Beyond BIM: What’s Next for the AEC Industry?Erin Green
posted on March 18, 2016 |
Building information modeling (BIM) had a slow start. Its growth was stunted when the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry ground to a halt during the most recent recession, but now it’s slowly picking up speed.
It didn’t start quickly—and, according to a recent video from IMAGINiT Technologies, it would appear that BIM will be sticking around for the foreseeable future.
In the video, Joe Eichenseer, building solutions team manager at IMAGINiT Technologies, explained, “We don’t see BIM going away any time soon. What we do see is BIM evolving over time and becoming more efficient.”
The Evolution of BIM
Just like the AEC industry, which is constantly shifting to match a changing economic climate, BIM is always evolving.
“Even today, we’re seeing hints of what could become mainstream BIM workflows in the near future,” said Eichenseer.
What are some of these impending developments?
Augmented reality could soon replace virtual walkthroughs like this one. (Image courtesy of IMAGINiT Technologies/YouTube.)
, as Eichenseer said, could soon replace the more traditional virtual walkthroughs of a building design. There are already examples of how this technology could be used
to assist with construction documents on-site in order to prevent miscommunications between 2D and 3D CAD drawings.
Augmented reality also holds potential for renovation and retrofit projects, for which BIM is increasingly popular. Users would be able to walk around the site and visualize exactly how any changes would look and identify whether the design is functional before construction starts.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is already starting to replace prefabricated units. As Eichenseer said, “Additive manufacturing processes can be scaled to industrial sizes to allow 3D printers to print the building or building components on-site.”
Materials like 3D-printed concrete could replace prefabricated parts on a building site. (Image courtesy of Andrey Rudenko/YouTube.)
One of the enabling factors for the advent of AM in BIM is the evolving existence of 3D-printable concrete
. As it becomes more plausible as a building material, the need for prefabricated components falls drastically.
Additive manufacturing enables more customized and flexible structures, which could help bring AEC even further into market-driven processes such as rapid prototyping and personalization in designs. It’s even been put forward as a technique for housing on Mars.
Integrated project delivery (IPD) is another thing to watch for in BIM, according to Eichenseer. IPD is an emerging process framework for delivering integrated projects. It’s already starting to bring together people, systems, business structures and practices to keep information flowing smoothly right over the project’s finish line.
IPD’s purpose is to improve the workflow of integration and information that makes up the backbone of BIM.
Staying Current with BIM
One of the major issues facing those who are looking to implement BIM in particular is staying current. Because BIM is always evolving, keeping up with it is an active endeavor.
Eichenseer concludes the video with a series of recommendations as to how AEC professionals can keep up.
Conferences outside of your immediate industry, for example, are good places to pick up on how changes in the overall industry could affect you. After all, BIM is about integration.
For more information about BIM in the AEC industry, check out the IMAGINiT Technologies channel.