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An understanding of ‘Building Information Modelling’
Building information modelling is a fairly recent term that is used in engineering and architectural designs. It is defined differently but in general it means a digital representation of both the physical and functional features of a sole building. It uses the three dimensions technology. It serves as knowledge resource for information on a given building thereby giving a strong basis upon which decisions about the building are made in the entire duration of that building. It entails all aspects of construction, design and operation of a given building. It is increasingly being adopted by the leading firms in architecture, engineering as well as construction (Isikdag and Zlatanova, 2011).
Strengths of BIM
BIM puts into consideration all the technological aspects of a building. It is a very sophisticated system. It is also very comprehensive and thus superlative to earlier technologies which were more analogue based and which utilized Computer Aided Designs. This explains why many companies are opting to use BIM and shun from the old technologies (Eastman, 2011).
Its dual nature further gives it a strong stand in the engineering and architecture industry. It not only represents a change in technology but also a change of process. It has enabled the representation of building using intelligent objects. These objects carry more detailed information about themselves. They also have a grasp of their working relationship with other objects that are used in the building model. BIM not only alters the design of building construction and the manner in which their drawings and visualizations are made. It also alters the process of making building design which covers all the details in a deeper and more specialized manner. It is a collective system which looks into all the aspect of building. It is also integrative in nature. It buys into all the aspects of design that are performed by different specialists at different times thus it is cost effective when compared to the old technologies that left each design function to be carried out independently. It is multidisciplinary and an automated process with long-term positive impact on building. All the stages of building from the pre-building to the post-building are considered and programed in the model. The model borrows greatly into the ideas behind integrated project delivery (Eastman, 2011).
BIM has had great benefits in building. It has resulted in better building and architectural designs. Also, the model enhances efficiency and productivity. BIM software has the ability to coordinate in an automatic way between the details from a given model and drawings thus minimizing on errors if any. It significantly cuts down the duration of design. Documentation of design and construction are dynamically linked using BIM (Wammen, 2010).
Weakness of BIM
BIM has not become very familiar with many contactors and technicians in the building and construction industry. It is therefore prone to faults which may result from unfamiliarity in dealing with this seemingly complex technology. Therefore it may take a little longer for the building industry to start realizing the benefits of BIM (Meadati, Irizarry and Aknoukh, 2011).
Building Information Modelling is being successfully implemented for old buildings. Its major disadvantage however is that it cannot be used in improving old buildings which already consumed a lot of resources that went into its design. It is thus only a forward model it cannot be used in solving the design problems inherent in the many ancient buildings. This is the first weakness of BIM (Meadati, Irizarry and Aknoukh, 2011).
Another weakness of BIM is that it is a very comprehensive model that requires a high level of software knowhow. Information Technology systems have to be set and kept running before the implementation of projects which utilize BIM commences. This is very costly for firms that are not well established in monetary terms. The BIM technologies consume lots of resources which go into training, purchasing and establishing both the software and hardware tools. Also these software and hardware need upgrading which further consumes more money. Establishing these tools needs a lot of caution thus it requires more time to implement BIM. Adequate training and expertize is needed which implies more resources to be diverted to training (Wammen, 2010).
Opportunities of BIM
BIM is a new and growing technology which has had a good reception in the construction design and engineering industry. More companies prefer to use this technology. Because of its outstanding technological strengths, it has a big potential of overtaking old technologies in the building industry (Wammen, 2010).
Threats Facing BIM
This is an emerging technology therefore it is likely to prone to many risks as well as liabilities that will come with its implementation. The major risk that faces BIM as a technological model is errors. This is a sophisticated technology which requires a high level of accuracy. It forms core of projects which choose to use it. Therefore, even a single input error or mistake is can cost the entire project as the entire plans are generated by the model itself. It is thus quite hard to detect small mistakes (Wammen, 2010).
There’s also a notion that BIM is a very expensive technology thus it may be prone to rejection by managers as a result of its cost (Wammen, 2010).

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