I recently attended a construction conference and one of the sessions featured a speaker from Dodge Data and Analytics, who do a lot of research related to the construction industry. Part of the presentation focused on industry technology and the impact it’s having on construction firms. Here are some of the takeaways.
Building Information Modeling (“BIM”) software is already in use at a lot of contractors. It is software that allows a contractor to create a digital model/plan of a building, highway, etc. which has significant advantages over a traditional blueprint or paper-based plan. It provides a great visualization tool to job owners during the bid and planning phases, during the construction process to provide updates/check progress, and when the project is finished provides a complete digital map of the final project to the job owner. It can be adjusted easily if a change is needed to the design. It can be used for projections and what if scenarios (like where should I position a large crane, what’s the most efficient placement for materials staging), among other uses that help with planning and in turn reduce inefficiencies. It can also be used to track progress compared to the plan, catch potential issues earlier, and reduce rework. Even though it is commonly called BIM, it applies to construction projects other than just buildings, such as civil projects. To show how BIM can reduce time and costs, the presentation mentioned that Turner Construction reported efficiency increases of 143% for mechanical, 67% for plumbing, and 36% for fire protection from using BIM and related resources. Some of the other technologies available today integrate with BIM making it even more powerful. Learn more about BIM here.