Three BIM trends shaping how we’ll build the world

Three BIM trends were discussed at BIM World 2018.

BIM World 2018 in Paris isn’t fooling around. One of the largest building information modeling events in the world, the March 2018 event attracted almost 8,000 attendees, 174 exhibitors, and more than 90 conference and workshop sessions.

This year’s overarching theme was digital transformation. International experts revealed three key trends unfolding within the BIM world:

  1. You can’t do BIM without a common data environment (CDE)
  2. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now a reality in construction
  3. Everything is connected

CDE: Data is king

BIM is becoming the center point for connected data across the digital ecosystem. The more data you capture and utilize to your advantage, the better you can design, build, and predict outcomes. One speaker declared, “Data is a strategic initiative.”

To be truly BIM ready, many of the contractors at the event agreed that organizations must have a CDE. The CDE encourages collaboration, creates a single source of truth, and develops a valuable pool of data that can be leveraged as a competitive tool.

Analytical data sets— or historical data— from multiple projects on a CDE can feed into benchmarking, predictive analytics, machine learning, and pattern recognition to help us build smarter and faster.

Advanced construction with AI

We interact with AI every single day— even if we don’t notice it. For example, we’re given predictive options when we’re typing text messages. When we’re hunting for a location on an app, we’re offered different routes and modes of transport to our destination. Data has become an integral component of our daily lives and business.

Machines’ ability to accurately analyze big data will have a profound effect on construction and BIM. The potential advantages are:

  • Higher quality, intuitive design through learned patterns and generative design. Machines generate a countless number of design solutions, test the configurations, and iterate them faster than humanly possible to discover the best option sooner.
  • Construction risks are predicted and avoided even before ground is broken. Design tools will become smarter and pick up on clashes and conflicts ahead of work commencing onsite.
  • Smart asset automation and improvements will become more end-user focused. Technology advancements already regulate building temperature, allocate space, and automatically manage maintenance issues.

IoT: Everything is connected

According to McKinsey, one of the five trends to shape construction and capital projects will be the Internet of Things (IoT)— enabling communication between devices, equipment, and assets. IoT holds much promise for BIM. All types of construction projects now have devices connected, embedded, and built into them, ranging from buildings to roads to plants.

We’re already witnessing this trend in the form of sensors for concrete readiness, interconnected services for safety, and near-field communication (NFC) devices for tracking assets. We’ll see an increasingly connected number of things in the future— especially given the value of asset data.

By combining BIM and IoT, the ‘digital twin’— a digital representation of an asset— will effectively become a living model. Information from design, to construction, and finally, to operations, will be tagged and connected back to the model; providing an up-to-date version of the asset.

IoT is even changing businesses. Fabrice Didier, a BIM World speaker and Marketing Director at Saint Gobain, noted that their business has expanded from a manufacturer to a service and data provider by incorporating sensors into their glass product.

The bottom line

Those who’re already engaged in BIM are reaping the rewards while preparing for the next wave of innovation. Companies like Enprode are leveraging the power of BIM to stay on budget.

BIM is a vital ingredient to the digital transformation in E&C. Just like cloud computing, one day, BIM will be the norm. We won’t even remember how we worked without it.

To learn more about BIM, visit www.aconex.com/bim-management.

Ann Cooper

Ann Cooper

Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Oracle's Aconex
Ann Cooper is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Oracle's Aconex, a leading collaborative construction and engineering management software
Ann Cooper