Statistically, a surprisingly high percentage of construction projects go over budget and/or over time upon completion. This is often a consequence of the fact that the drawings produced prior to the start of the construction process end up significantly different from the As Fitted Drawings especially as far as the 3D M&E (MEP) Coordinated Drawings are concerned. Here is where a BIM approach can help during the construction phase. Some of the key points that stand out as answers to the title questions are:
• BIM is a form of iterative design, where atop the same model you can add more details, more information, phase out the project, produce countless drawings and schedules. When on top of the architectural BIM Modeling you insert MEP (M&E) BIM information you have a much clearer view of the project as a whole. This translates into a clearer view during the construction phase of the project.
• With BIM, producing 3D M&E (MEP) Coordinated Drawings is straightforward. These drawings allow the coordination of the multiple services involved in any building, HVAC, plumbing, electrical systems and other public health systems with the structural and architectural (interior finishes, facades, partitions, etc.) elements.
• When working in a true 3D environment the engineering specialists can ensure that the proposed solution is viable in the real world and that those drawings won’t be amended once they go into construction.
• BIM Modeling enables anyone to view the model in 3D, including the builders and installation workers. If at any point an inaccuracy is spotted, once the model is adjusted everyone sees the updates. This is even more possible with shared models so for example when using a cloud based applications, such as Autodesk 360, all the documents and models are in one place.
• MEP (M&E) Prefabrication Models and Drawings can be produced much quicker and more reliably from coordinated 3D models. Once the models are in place they can be checked for interferences and spatially coordinated using Autodesk’s Navisworks tool before being taken into specialised fabrication software.
• MEP installers know exactly what services will be accessed through which access hatched as this is all shown in the MEP (M&E) BIM model. Equally MEP installers can see what areas they should keep services out of, either to reduce fire risks, facilitate future access or to allow future construction phases to be implemented.
• At the end of the construction and installation phase, both the architecture team and client can make direct comparisons between the original drawings and the As Fitted Drawings. If the circumstances on the site require it, any changes might easily be implemented in the BIM model throughout the construction process meaning that the As Fitted Drawings are very likely to match very closely.
Finally, significant cost savings can be achieved at the end of the project when the facility management departments receive a comprehensive and exhaustive set of drawings and instructions. In effect using BIM Modeling, the exploitation and maintenance costs throughout the lifetime of the project are reduced, which is perhaps the goal of any project.