On May 17, Dodge Data & Analytics released a new report on the use of BIM in the civil construction market. BIM, an acronym for building information modeling, is a 3D model-based process used by architecture, engineering, construction and asset management professionals in the design, planning, construction and management of buildings and infrastructure. By creating and saving designs and as-built information in an electronic model, all phases of the construction and asset management processes are more efficient than working off of information stored in paper files. What does this mean for the precast and prestressed concrete industry?
The Business Value of BIM for Infrastructure 2017 SmartMarket Report revealed that use of BIM at a high level by engineers, contractors and owners is going mainstream:
- Respondents that use BIM on more than half of their projects grew from just 20% in 2015 to 52% in 2017. This is projected to increase to 61% by 2019.
- Most report that BIM reduces errors and produces better cost predictability. Over half reported that they work better with BIM and, very important, they can find more work because they use BIM.
While the design-centric nature of architectural precast has drawn this segment of the industry into BIM in recent years, the civil side lags. It is only a matter of time, however, until civil customers require it. As DOTs and other asset managers look to reduce operating costs, they are starting to require producers to deliver product information in electronic format.
Standards boards are starting to consider this too. When we posted an article about the report on the NPCA LinkedIn Group page, we received a reply (used with permission) by Grant Whittle, who drew on his experience working with the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Management (SWIM) Center at Virginia Tech. Speaking from the perspective of municipalities managing their civil infrastructure, he spoke about the importance of collecting data from the time of manufacture through end-of-life, offering the concise summation:
"Standard structured data submitted in a BIM structure at the close of commissioning new or renewed assets would be the first step to solving life-cycle asset management issues."
Speaking specifically about the opportunity for the precast industry, he was very clear:
"Producers who meet that customer need will become preferred."
This is our belief as well. The architectural precast segment has recognized that BIM saves time in project management and provides a competitive edge (rapidly becoming a necessity) in winning projects. The same will apply to the civil side.
But, as the contractors and owners of civil projects bring BIM into the mainstream, they will want as-built information populated into the model as Mr. Whittle suggests. This is where information produced using RFID tracking systems will converge with BIM, enabling more productivity in the plant and superior competitive advantage for the first-movers.
Our purpose at Idencia is to offer precast RFID tracking solutions that improve productivity throughout the value chain. Our subscription offering applies to products from the time of manufacture through end-of-life. As a cloud-hosted product tracking system that is seamless between manufacturers, contractors and asset managers, Idencia adds information value to all, eliminates redundancy and saves time. If you would like to learn more, click below.