Simple and easy-to-grasp information benefits both experienced infrastructure construction professionals as well as regular Joes. Besides, achieving a better understanding with information models helps save money in the long run. For professionals, it enables faster decision making and helps predict and prevent issues during construction. Non-professionals, in turn, get to see how their everyday work commutes will look after the project is finished.
Information models offer solutions to ensure an efficient dataflow from initial data to planning and construction, and back to maintenance. “Even seasoned project directors have said that with an information model it’s much easier to see what kinds of issues there might be down the road in an infra construction project compared to the old way of laying out several paper plans” says Petteri Palviainen, BIM Development Manager at Novatron, a MOBA Group company.
Sometimes an old concrete structure or underground pipelines previously undetected could surface during construction. With information models, sudden changes in plans can be tackled in just hours. Data can travel effortlessly from the site to planning, project management and to the client. The massive amount of work hours to update, finish, deliver and approve paper plans is no longer necessary.
“When using paper plans, it’s difficult to spot possible conflicts between different design disciplines. If these conflicts are realized during construction, fixing the results can take several weeks. Information models lets you build the site virtually, revealing possible conflicts in plans much easier and faster than it would be possible with paper plans” Palviainen says.
With information models, it’s easy to visualize existing data, and make updated when needed. The cycle from detecting an issue to changing plans and proceeding with new ones becomes faster. “An information model can be used in an instant. Say there’s an unforeseen object in the ground. If a Machine Control System is in use, the excavator operator can measure it with the bucket, take a picture of the object and send it to the cloud. As information moves in real time, the project management can inform the client faster and the designer can get to work straight away,” summarizes Palviainen.
Closed BIM uses proprietary file formats and using these types of file formats means you are tied to a certain software, which can cause issues with data transfer and collaboration in a project.
A typical problem closed BIM users have to contend with, is file conversion and the resulting data loss. In a project with several design disciplines such as energy and water supply, and their different types of data, the number of file formats to be converted can add up to 20 different types — all of which need to be accessed and read by the project management team. This is mission impossible for most software.
On the other hand, if the project is based on openBIM and open file formats, sharing information is much easier, and data loss can be avoided. You can also use any software you please, since openBIM is not tied to any particular software. Also, creating a combination model becomes simpler with open file formats as data can be published on the platform easily. As a result, it’s easy to view different plans, such as water supply and electricity, in the same model and spot any possible issues early on.
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