According to the US National BuildingInformation Model Standard Project Committee Building Information Modelling (BIM) is defined as a digitalrepresentation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility. A BIMis a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming areliable basis for decisions during its life-cycle; defined as existing fromearliest conception to demolition (NBIMS-US, 2016). BIM covers a lot more thanjust geometry.
Eastman 2009 argued that BIM covers “spatialrelationships, light analysis, geographic information, and quantities andproperties of building components.” (Cited in Goubau,2016) Eastman further mentioned that BIM is the current starplayer in the construction industry, even though the technology has been aroundfor about a decade now, it is in recent years there has been an increased buzzand enthusiasm been created within the industry for BIM. In keeping with theprevious definition of BIM, it is safe to say that it is not just a technologybut is a process.
A process spanning the current and future generation andmanagement of the physical and functional information of any given project. Itis the output of the process are what determines what is BIM or what we referto as BIMs. They are ultimately digital files that describe every aspect of theproject and support decision-making throughout a/the project cycle. Smith, 2014argued that the misconception of BIM is that it is nothing more than a 3Dmodelling but BIM is actually a lot more as in involves much more than that.
Within the BIM system, there are subsets and similar technological featuresmore than just 3D which is referring to the depth, width and height but thatthe BIM system can be extended easily by including further dimensions such as4D that refers to time, 5D which is cost, 6D which as-built operation, 7D whichrepresents sustainability and 8D being safety (as cited in Goubau, 2016). Smith 2007 postulated that the concept of BIMis to build a building virtually, prior to building it physically, in order towork out problems, and simulate and analyse potential impacts. The heart of BIMis an authoritative building information model. While according to Kymmel(2008) virtual building implies that it is possible to practice construction,to experiment, and to make adjustments in the project before it is actualized.Virtual mistakes generally do not have serious consequences provided that theyare identified and addressed early enough that they can be avoided in theactual construction of the project.
When a project is planned and builtvirtually, most of its relevant aspects can be considered and communicatedbefore the instructions for construction are finalized. It is like running asimulation of construction project by considering all aspect of constructionlife cycle. In term of the types of information or data that can be derivedwithin BIM. Stated in Eastman 2009, he explains that BIM could provide 2-D and3D drawing with non-graphical information including specifications, cost data,scope data, and schedules.
Further stated that BIM systems creates anobject-oriented database, this means that it is made up of intelligent objects,for example representation of doors, windows, and walls which capable ofstoring both quantitative and qualitative information about the project. So,while a door represented in a 2D CAD drawing is just a collection of lines, inBIM it is an intelligent object containing information on its size, cost,manufacturer, schedule and more. But BIM goes beyond further by creating arelational database. This means that all information in the BIM isinterconnected, and when a change is made to an object in the database, allother affected area and objects are immediately updated. For example, if a wallis deleted, a doors and windows within the wall are also deleted, and all dataon project scope, cost, and schedule are instantly adjusted (Goubau, 2016).
Furthermore, Eastman et al, 2011 stipulatedthat to extend the application of BIM to integrated practice in construction,BIM should be used as a building model repository. A building model repositoryis a database system whose schema is based on a published object based format.Building Model repositories are object based, allowing query, transfer,updating and management of individual project objects from potentiallyheterogeneous set of application. In this application, building modelrepository will be a central of information where each project participants areoriented to a single source of information. According to Hardin 2008, BIMsinformation can be both visual and database driven. The concept of linking thevisual representation with the spreadsheet, quantity, or other data source, itis associated with it being pushed further into the realm of open-endedsystems. Eastman 2009,highlighted that there were objects and tools to the BIM system.
He stated thatBIM represents a design as a combination of “objects” that are vague andundefined, that they were either generic or product-specific, solid shapes orvoid-space oriented (like the shape of a room), that carry their geometry,relations and attributes (cited in Goubau, 2106). Moreover, BIMs design tools allow the extraction ofdifferent views from a model for production of drawing among other things.These different views are automatically consistent, as they come from a singledefinition of each “object instance” (Eastman, 2009). Objects are also definedas parameters and relations to other objects, so that if there are changes in arelated object, dependent or adjacent ones will automatically change or adjust(Eastman, 2009). Each element of a building model cancarry attributes to automatically select and order them where cost estimatesand material tracking and ordering can be provided (Eastman, 2009). To add, BIM takes the traditional paper-based toolsof construction projects, puts them on a virtual environment and allows a levelof efficiency, communication and collaboration that exceeds those oftraditional construction processes (Lee, 2008). As such BIM will providepotential beneficial to construction projectsin the Caribbean as it will revolutionize the construction industry throughoutthe Caribbean.
This digital technology will introduce a way to design that ismore adept than the likes of traditional Computer, Aided Design (CAD) drawings.BIM is a process incorporating new more effective techniques and technologiesthat will result in a better and more efficient project and quite simply, itwill allow us to build better buildings, at a faster and cheaper rate byproducing digital data in a more accurate data in a coordinated and managedway. BIM encourages a collaborative approach to the design and projectmanagement of buildings through the new world of digital construction that willgreatly benefit AEC and clients and other key stakeholders.
