How Combining Cloud + Mobility With BIM Facilitates Cost Savings And Better Project Delivery

BIM Mobile Apps Improve Bottom LineIn the world of megaproject delivery, companies are continually challenged to do things better, smarter, and faster just to remain competitive. As the industry continues its gradual adoption of cloud and mobile technologies, new and more collaborative approaches to managing processes are emerging.

BIM: Leading the Way

This is particularly true for building information modeling (BIM, or virtual design and construction (VDC) in some industries), a key space and emerging competitive battleground. In a recent survey by CONJECT (an Aconex company)1, BIM-users reported the top two benefits of BIM to be faster capture and resolution of design issues and clashes, and improved understanding and visibility of design decisions. Infusing cloud and mobile technologies into BIM is further emphasizing these benefits.

Examples: Using Aconex Connected BIM

For example, with Aconex Connected BIM Mobile, members of project teams are leveraging traditional building information modeling to improve decision making and streamline processes. Take RFIs. On a typical project, a contractor working from a shop drawing might identify a potential issue while on-site. Ordinarily, he would need to send an RFI to the design team asking someone to check the project’s BIM models and respond with clarification. Depending on how quickly the team member responds, the contractor’s work could be delayed by days.  However, with Aconex Connected BIM Mobile, the contractor has the project’s BIM data in the palm of his hand. He can review the models and get answers without leaving the job site.

This level of visibility out in the field also means the contractor could identify issues with potential cost impacts ahead of time. Rather than just going ahead and completing the work without understanding how it might impact the rest of the project, he can notify the design team so that corrections can be made and costly errors/rework avoided.

Another example of how BIM + cloud + mobile speeds up project delivery relates to model coordination flows. In a typical clash detection process, a mechanical engineer will submit an MEP model to the Aconex platform after creating it in his authoring software. The BIM coordinator will then analyze the new model for clashes with other disciplines using her analysis software. (The Aconex cloud-based platform allows the team to choose their preferred BIM tools without worrying about compatibility.)

Assigning clashes to different disciplines for resolution was once a labor-intensive process. With cloud + mobile technologies, the detection – resolution loop can be carried out with automated workflows. The resulting model revisions can be viewed by on-site construction teams in real-time on a mobile tablet.

BIM Statistics: Facilitating Project Delivery and Cost Savings

By encouraging greater use of BIM, cloud + mobile technologies add significant value. In a recent McGraw Hill Construction SmartMarket report, 50% of contractors with high BIM engagement levels reported an ROI greater than 25 percent. Design firms who have used BIM for systems coordination have reported ROI as high as 300%.

Project teams who have realized significant ROI from BIM confirm that incorporating BIM into project meetings tends to produce a meaningful “small win.”  At Aconex, we’ve heard from our customers that offering Connected BIM Mobile to contractors in the field has an equally positive effect.

Adding mobility to BIM and other standard processes helps the entire team achieve higher levels of collaboration. The result is not just deeper BIM engagement. Within a short time, checking a model, approving a document or tracking a task on a mobile device becomes a habit. Responses are faster; communication is clearer.

Obstacles created by geographic distance and incompatible tools fall away. With BIM alone, a recent online survey2 of architects, engineers and consultants reported a 5 percent acceleration of project completion and a 5 percent reduction in final construction cost. Incorporating cloud + mobility promises to deliver even more powerful results.

You can try Aconex Connected BIM Mobile for yourself, even if you are not a current Aconex user. Download it on your iPad or Android tablet now.

Keep an eye out for our next post on cloud + mobile and how it helps address transparency challenges on projects. Or, read the previous post in this series – How New Mobile Processes Help Construction Companies Form Better Habits, Finish Projects Faster And Out-Compete Their Rivals.

Like what you’ve read? Check out our other recent blog posts in this series:

  1. How New Mobile Processes Help Construction Companies Form Better Habits, Finish Projects Faster And Out-Compete Their Rivals
  2. Mobile Services, BIM & the Rise of Radical Transparency

1 “BIM Survey 2015 – Results” by CONJECT (an Aconex company)
2 “SmartMarket Brief: BIM Advancements” by Dodge Data & Analytics

John Barkwell

John Barkwell

Director of BIM Professional Services (Americas) at Aconex
John Barkwell is the Director of BIM Professional Services (Americas) at Aconex, the world's leading collaborative construction and engineering management software.
John Barkwell