Knutson is on a mission to implement one of the industries newest technologies, Building Information Modeling, also known as BIM. While at first, BIM may seem like nothing more than pretty pictures, the AGC says, “BIM is expected to drive the construction industry towards a ‘Model Based’ process, and gradually move the industry away from a ‘2D Based’ process.”
Presently there are two main types of BIM models being created; 3D design models which are designed from inception in 3D, and 2D conversion models – which are designed in 2D and converted to 3D. Currently, it is rather common to see projects utilize the 2D conversion method.
Knutson has also used 4D modeling which is actually a 3D model that integrates the component of time to demonstrate the project’s schedule. This provides a visual tool to look for gaps, or ways to improve the project schedule, as well as an aide to demonstrate the construction process to a non-technical audience.
A project does not have to be completely designed in 3D to “use” BIM. One example of this would be a project that only models the structural and mechanical components to perform a clash detection. Additionally, per the AGC, “BIM can be used to assist with scope during bidding and purchasing, reviewing portions of the scope for analyses such as value engineering, coordinating construction sequencing, and demonstrating project approaches during marketing presentation.”
The AGC has noted some of the following benefits to contractors using BIM; including “the ability to identify collisions; fewer errors and corrections in the field; higher reliability of expected field conditions, allowing for opportunity to do more prefabrication of materials offsite, which usually results in higher quality at a lower cost; as well as the ability to further analyze logistics and costs scenarios.”
It is said that a picture is worth a 1000 words, just imagine how many words a BIM model is worth. While Knutson is near the forefront of BIM technology; globally, BIM is still in its formative years, so we are continuously learning new ways to use this tool to better understand and communicate information on our projects. If you can dream it, it can happen.