out the whole design, build and operate process! Pick your next project and get started already 😃

Do you think that more contractors will start using BIM in the near future?

Yes, absolutely – it is likely that more contractors will start using BIM and actually, they are already! Some surveys suggest that now over 67% of design and construction projects across the world are now using some BIM.

I blog for the Five BIM Bloggers series.

Every week we share different perspectives on important BIM topics!

To hear our views first, Join Free or follow Plannerly!

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