BIM a Smarter Way to Build, More Training NeededBy Andrea Villar | Mon, 07/06/2020 - 17:26
Q: What is BIM and how does the company apply it?
A: Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a 3D model-based construction management process that gives architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to efficiently plan, design, construct and manage billings and also other types of projects. BIM allows information management across all cycles of a project, down to the smallest of details. BIM has been implemented in construction projects relatively recently, with the first coordinated BIM project was done in the early 2000s in Europe. In Mexico, several projects have been carried out using 3D modeling tools, however, they are commonly used at the engineering stage. We are still in the learning process. Preparation and coordination are still needed to get everyone trained to use these tools, from project owners to construction companies and contractors. In more developed countries, the use of BIM is almost mandatory, while in Mexico, there is still a long way to go. According to a survey we conducted of 100 engineering companies, 70 percent use the BIM tool. However, in the mechanical construction phase, only 4 out of 10 contractors use this tool in the building process.
In addition to BIM the use of drones can help with capturing images allowing you to obtain design dimensions either for a very large plot of land or for a building to be remodeled. You can also add and remove new elements as required by owners, both for mechanical and electrical project optimization.
During operation, our solutions provide design elements and products that simplify the maintenance process throughout the life of the project, reducing operating costs. Victaulic participates in all stages of the construction process, supporting engineers, builders and operators. All Victaulic elements are incorporated into the 3D design. Once the design is ready, we provide engineering coordination. We make sure that there are no problems between pipes and that there are no obstructions in the “mechanical rooms.” In the construction stage, for instance, we can work with the contractor to prepare a just time delivery of prefabricated mechanical systems.
Q: What is a case study of a successful application in mining?
A: At a processing plant in a mine in Central America we were invited to review the design of a mechanical area at the mine. Using our software plugin for Revit, Victaulic Tools for Revit®, we suggested changes in the pipe layouts to help reduce the construction time. In Mexico, we are starting to work with Grupo México and Industrias Peñoles, sharing our experience in piping system design.
Q: How is Victaulic training its staff in the use of this tool?
A: The incredible thing about this tool is that anyone can learn how to use it. The most common 3d modeling software for projects implementing BIM methodology is Revit by Autodesk, which is commonly used for architectural design. Victaulic developed a software plugin for Revit, that simplified its use in the 3D modeling of piping systems and facilitates pre-fabrication coordination. Victaulic initially developed the tool for internal use by our Virtual Design and Construction Department before making it public, we offer piping system design and BIM coordination services for our customers, so we know how to use the tool to coordinate the different engineering projects from the cloud. When someone modifies an aspect of the project, everyone, including those who design the air conditioning system, the mechanical sections or the fire protection system, can see the changes in real time.
We have the expertise to coordinate a project and suggest changes to save space, materials and costs. The biggest challenge is in the construction stage, where we have personnel who are experts in their area but who must be trained on how to leverage this tool. You are not taught BIM methodology in school. It is a collaborative concept and it is necessary that everyone working on a project Is on board to use it. The methodology offers many advantages, but if we do not change behaviors and train the people who will be using it, very little can be achieved. It seems that the coordination of different players and new vision of the work to be done are essential to make BIM methodology be used as its full potential.
Q: Is the COVID-19 pandemic going to accelerate the use of BIM in the country?
A: This crisis has made us all think differently and I think that regardless of the pandemic, we should think about doing things differently. It is a great opportunity to be able to consider and implement BIM methodology. What is needed is training so that everyone can participate virtually in the design of the project, and it would be ideal if the pandemic pushes companies to take this step.
Victaulic is a global manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining, flow control and fire protection systems and inventor of the grooved pipe coupling.