Building Information Modelling – or BIM – enables us to make our clients’ visions a reality. The model-first process lets us create a virtual prototype of the proposed project so everyone has complete visibility of a space down to the smallest details. Using BIM collaborative software across the project teams allows information to be shared much more frequently during the design process, This gives all contributors a holistic opportunity to coordinate works packages through an accurate 3D model world and importantly, allows designs teams to catch unforeseen issues before site.
This environment created as BIM, is a fully integrated process. We use models to gather and share information from the very start of projects, so as designs evolve, all stakeholders are kept informed and on the same page.
Other industries have been using BIM for years. Architects, engineers and construction firms use the process to better understand every element in a design. Yet, it’s relatively new for the fit-out sector. Portview, however, are working to change this. By taking a model already developed at construction or earlier design stage, and collaboratively developing this through to finishing stages, we are better able to foresee challenges and help the entire fit-out process run smoothly from start to finish. This journey allows clients a more immersive experience to understand different ways they can use their space. For example, we used it to help Samsung create a versatile experience zone that adapts to its changing needs, and we are currently using it on the large university project UAL to collaborate with the other trade packages.
Here’s why we’re integrating BIM into our fit-outs and how you can use the model-first process to its full potential.
THE BENEFITS OF BIM
At Portview, we’ve brought most of our BIM in-house. It allows us to keep everyone involved throughout the design and fit-out process. Meaning, we can answer queries and solve issues quickly and effectively. Using BIM in-house also has the following benefits for us and our clients.
1. IMPROVED COLLABORATION AND COMMUNICATION
BIM makes it easier to share designs, collaborate and manage version control compared to paper and/or PDF drawing sets. Using Cloud Technology, different teams can work together, from those in the office to those in the workshop and on-site. Everyone can immediately see changes others have made and work together to coordinate planning.
We can also receive live feedback from our clients, allowing us to accommodate amendments quickly. With BIM, the data is transparent. It removes jargon and uses 3D visualisation, which is much easier for everyone to digest. When everyone has visibility and understands each component and how they interconnect with others in the design, it is much easier to communicate ideas, concerns and develop solutions.
2. REDUCED CLIENT RISK
With early clash detection at the model stage, it avoids time and money in sorting it out on site.
Greater collaboration means we can improve accuracy and solve challenges early on, well before we reach the site. This accuracy minimises the chance of overall variations, enabling us to reduce tender risk premiums and lower insurance costs.
3. EFFICIENT PLANNING AND USE
BIM acts as a virtual world. It lets clients visualise the space to make their decisions confidently. For our teams, it provides a complete overview of the project so that we can plan everything down to the millimetre. Armed with this data, we can relay accurate estimates, so the prefabrication stage runs smoothly and on budget. BIM also helps our clients plan how they use the space. We can create a complete set of maintenance instructions for their teams to use throughout the building’s lifecycle.
4. IMPROVED SCHEDULING
We work to tight deadlines and BIM gives us the best chance of finishing projects on time or sometimes even early. With greater emphasis on the collaborative upfront modelling stage, we have more foresight and can schedule tasks while plans evolve. Not only that, but BIM solves the communication stumbling blocks that often cause delays. Everyone has access to the plans and is involved throughout the process, meaning we can deal with issues before reaching the site.
Having a real-time model allows for a level of predictability that just hasn’t been possible before in the dynamic fit-out sector. BIM creates robust, accurate, transparent and digestible information, and it helps us access data from previous design stages to bring their ideas along with ours. When everyone can see the reality of a design, it’s easier to spot elements that can be refined and detect potential issues before they become a problem. It’s also easier to predict costs and timeframes to meet all stakeholders’ targets.
6. REDUCING COST
As a relatively new addition to the world of fit-outs, BIM carries a high perceived cost. But many clients wisely see it as an investment. By frontloading the design process and the costs associated with it, clients can reduce their spend in the long run. This is because we can build robust workflows that work with supply chains to avoid duplication, reworks and the need for more materials. We can also adapt designs much earlier in the fit-out when it is easiest and more cost-effective to do so.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF BIM FOR YOUR PROJECTS
Since bringing BIM in-house, we’ve found that working in this way is most effective at keeping everyone informed and onboard as projects evolve. Based on our experience on both current and completed projects, here are our tips on how to benefit the most when using BIM.
- Engage early:
One of the main benefits of using BIM is solving problems early in the fit-out process. We encourage our clients to have a number of discussions with us in the beginning, so we can extract as much information as possible and take ideas from their minds to make them a reality.
- Get the right people in the room:
BIM enlightens issues to all, so it’s vital that decision-makers are involved. We aim to take clients along the design journey to make sure there are no surprises during delivery.
- Have open and honest conversations:
With BIM, you can see the substance and the style of a fit-out. Often, it’s not until you see the reality that you know what you really want. Portview’s model-first process creates an early opportunity to play around with ideas and reject those that aren’t working to find the solution that suits everyone.
- Stay in communication:
BIM aids collaboration, but it’s important that you keep everyone talking, too. It’s best not to presume that someone has seen a change and is working on it, and instead use the oversight that BIM provides to form the foundations of your discussions.
THE FUTURE OF BIM FOR FIT-OUTS
BIM modelling is becoming more commonplace, even for smaller fit-out projects. As we continue to use BIM and develop our workflows, we realise more of its value creating potential, allowing our teams to make more informed decisions.
This is just the beginning for us with BIM. We’ll continue to embed it in our processes to create a single source of project truth, helping us complete projects more collaboratively, sustainably and effectively.