The traditional 2dimensional drawings focus on Length, Breathe and Depth using lines but withBIM, it adds more dimensions into the process, such as time, cost andperformance management, which will be very good for the regional industry nowand in years to come. The BIM system is critical in order to achieve highefficiency and productivity throughout the Caribbean construction industry. Theadaptation of such technology, when integrated successfully, as seen throughoutEurope, will transform the manner in which we see, design and project manage buildings.
Clients and AEC need not be worried about BIM, but be cognizant of its benefitsand attributes as the experts of BIM as assured its benefits and end product asin seen in the London 2012 Olympic stadium which was completed in 2014. Thebenefits of implementing BIM go beyond the coordination of geometry and clashdetection as stated in the forgoing discussion, a BIM model containsintelligence and can generate very accurate bills of quantities that meet SMMstandards of measurement. A BIM model can also be used to create energyanalysis and carbon footprint calculations essential for designers that adoptleadership in energy and environmental design (LEED). The intelligent model canalso drive facility management software so that the benefits can accrue overthe life of the construction project. When considered in a holistic way BIM isan investment strategythat cannot sensibly be ignored by participants in the construction sector. AlthoughBIM is far more developed in northern Europe it is being adopted at a rapidrate in North America.
Caribbean developers, consultants and contractors needto give serious and urgent consideration to adopting BIM skills if we are toensure that we can offer cutting edge technology and tools to our Clients. BIMis an essential prerequisite for Integrated Project Delivery and Design-Buildprocesses that are also becoming increasingly popular, therefore, now that theconstruction project is experiencing a slow period, it is a good time toupgrade its processes. BIM growth is necessary in Jamaica’s constructionindustry. It has the potential to fuel a new and productive future in the lifeof Jamaica and the Caribbean construction project lives (see Figure 7). The impacts of BIMimplementation as a visualization technology, future potential and challengesin construction projects within Jamaica and the Caribbean will be investigatedin this study in comparison with that of the traditional methods. The effectsof these changed outlooks on the length of the lifecycle phases will beassessed and investigated. Qualitative and quantitative data will be used tocollect from existing literature, an online questionnaire and interviews. Theresearch considered all building construction projects in Jamaica and theCaribbean, however scope will be limited to using online questionnaires ofbuilding projects only.
These will be grouped by several stages such as designconcept, design developed, and technicality of design and Constructionstage. The group of participants in the data collection represented willbe architects and engineers, contractors and sub-contractors, along withclients, owners and operators in the industry. In doing this research, the useof qualitative data is important to identify reasons based on assumptions,observations and experiences that need to be tested, hence data collected mightbe subjective by nature (Naoum, 1998). Moreover, with this research being basedon BIM implementation, future and challenges including cost, quantitative datais also collected in the questionnaire, which is the quantification ofqualitative data.
This gathered data will be reviewed against literature toindicate similarities or contradictions. Given the various positive outcomes for each stageof the project lifecycle when BIM is implemented, we strongly recommend theimplementation of BIM in all stages of construction projects. The existingtheory has identified various benefits that are produced for inception, brief,design, production, maintenance and decomposition stage of the AEC projects. Weemphasize one most significant benefit for each stage of the project.
In theinception part BIM is used as a conceptual tool.Therefore constructing 3D models and capturing allthe relevant data leads to various positive outcomes in all stages of theproject lifecycle and for all the stakeholders. To achieve the benefits of BIM,a transition, as well as specific technical mind set is obligatory. The absenceof direction for this development and the reduced amount of studies rooted inreality to support firms in their adoption represent a significant drawback andbarrier to the extensive use among the AEC industry. Project managers trainedin BIM should therefore be assigned as project leaders more often, as they arelikely to implement BIM in a project, and build awareness.It is also vital to comprehend how the notificationprocess operates with the model to guarantee that any alterations to the overalldesign have been fully understood, tested and affirmed by other parties to thecontract. One possible answer to this problem is for the project team toacquire a particular single project insurance policy. This could solvecontractual matters between the parties and remove the difficulty in settingthe consultants’ relevant responsibilities.
BIM utilization will probably raisesignificantly due to a push for public projects to use such technologies, whichmay affect the way project teams agree to deal with insurance requirements.In addition to improving technology BIM facilitates more effectivedecision-making in the project design and project production stages. BIM usecuts cost of design and can speed up the market entry, all the while reducingthe ambiguity and integrating multiple disciplines, which includes data, designand documentation. BIM benefits architects as it eliminates manual checkingwork and as it facilitates quick decision-making and execution on variousproject tasks. In the operation stage, the informational output of BIMencompasses parameters of project performance, both on project operations andthe economic aspect of it. These parameters enable informed decision-making andhelp ensure positive outcomes of the project. When utilized effectively BIMcould also lessen the construction time, reduce overhead costs, support digitalproject documentation and even make sure relationships between key stakeholdersare respectable.A detailed plan and well-defined objectives regarding BIM which wouldallow for more effective adoption and implementation should be constructed byproject owners and managers.
