BIM ELEC - 2nd article: An added value for the electrician

Triangle Metier

Going paperless is the first essential step in the digital transformation of companies. It consists in replacing paper documents by digital files or in directly creating digital documents and incorporating them into the different processes. Going paperless also means improved business administration and ease of access to data and documents.

In part one (see our 1st article), we set the scene. But as active participants in this market, our aim is to look at the operational professions in detail and see how we can help them in the digital transformation of companies. While going paperless is the first essential step in providing better management and easier access to data and documents, in this article we will see the added value it provides to electrical contractors.

On the design level (such as REVIT® by Autodesk), BIM helps to work on the project in team mode. Shared use of connected tools reduces time wasted, superfluous tasks and risks of error, while helping organise the processes at the best moment during the study with productivity and economic performance in mind.

But is it also possible to reduce raw material costs, especially when choosing cables and cable sizes?

In the design phase, electrical contractors have to carry out several different analyses:

  • To identify the graphic elements that are already in the model (lighting, etc.)
  • To add new electrical equipment to the graphic layer

(lighting, electric sockets, distribution boards, etc.)

  • To add distribution panels and junction boxes
  • To create openings, passages and sheaths for cables
  • To pay close attention to areas set aside in walls for cables, but also for the 3D equipment, while taking level rises into account
  • To pass cables for lighting, the sockets, junction boxes and distribution panels
  • To pass cables for low-energy appliances
  • To place the right-sized distribution boards, with each terminal linked to an electrical board

Before digital models existed, electrical contractors had to work with a range of different software at the same time. They had to enter and modify the data in the 2D schema several times for the components on the different floors of the building, the calculations for networks and the different protections in the electrical cabinets or the circuit plan. They also had to check if all the frequent changes during the design phase and even during the installation phase were still compatible with the cable routes chosen. And at each change, they had to check the compatibility of choices with the spaces reserved for them.

Today, with the digital model, the electrical contractor can use interlinked software and create electrical circuits in the digital model, take the data from it to calculate networks and the protections in the distribution boards, and even design electric schemas for the various electrical cabinets.

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