BIM: taking the collaborative route

Gas 310 BIM 2_croppedBuilding Information Modelling, or BIM, is becoming a reality.

From 2016, the Government will mandate Level 2 BIM for all UK public sector projects over £5million, but the benefits of BIM apply now and to all sizes of buildings. Greater efficiency, increased value, improved productivity and reduced carbon emissions are the combined goal that can be achieved through this new collaborative use of open, sharable asset data. The Government estimates that using BIM programs will bring a reduction in capital building costs of 20 per cent and a similar drop in carbon emissions.


BIM is more than a digital 3D model or a piece of software; it is a whole new way of working, a cultural shift to a collaborative process. Collaboration is its key premise, between architects, specifiers, manufacturers – all the disciplines involved in a project – throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset. Through BIM, all members of the project team can insert, extract, update or modify information at different phases in the facility’s lifecycle to support and reflect the roles of that discipline or manufacturer.

Improved Efficiency

Working in the BIM environment, the project takes the form of a virtual model. As the project is easier to understand and visualise in the 3D format, the project team can collaborate more efficiently and effectively, flagging potential concerns or identifying clash detection at an earlier stage, all of which saves valuable time and money. For example, where heating is concerned, the installer may have certain constraints such as access to the boiler plant room or the need for prefabrication which can impact on time and safety. BIM promotes improved planning and smarter overall design as the project team is encouraged to anticipate potential future issues which could prove costly. There are advantages for the end-user too, who can visualise better the finished asset and benefit from a more reliable budget and programme.

Inside a BIM file

So what information might a BIM file contain? Take heating, for example. A BIM object of one of Remeha’s boilers is not just a shape to include in a drawing but includes the size, weight, heat outputs, carbon and NOx emissions, service and maintenance areas, and maintenance schedules. All this digital information is regularly updated, providing architects, specifiers and FM Managers with up-to-date, accurate and relevant information that will save valuable time in research and facilitate potential changes and updates to the project.

Greater accuracy

This data can be scheduled or labelled on the design drawing. Moving the boiler or changing the model will automatically update the schedule so that the information is always accurate and up-to-date. If changes were to be made to the design or requirements of the heating system, schedules and quantities would be generated automatically. If the design was inaccurate – for example trying to run one pipe into another – this would be flagged immediately. Consequently, accuracy is improved and less time is required by the individual team members to update changes.

Future savings

BIM is beneficial not only in the design process but throughout the lifecycle of a facility, making it easier and faster for FM Managers to make accurate informed decisions about the maintenance or replacement of equipment. This has been demonstrated at the Manchester Town Hall Building, one of the Government’s pilot BIM schemes, where the BIM environment saved money on unnecessary temporary works, saved the programme a total of nine months, and also demonstrated to the client the benefit of BIM in future maintenance and replacement operations.

Given all the benefits offered by this new collaborative 3D modelling process, there’s no question that the future is BIM. The real question is, are you ready?

To discuss BIM with the Remeha team, call us on T: 0118 978 3434

To download the Remeha BIM Library, go to our home page and click on the banner

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