The currentresearch identifies relevant factors and outcomes of BIM, and sets up aframework for a future study. The critical review of BIM benefits contributesto the existing body of literature on AEC and BIM. Based on the review offactors a conceptual model testing the relationship between various BIMoutcomes, and factors impacting implementation should be constructed andempirically tested.
These types of qualitative studies would help fill the gapas the prevalent research in BIM is mostly of qualitative nature Challenges to the implementation ofvisualization technology in Jamaica and the CaribbeanThe challenges to the implementation of visualizationtechnology in Jamaica and the Caribbean Construction industry varies. The stemfrom the lack of appreciation by the senior managers, many companies and entitymay not take up on the implementation of visualization technologies. Thechallenges or barriers noticed in the literatures are the adversarialrelationships in the execution and procurement processes as the client could beinvolved from the start to finish using the collaborative approach as discussedin case study. Lack of knowledge and shortages in ICT Skills is a barrier andthis is the main reason why the traditional techniques and tools using 2Ddrawings is still being used by the industry, this can be easily curtailed. Inthe construction industry 3D skill is short and limited and it does not have tobe, technology can be self-taught and it is effective in the long term runningof a company.
The time available for tendering a project also poses as abarrier to the implementation of technologies because the time between thereleases of tender documents and submission is limited and to develop 4D modelsprocess can take a few weeks. Another is that there is a fear of transparencyof information and this poses a key concern among construction industries. Thisis so because the client could use the information provided at any time againstthe construction company since delays and errors would be visible to theclient. The other kind of fear is the use of explicit information about thetechnical aspects of the operations which companies may not wish to share withothers to protect their opportunities for obtaining future contracts.
Incomparing the construction industry of Jamaica and the Caribbean to theinternational industry, such as the United Kingdom, 80% of the subcontractorshave less than 20 personnel, whilst the local region industry is fragmentedwith many small subcontractors. Another is the overwhelming resistance tochange as there is a serious reluctance to change their working styles with abelief that the traditional approach still satisfies the job requirement. However, responsibility assignment of projectparties becomes a challenge as BIM permits numerous project members toparticipate in modelling process at the same time. Additional challengesencompass BIM standards, interoperability, collaboration, and changemanagement.On the other hand, with anything in life there willbe challenges and the use of technology is not excluded.
Despite the growingneed for improved technologies in the construction projects, challenges arepresented to the introduction of the technology in construction. Due to the lack of appreciation by the seniormanagers, many companies have not and will not take up the implementationproject. The challenges comes in forms of adversarial relationships in theprocurement and execution processes. This is where 4D model use, shows us thatthe client could be involved from the start and collaborative approach is seenas essential.
Another being ICT Skills Shortage. As we know not everyone hasgarnered the tech savvy nature and there are 3D skill shortages in theconstruction industry and the traditional way of developing 2D drawings iscontinued by the industry in construction projects. Another existing challengeis the time available to tender. Time is very vital in any givenbusiness-client affairs and the time between the release of tender documents tosubmission is relatively short and construction companies do not havesufficient time to develop 4D models since the process can take a few weeks.Whilst transparency can be good, it can also be a fear to those who understandthat errors are possible. Fear of transparency of information is a challengebecause there is a key concern among construction companies that the clientcould use the information provided against the construction company sincedelays and errors would be visible to the client. As well as the use ofexplicit information about the technical aspects of the operations whichcompanies may not wish to share with others to protect their opportunities forobtaining future contracts can be another fear. And the last but not least is the greatest of them all.
The Caribbean isvery resistant to change- and with this reluctance to change working styleswith a belief that the traditional approach still satisfies the job requirementhas been a challenge. However, with the growing need and demand for newand improved technology, the future potential of BIM especially in the construction, an industrytypically slow to adapt to change is positive and endless. Using BIM tosteer this dying need will facilitate the visible and necessary changes neededfor construction projects in the Caribbean as it will improve visualization,productivity through information retrieval, increase coordination of constructiondocuments, linking of vital information such as vendors for specific materials,location of details and quantities required for tendering, increase speed ofdelivery and reduce overall cost.
Information modelling and automatedquantities technologies can provide the industry with consequentialopportunities to raise the quality of the industry to a much higher andsophisticated level. Having the capability to simulate a range of data optionswith real-time cost advice and carry on throughout the detailed design,construction, and operational stages, BIM will surely place constructionpractices at a higher value. Conclusion The implementationof visualization technologies in construction projects in Jamaica is very slowdespite the international influences and new improved visualizationtechnologies. The advancements in 3D, 4D CAD and virtual reality are capable ofhandling complex models and can change the culture of the nation’s constructionindustry. Serious initiatives are required to encourage the implementation and useof visualization technologies are seen as essential and researchers, developersand industry must work together to deliver affordable solutions for theconstruction industry and lessons must be learned from the benefits gained by automotiveand aerospace industry in the forgoing discussion.