BIM: The future of construction
19 January 2017

The recent collapse at the Joo Chiat Complexi is a timely reminder that even in Singapore, a country with high standards in building and architecture, mistakes are possible. Fortunately, evolved technology has generated new, reliable ways to ensure everything from improved building planning to safer construction practices.


One key player in this evolution is Building Information Modelling (BIM). BIM is the progression from 2-dimensional design planning to real-time, 3-dimensional insight. Defined as “a multi-dimensional model that can virtually map the building project lifecycle from design through procurement, construction, operation, and maintenance”, a BIM model is more than just a 3D blueprint.

BIM creates one comprehensive construction environment, connecting all fields of a building project together.

This ultimately makes each task a more seamless experience, from conception to completion. Here’s how your business can grow and boost productivity with BIM.

Improve work site safety
Being one of the most dangerous occupations, it is crucial that businesses continually improve work site safety by whatever means necessary. BIM facilitates this improvement “by constantly tracking and monitoring new variables introduced in dynamic working environments”ii.


Thus with the help of 4D scheduling and site planning, businesses can identify potential hazards before encountering them, and even conduct virtual site walkthroughs. Furthermore, as BIM taps into a pool of pre-existing data, it can pinpoint previous hazardous conditions in similar situations. This ensures the safety of all on-site workers, reducing insurance costs, protecting employees and reducing interruptions.


Software like the Autodesk BIM 360° Field can even track and analyse root causes of problems in real time, maintaining a high level of quality and safety.

Save money, time and resources

BIM can also be a major productivity booster. An international study recently reported that with BIM, 82% of its users saw a hike in productivity, while 79% saw fewer on-site problemsiii. Due to its ability to simulate scenarios in real time, BIM prevents potential issues before they can occur, saving time and expenses on reconstruction and modification. BIM tools are also faster and more efficient than regular 2-dimensional tools, cutting down on planning time. The real world benefits of BIM are boundless.


Building Modelling leader Christopher Pynn found BIM an indispensable tool in creating Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands.  


Among other things, the technology’s “3D structural analysis model was essential in creating a realistic model that would estimate the complex behaviour of the towers, deformation, wind induced movement and element stresses.”iv


He cites Autodesk’s Revit suite of solutions, as a major game-changer, helping him and his local team ensure smoother project completion.

Improve collaboration

Being uploaded to the cloud, BIM models and plans are accessible to everyone, from any stage of construction, be it designing or site checks after construction. As it saves changes in real time, prevents miscommunication and delays. For example, if a project’s architect makes changes in the blueprint, these changes are automatically reflected in the BIM model. Hence, on-site workers build based on the latest, most accurate data.


Productivity expert and Civil Engineering Professor Dr James T. O’Connor sees BIM closing many gaps across architecture, engineering and construction disciplines. He notes that BIM is now used “to establish stronger technical data ties between design and the fabrication community, such as structural steel, for example.” He also predicts:

“In the coming years, BIM will be used to form bridges between design and construction management.”v

Like all new technology, it can take a bit of adjusting to incorporate BIM into your operations. To assist local businesses in making the shift to BIM technology, the Building and Construction Authority offers subsidies on select courses and training programmes. Under the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund, organisations can claim between 50-80% of training costs for BIM diploma courses.


Businesses who intend to integrate BIM into operations can also cut costs with the BIM Fund, which cover up to $30,000 in BIM adoption expenses.

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