The use of BIM in the industry can be split into three main phases:
In the design phase, virtual objects in the BIM model can be verified by local regulatory bodies to ensure that it meets their safety standards. Also, clash-detection analysis can be performed within the BIM model. For example, the piping systems within a building might overlap with its existing wall. If such an error were undetected in the design stage, it could potentially lead to costly delays. An example of clash detection software that is used in the industry now is Autodesk Navisworks.
In the construction phase, the entire construction process can be simulated virtually as in the Punggol Coast Station project completed by LTA. This can help improve the flow of construction projects and prevent schedule overruns in construction projects. Companies like SGS which provide construction sequencing services can benefit from having such 3D models to guide their decisions. For example, by knowing when equipment such as cranes or compact excavators are needed, they can obtain favourable pricing for their equipment leases. These cost-savings can then be passed down to their clients.
Throughout the lifecycle of a building project, parts will eventually break down. A single infrastructure project involves equipment and sections that are under the responsibility of hundreds or thousands of different sub-contractors. By embedding technical or warranty information into the BIM model, the buildings management will have easier access to such information during maintenance.
While the idea behind BIM has been around for many decades, its adoption is mainly relegated to the design phase. However, the greatest benefits in terms of cost savings would only be enjoyed in the construction and operations phase. As the cost of cloud technologies for collaboration continue to decrease, it represents an exciting opportunity for companies to build new business models around the provisioning of BIM in projects.