There’s a lot to be said for using the tried and tested processes you’ve always used. Anything that’s proven is reliable, and, when you’re building a £multi-million scheme, confidence needs to be integrated into every element of the specification, design and construction.

 

While that approach has served the construction sector well for generations, things are changing. Now, instead of assuming that doing something in the same way will maintain standards of quality, we’re asking how can we do things better.

Dragan Maksimovic, General Manager at Sika Limited

It’s an excellent question, and one that is finding an entire raft of answers in BIM.

While, unbelievably, there are still some naysayers who believe that BIM is a bit of a buzzword, but in fact it’s growing and garnering further influence.  And that influence is not only changing the way we do things; it’s also changing the way in which we think about how we can continue to drive improvement.

 

Thanks to BIM, collaboration and early engagement are evolving from an onerous project requirement and, instead, becoming a genuine culture across architectural, consultant, contractor and supply chain communities.  This is because projects delivered in BIM clearly demonstrate the benefits of this approach to all involved, regardless of their role in the scheme.  As a result, we are taking those positive experiences forward and using them to benefit future schemes, even if they are being delivered outside of BIM and there is no mandatory requirement.

 

Similarly, the significant sea change in the way in which technology is viewed in the construction industry can also be traced back in part to the use of technology as an integral part of BIM. While CAD programs and video conferencing may have led the gradual introduction of more technology into construction delivery processes way back in the 1990s, it’s the advent of data rich 3D models that has really revolutionised the way we look at what technology can do for accurate specification, design and construction. Not only has BIM prompted us to look at how technology can aid quality control throughout the design and delivery process, it has also taught us to value data and transparency of information across delivery partners.  

That thinking has led to a number of generic and proprietary apps, covering everything from specification and value engineering to snagging and health & safety.  For example, Sika Liquid Plastics has recently launched an app to enable technical representatives to upload data and images from site inspections, allowing clients to view the resulting report within an hour.

 

The design of buildings has changed dramatically over the decades. The construction methods used has also evolved and diversified dramatically.  Thanks to BIM, project management and process design is also now changing too, embracing technology and collaboration along the way.

 

BIM may still be fairly new, with many major private sector schemes still not stipulating BIM as a project requirement.  With major contractors increasingly employing BIM design capabilities in-house, however, it’s clear that there is a drive from those who have seen the benefits on site to champion the positive change it’s nurturing.

 

The supply chain must continue to support that initiative with continued investment in data and technology, along with a proactive approach to supporting value engineering on a best fit rather than highest margin basis.