BIM was a key factor in 1 Bligh Street, Sydney reaching its “audacious” sustainability goals.

27 March 2014 — McGraw Hill Construction has released a report on building information modelling in Australian and New Zealand economies, finding that the region is an international leader in BIM adoption, though barriers still need to be overcome, and a government mandate would help.

The SmartMarket report, The Business Value of BIM in Australia and New Zealand: How Building Information Modeling is Transforming the Design and Construction Industry, showed that our BIM market was well-developed, with only the United States having a higher percentage of BIM users with over three years’ experience.

BIM users surveyed predicted there would also be a strong increase in implementation over the next few years:

  • half (51 per cent) of all users were engaged with BIM on more than 30 per cent of their projects, predicted to grow to three-quarters (74 per cent) of users by 2015
  • over half (56 per cent) of design professionals will be very heavy users (more than 60 per cent of projects) in just two years
  • design professionals led contractors as users, with six out of 10 (61 per cent) currently using BIM on 30 per cent or more of their work, versus only one-third (33 per cent) of contractors

Benefits of BIM

The top five benefits of BIM reported were: reducing errors, promoting an industry leader image, reducing rework, improving collaboration and offering new services.

Sustainability

Using BIM to enhance project sustainability was another key benefit:

  • For architecture/engineering firms, 67 per cent (80 per cent for large firms) used BIM to coordinate different building systems to improve building energy performance, compared with 53 per cent of contractors
  • For A/E firms, 44 per cent created tighter building envelopes through BIM-enhanced prefabrication, compared with 38 per cent of contractors
  • BIM was used for better waste management for 24 per cent of A/E firms and 33 per cent of contractors

Case study

An example giving in the report of BIM being used to achieve “audacious design and sustainability goals” was at 1 Bligh Street, Sydney.

“The elegance of the design solution was a very hard taskmaster,” Rodd Perey of the building designer Architectus was quoted as saying.

“There was no opportunity to change the building geometry if the performance goals were not being met. It was essential that the performance of the building be simulated and verified at a very early stage.

“BIM benefited almost every aspect of the project. Elements such as the double-skin façade could be optimized for best performance and minimal materials through CFD analysis. Similarly, the structural design was refined for maximum structural efficiency through rigorous iterative analysis of the model.

“One of the values of BIM has been to allow us to understand the complexity of the geometry in 3D, resolve the junctions of elements and constructability issues and communicate that to the teams assembling the building. So the vision didn’t change, but BIM allowed us to resolve the details.”

Mr Perey said that developer DEXUS had a commitment to a 6 Star Green Star rating, and without their commitment it would have difficult to meet the ambitious sustainability goals.

“They had a genuine desire to future-proof the building as far as possible, and BIM was part of that for its ability to verify the sustainability and performance aspects of the building, to improve the construction process and to provide a platform for the management of the facility,” he said.

Value for money the key driver

Key drivers were business benefits and returns, with 75 per cent of firms saying they had a positive return on investment for BIM, with 30 per cent citing ROI of 25 per cent or more. More than half of firms said they thought they could extract more value from BIM than they were presently, with 39 per cent believing they were just scratching the surface in terms of gains.

A company’s level of BIM implementation and project type had a distinct impact on ROI, however:

  • Over half (55 per cent) of the companies focusing on infrastructure projects reported ROIs of over 25 per cent versus only 29 per cent of firms that primarily do buildings
  • Almost half (46 per cent) of users at a very high BIM implementation level (more than 60 per cent of their projects involve BIM) reported ROIs of over 25 per cent on BIM, versus only 10 per cent of users at a low implementation level (less that 15 per cent of their projects involve BIM), with 38 per cent experiencing break-even or negative ROIs

Barriers

There were a number of factors leading to BIM not being adopted, key of which was a lack of demand from clients/other firms on projects.

“Demand by owners, including a government mandate, can be a key factor in helping to spur adoption,” the report suggested.

Consult Australia used the launch of the report to highlight how BIM could be part of Prime Minister’s vision for Australia’s 21st century infrastructure.

“Recognising the value of BIM is critical,” Consult Australia chief executive Megan Motto said. “If we are going to manage the delivery of the large and increasingly complex projects we see today, it must be done with world’s best technology.”

Other barriers included:

  • expense of upgrading software/hardware
  • difficulty of software to use
  • insufficient training available
  • poor functionality
  • poor interoperability

Download the full report

See our articles: