We at b.i.m.m GmbH have taken this idea a step further and developed Sitelife together with CONTAKT – the software for the construction site. The site manager or foreman can view the 3D model, filter the model according to certain properties and have information (e.g. m³ of concrete) totalled and extracted. The model helps to precisely document the construction progress and also to control and analyse the processes on the construction site – and soon also to plan them. The data collected in this way can be evaluated as needed and serve as key data for further projects. Sitelife offers the possibility of achieving a significantly higher quality of documentation and construction site control with the same amount of effort.
And where is the catch?
There is usually a reason why people are reluctant to embrace new technology. What stops a construction company from getting involved with BIM?
Transparency: The un-word of the BIM industry.
As a foreman, do I want my work to be recorded in the smallest detail? Do I want to give my superiors a tool with which the construction sites can be compared?
The transparency of data collection is a fine line. In fact, with Sitelife you can document as precisely and as imprecisely as before. The difference is that by digitising all the data entered in Sitelife, search functions, graphs and evaluations are simplified.
Ultimately, it is in the interest of every construction company to have an overview of the status of the current construction sites. As a foreman, it would be a mistake to think that without BIM the productivity of a construction site would not be measurable. Sitelife simplifies the processes of evaluation and makes the data visible (for authorised persons).
The digital twin: infallible and flawless?
Can technical draughtsmen, architects and engineers build a virtual 3D model that can be implemented 1:1 on the construction site? Shockingly, this question cannot be answered with “YES”. Be it the separation into concreting sections, the modelling out of certain details or simply the ignorance of the “desk workers”. Errors are bound to occur in a digital model.
If one abandons the idea of the “perfect Building Information Model”, then one can look for the solution that is then trivial after all: In order to be able to handle a construction site sensibly via a virtual model, all changes and adjustments in the model must be followed up and errors must be corrected. In other words, the model must be maintained during the construction process. This point must be regulated in the contract with the client. Does the architect owe an “as-built” design or should the construction company deliver an actual model (in exchange for €)?
The BIM Manager: the all-rounder?
The BIM manager is the conductor of digitisation: he coordinates the models, defines the requirements and is responsible for ensuring that the three letters “BIM” actually generate added value. For this, he needs not only comprehensive knowledge related to the current state of the art, but also a broad basic knowledge of construction. Most BIM managers focus on the planning phase, since this is of course where the model is created and the direct benefits can be reaped. But what happens on the construction site?
Unfortunately, the ice is often thin here – is the BIM manager well versed in topics such as formwork management, supply chains and construction site processes? How can BIM be used in construction operations if there is no knowledge interface between the BIM manager and the construction site?
My solution: Dear construction companies, build your own BIM competence. This will create a counter-pool to the often theoretical world of BIM management and you can reap the own benefits of the BIM way of working. A good site manager or foreman is the heart of any construction company, and if they are then equipped with an efficient tool like BIM, you win all the way.