3 essential levers of action during the design phase

Triangle Metier

BIM is becoming a vital element in joint work, with a goal of including each stage in a building’s lifecycle:

  • Design
  • Construction
  • Use

 There is no doubt about the relevance of BIM in the first two stages, given the large number of projects using digital models. But there is definitely scope for exploring BIM in a building’s operational phases with its dedicated tools.

2019 – BIM… from the 3D to the 6D era, building tomorrow’s world

Productivity is becoming an increasingly vital goal, but improving efficiency can prove difficult in a market that is too often defined by low margins. So, a handful of technicians are already thinking beyond 3D-BIM. Some companies are asking how to boost the overall productivity of a project; how to improve the finished result (“building before building”) and, consequently, the construction schedule, especially in terms of coordinating the various professionals (4D-BIM); how much will it cost, in addition to design (5D-BIM), and how maintenance will be carried out all through the building’s life cycle (6D-BIM). In other words, how can extra data from the design phase help in constructing and operating buildings and/or infrastructures by taking into account return-on-investment criteria right from the design phase.

What is the added benefit for the electrical contractors?

A new issue arises for electrical contractors. Of course they must provide the best service to clients, keep pace with technology and produce a digital model of the building, which will be later used on to take the right decisions at the right cost during modifications and the life cycle of buildings. But another vital question arises: how can they provide customers with the best service without compromising the company’s performance and profitability? Which levers of action should not be left out?

This is why all the profession pays such close attention to optimising its own processes. It is true that this involves adopting the most efficient tools in terms of technology, but it also encourages professionals to think about the sequence of tasks involved in a project, from the call for bids to the handover documentation, and even beyond, to the operation and maintenance phases. The design phase is also included, of course, but we also need to grasp how a task that may seem time-consuming at a given moment in the construction phase may lead to exponential gains later on, if it was carried out intelligently and at the right time.

Today, entrepreneurs are asking their research department managers the following questions: how are we placed and what initiatives have we taken to be part of a BIM approach? Isn’t this the right time to take a new look at our processes and tools? Can we make immediate improvements to the productivity and efficiency of our electricity processes? And shouldn’t we be looking at our customers’ changing needs and progressively including BIM in our approach?

 

What are the levers of action in the study phase?

LEVER N°1: REDUCE TIME WASTED DURING THE DESIGN PHASE BY AUTOMISING SUPERFLUOUS OR DUPLICATED TASKS

Here, companies have to introduce tools to improve productivity, while paying close attention to the methods employed. Based on a shared standard (IFC), BIM is used to exchange data on a platform and to include them in different software packages. This boosts the possibilities of collaborative work in a team.

Why not make the most of connected tools to do away with superfluous tasks or duplication?

LEVER N°2: REDUCING ERRORS BY HARMONISING WORKING METHODS AND SECURING DESIGN DATA

Preparing a project with traditional CAD software involves entering the same data at different stages in the design phase, using different tools (preparation, calculations, plans), so that data may need to be entered several times with a risk of mistakes, wasted time, extra checks and lower efficiency overall.

Why not use innovative technologies to stop wasting time and to do away with the risk of errors in the design phase and in the handover process by using the same synchronised data? Won’t it be easier to have an accurate overall view and to run checks?

LEVER N°3: REDUCING RAW MATERIAL COSTS WITH ACCURATE SIZE CALCULATIONS

BIM also shows the changes made to the project by other participants and which may influence results. What’s more, building manufacturers take part in setting up product libraries with technical data from BIM projects, while respecting a standard ISO format. Any changes can then be taken into account and compared using electrical installation software, which is itself connected to automatic plan-generation software.

Why not automatically generate your installation plans, while taking into account any design changes that may influence the size of equipment required?

 

COMBINE THESE LEVERS OF ACTION TO BOOST MARGINS IN ALL YOUR PROJECTS

BIM also helps on the design level (with REVIT® by Autodesk, for example) with project design in team mode. Shared use of networked tools reduces the time wasted, superfluous tasks and risks of error, and helps organise the processes at the best moment during the design phase with productivity and economic performance in mind.

Isn’t this the right time to try out new working methods? Shouldn’t companies be taking advantage of the introduction of BIM to take a new look at their processes?

 In 2019, there will be more BIM projects than ever before!

But this will also be a year of reflection, transition and deployment of new tools, helping electrical contractors to move towards more lasting performance and profitability.

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