Shipping containers streamlined the logistics industry, opening up merchant activity to a truly global market. GPS changed the telecom industry, synchronising times and networks worldwide. Tesla disrupted the motor industry, proving that electric cars could out-perform their fossil-fuel counterparts in drivability. Is building information modelling, or building information management, (BIM) doing the same for the building industry?
Every now and then, a new technology comes along that disrupts a whole industry. It changes design and production processes, creates new markets, and transforms the expectations of the people who buy the resulting products and services.
Now, it's the turn of the building industry. BIM has disrupted the building industry - and changed it for good.
At the recent Buildings Infrastructure Lifecycle supported by Technology (BILT) event in Denmark's second city, Aarhus, the latest BIM processes and objects were the focus of the day. This was to be expected: building authorities all over the world are realising that BIM is much more than a digital blueprint of a building. It is a repository for the specification of every single element, including precise descriptions of the standards and regulations they comply with. In short, BIM makes compliance simple.
As a result, more countries are demanding the inclusion of BIM in public building projects, so architect and engineering firms are adopting BIM. Not just because it is a good idea, but also because it is fast becoming a licence to play.
From the initial site survey to individual specifications for each door, everyone working on a BIM-driven building project has instant access to all the details and documentation. BIM facilitates collaboration between everyone involved in the project, from the design team to suppliers and building contractors. So it's quicker and easier to find solutions for key details earlier in the project.
For Max Falck, director of architectural development at ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems, the benefits of BIM are clear. "When we work with architects, we bring up issues such as accessibility and sustainability," he says.
"And we get into extremely interesting discussions about the flow of people and goods through the building, discussions that often change the way the design team looks at - and designs for - doors. The resulting solutions can then be shared through BIM in a structured way throughout the chain of stakeholders in the project, laying a foundation for a more efficient construction process."
At first glance, it might seem as though he is talking exclusively about entrance systems but Falck has a vision that is much more expansive.
"From inception to delivery, BIM provides a new way for architects to realise their vision for a building," he says. "It enables architects to defend every detail of their design during the construction stage - when building contractors are looking to reduce costs - because all the approved specifications are included in the BIM model."
But the benefits go further than that. Efficient, transparent collaboration between architects and manufacturers can lead to designs that are even more fit for purpose.
So what is the best way to sum up the impact of BIM on the building industry? It promotes efficient collaboration throughout the construction process. It simplifies compliance. And, above all, it enables architects to realise and defend their - and their client's - vision for the building.
ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems has consultants who are experts in designing with BIM. They are perfectly positioned to help architects and engineers produce comprehensive schedules for entrance systems throughout their buildings, effortlessly.